Robert “Ivan” Gaetze


robert obit pic 43    Robert “Ivan” Gaetze, 83, of Letcher, passed away Monday, June 6, 2016, at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell.
Mass of Christian Burial was 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 10 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church with burial and military rites in Calvary Cemetery. Visitation was from 6-8 p.m. with a 7 p.m. prayer service on Thursday, June 9 at Will Funeral Chapel in Mitchell.
Robert Gaetze, son of John and Mayme (Steinfeld) Gaetze, was born Jan. 19, 1933, in Mitchell and grew up on a farm southeast of Letcher. Ivan attended country school through the eighth grade and graduated from Letcher High School. After graduation, he moved to Lead/Deadwood and worked for Black Hills Mercantile until being drafted into the U.S. Army in April of 1953. He served two years in Korea as a radio operator and was honorably discharged in April of 1955.
He was united in marriage with Ruth Smith on June 11, 1955, at St. Wilfrid Catholic Church in Woonsocket. After their marriage, the couple moved to a farm near Letcher, where they farmed. Ivan worked as a small engine mechanic at Kelly’s Marine, and later in life, he worked for Big Green.
Ivan was a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Mitchell. He was a past treasurer of the Moose Lodge and a member of the Fellowship of the Moose and Legion of the Moose as chairman. He also served on the Sanborn County Soil Conservation Board for 13 years, the Forestburg Elevator Board and the Farmer’s Home Administration in Mitchell.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Ruth; five children, Charlie and Julie Gaetze of Yacolt, Wash., Tom Gaetze and Twyla Bryant of Sioux Falls, Lori and Bob Herman of Mitchell, Larry and Julie Gaetze of Mitchell, and Janell and Jim Miller of Buchanan, Ga.; seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and three nieces.
Ivan was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers and sisters-in-law, Francis and Margaret Gaetze and Leo and Maxine Gaetze; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Wayne and Ida Smith, and Harold and Lloyd Linke; two nephews; and a great-granddaughter, Branaugh Leggott.

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