Francis L. Van Sambeek, age 95 of Milbank, SD, passed away on July 21, 2023, in Watertown, SD.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, July 27, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Milbank. Visitation will be held on Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Mundwiler Funeral Home. A prayer vigil will be held at 7:00 p.m. Burial with military honors will be at St. Lawrence Cemetery.
Francis Louis Van Sambeek was born on April 23, 1928, in Milbank, SD. He was the son of William and Sophia (Van de Voort) Van Sambeek. Francis attended Geneseo #3 Country School and Milbank High School, graduating with the Class of 1946. After graduation, he began farming.
On September 17, 1953, he was united in marriage with Theresa Ann Gebhart in Elkton, SD. While on their honeymoon, Francis was drafted and served for two years in the U.S. Army – February 3, 1954 to February 3, 1956. He was stationed at Fort Bliss, TX, during that time. They then returned to South Dakota and resumed farming in rural Milbank. Following retirement in 1993, they moved into the town of Milbank. Francis and Theresa were blessed with 55 years of marriage and two children: Joan and David.
In addition to farming, Francis worked as a mail carrier for the U.S. Post Office from December 1965 until 1989. He worked for the Grant County Conservation Service until 2010. He was a lifelong member of St. Lawrence Catholic Church and was active in Knights of Columbus. He was a member of American Legion Birch-Miller Post #9 and served as past Commander. In 2007, he was awarded State Legionnaire of the Year. In his younger years, he received the FFA American Farmer Award, as well as, held the high hurdles record for Milbank High School for many years. In his later years, Francis was blessed with a dear friendship with Shirley Conraads.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the American Legion Baseball Field or St. Lawrence Catholic School.
Francis Van Sambeek is survived by his children: Joan (Eugene) Frerichs of Milbank, SD; and David Van Sambeek (Tammy Steen) of Brookings, SD; a special friend, Shirley Conraads of Milbank, SD; six grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren; and one brother-in-law, Gerald Lemke of Milwaukee, WI.
He was preceded in death by his parents: William and Sophia; wife, Theresa (in 2008); and siblings: Willie Vander Eyk; Henry Van Sambeek, John Van Sambeek; Ella DeVaal, Rosella Lemke, and Bertha Brotzel Knutson.