Donald Kemnitz, 77

Donald Kemnitz, 77, of Wood, SD passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at his home near Wood.

Funeral service were held on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 at 10 a.m. at the Wood Community Hall. Burial followed in the Winner City Cemetery.

Donald LeRoy Kemnitz was born Feb. 26, 1940, to Kermit “Bud” Kemnitz and Mildred (Eaton) Kemnitz. He was the first born son in a family of five children. It was a family that loved getting together and spending quality time with each other.

Don passed away at his home in rural Wood on February 13, 2018, at the age of 77 years, 11 months and 18 days.
Don attended country school a mile from his home and later went to high school in Wood, SD graduating in 1959. He was a great basketball player; at least that is what he told us.

In July of 1961, he married Elaine Harter, who was the love of his life. They were the perfect match. To this union, four children were born: Valinda, Lori, Linette, and Darrell. Together they made themselves a home in Winner. While in Winner, Don worked for the police department, delivered fuel, and was parts manager for the Ford Garage, but his true calling was ranching. In 1973, he picked up his family and moved to the ranch northeast of Wood. He was a member of the Witten Baptist Church where he served as treasurer for many years. He also served as Mellette County Commissioner for 8 years.

Don’s years in ranching were a great success. Don and Elaine left a grand legacy through their family. He and Elaine raised four children and taught them the values of hard work, discipline, honesty, and most importantly Christian values.

The family learned how to wrangle cows, shock cane, put up hay and harvest crops. Long days spent working cattle were some of the best and worst days of their lives.

And then came 11 grandchildren. It was evident of Don’s love of his grandchildren and great grandchildren through him attending many sporting, school, and life events. In later years, it became more difficult for Don and Elaine to participate to a great extent in their grandchildren and great grandchildren’s lives, but birthdays, weddings and family celebrations were still a huge part.

The measure of a man can be found in his family. Don’s family loved him dearly. Surviving Don are his wife Elaine of Kadoka, SD, his daughters; Valinda (Casey) Bridgman of Wessington Springs, SD, Lori (Robert) Etrheim of Tyler, MN, Linette (Scott) Christensen of Flandreau, SD and a son; Darrell (Cindy) Kemnitz of Vivian, SD, 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by siblings; Gary(Sue) Kemnitz of Platte, SD, Sharon Paulson of Neosho, MO, Lyle(Arlis) Kemnitz of Mobridge SD and Bonnie (Ed) Watzel of Colome, SD and his beloved cow dog Boots.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Bud and Mildred, sister-in-law, Leanne, and brother-in-law Stanley.
The family sincerely appreciated Joe Meinen, Don’s faithful co-worker and friend.

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