Bertel Bertelson, age 93, of Marvin, SD, died on Sunday, October 16, 2016, at the Golden Living Center in Milbank.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, October 22, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. at Hope Lutheran Church in Summit, SD, with Rev. Justin Neugebauer officiating. Burial will follow in the Osceola #2 Cemetery in Marvin with full military honors. Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, October 21, at Mundwiler Funeral Home in Milbank and will continue on Saturday for one hour prior to the time of service at the church.
Bert Bertelson was born on March 10, 1923 at the family farm in rural Marvin, SD to Simon and Hulda (Jacobson) Bertelson. His grandmother, Marin Jacobson assisted in his delivery. He was the eighth of ten children and the last living sibling of his generation.
Bert attended the 10 year Marvin school and graduated in1938. He completed High school at Summit in 1940. He honorably served in the United States Navy as a radioman for nearly three years stationed in Hawaii briefly and on Tarawa Island in the Gilbert Islands in the South Pacific.
After discharge at the end of the war he returned home where he attended South Dakota State College obtaining a degree in agriculture. He began working in Bison, SD as a county extension agent but he soon returned to eastern South Dakota and worked for a few years in Clear Lake.
When the Marvin postmaster position opened, Bert took the application exam and he achieved the highest score. He was hired as the Marvin postmaster where he worked until retirement. During his years as postmaster, he was active in the South Dakota League of Postmasters and was elected and served as its president for 2 years.
During his retirement he loved to compete in bowling and he filled his house with trophies from many horseshoe tournaments. He volunteered at his church, NESODAK Lutheran camp as a handyman for several years, acted as sexton for both Marvin cemeteries, and for almost everything he was asked to volunteer for.
Bert took flying lessons and flew his plane for a couple of years. In spite of his persistence in becoming a pilot, as a pilot he survived 2 significant airplane crashes. He decided that he may not survive the third time and it was probably time to leave the flying to professionals.
He traveled with his sister Bernice and spent winters with her in Arizona. As they aged, both moved into assisted living in Webster. After her death, Bert moved back to Milbank. He moved in to Golden Living assisted Living briefly, but after a hip fracture, he entered the nursing home where he lived for several years until his death. Bert often was quiet but listened carefully to others. Just when you thought he was asleep, he would deliver a hilarious line or remind you that he was listening. As his memory began to fail him, he sometimes would forget our names. But he never forgot Dale and Loretta’s dog’s name, Tusa. One visit with Tusa, he didn’t recognize Dale’s wife Loretta. Dale hinted “I call her honey.” Bert retorted emphatically without hesitation “Well! I’m not going to do that.”
He was always kind and generous with his time. He took care of his mother for years in Marvin before and after she developed Alzheimer’s disease. If anyone needed transportation such as his sister Mildred, he would travel to Langford to pick her up and transport her to Aberdeen, Milbank, or anywhere for a family celebration or gathering and then return her home to Langford, again and again. As his niece Joan (Kennedy) Aftoora wrote this week, “Uncle Bertel never had kids of his own, but was a favorite uncle and so good to us. Lots of good memories. Know that God is holding him gently in his hands and he is at peace. He always had a great smile and was happy to see everyone. He never missed a baptism, birthday, graduation, or wedding even though he may arrive late and sleep through part of it. Such a good natured man and very well liked.”
Bert is survived by 16 nieces and nephews as well as cousins in the United States and Canada.