Loren was born on April 28, 1937, in Burke, South Dakota; he was the youngest child of Walter and Eva (Rockholm) Reetz. He grew up on his family’s farm north of Gregory and graduated from Gregory High School in 1954. In 1955, he enlisted in the Army: he was stationed in Japan for the majority of his service, and he served our country with honor until his discharge 1957. His service in the Army was a source pride for Loren, and he actively promoted respect for all local veterans.
Loren came home to Gregory after his honorable discharge. He labored with love on his family farm for the rest of his days. He sustained a fruitful farm/ranch operation and earned the respect of all who did business with him.
On June 30, 1959, Loren married his first love, Marilee Pusl in Winner, South Dakota. The marriage of these two incredibly hard-working people was a successful one in every way. They were blessed with two daughters, Susan Reetz and Brenda (Reetz) Svatos, and Loren and Marilee were very proud that daughters became excellent nurses. His three granddaughters were a source of pure delight. Loren also enjoyed sharing his farming labor, experience and insight with his son-in-law Chad Svatos.
In the winter of 1960, Loren added “fuel truck driver” to his resume of accomplishments and responsibilities. He began this career, which he somehow balanced with his farm work, working for Fred Schlaht. He continued hauling fuel for the rest of his life, ultimately driving for Cenex. Loren’s priority was always to see that his customers were well-served. He was especially grateful that his co-workers at Cenex knew this. They made it possible for him to continue to participate in his life’s work in a meaningful way even as his physical capacities faded away from him. By choice, Loren wore his red Cenex shirt with pride until his very last day.
Loren was guided in all things by his deep faith. He was a dedicated member of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church throughout his life, and was a loyal member of the Knights of Columbus. Though Loren faced many hardships including the painful loss of Marilee to cancer, he was a person who had no quit in him. Until his death, Loren continued to be a touchstone in his daughters’ lives, and will always be a beloved example of common sense, determination and love for his granddaughters. He courted and shared an abiding love with Francie Johnson. His wide circle of friends all knew him as an entirely reliable, progressive gentleman. He enjoyed a good story and he positively beamed with a charming smile, especially when his granddaughters’ accomplishments were mentioned. He was an integral part of a celebrated pool league where his wry sense of humor was as prized as much as his skill for the game, and he taught many lessons about life and about cards from his side of his cribbage board.
On March 17, 2017, despite being the picture of health and vitality, Loren was diagnosed with brain cancer. He approached this daunting diagnosis with his usual optimism, and he engaged in a dignified, courageous battle to hold onto the life that he so treasured. He tried to fully participate in every aspect of his life that he enjoyed for as long as he possibly could, even when that meant that he had to accept help to accomplish basic things – a difficult process for this self-made, independent person.
Never one to be idle, Loren made good use of his remaining time. He continued to have hope about the future as he prepared himself to meet his Lord. Thus Loren Walter Reetz died peacefully just as he lived: a strong and principled gentleman surrounded in his last earthly moments by people who returned every ounce of the love that he had given them.
Honored to celebrate his life and to cherish his memory are: his daughter Susan Reetz and her partner Bryant Smith of Jackson, Tennessee; his daughter Brenda Svatos, her husband Chad Svatos and their three daughters Lauren Lee, Sydney Ann and Jordan Jo of Gregory; his second love Francie Johnson of Gregory; and countless relatives and dear friends.
Loren was preceded in death by his wife Marilee Reetz; his parents Walter and Eva Reetz; his sister Inez and her husband Bob Clayton; and his mother and father-in-law Loree and Martin Pusl.