Raymond Bartels, 78

Raymond Bartels, 78, of Winner, SD passed away on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 at the Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, SD. 

Funeral service will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at 11 a.m. at the Winner United Methodist Church.  Burial will follow in the Winner City Cemetery.  A visitation was held on Tuesday, Nov. 23  at the Winner United Methodist Church.

Born Sept. 14, 1943 to John and Cecelia Esther Bartels in the Winner Baptist Hospital; Ray grew up northwest of Winner at the original homestead and attended East and West Banner schools. A 1961 Winner High School graduate, Ray had a wonderful time celebrating his class’s 60th reunion at WHS this homecoming, well-attended by Ray’s oldest friends and classmates.

In addition to working on the farm throughout his teen years, Ray worked for many neighbors including George Mills, Wayne Lapsley, Red and Jerry Shoemaker and worked at the South Dakota Experiment Station north of Presho.

On a whim, he traveled to California where he worked at a lampshade factory before returning home to start his adult life here in Tripp County.

A canary yellow Pontiac Lemans carried Ray into Dallas, SD one night where he met the love of his life Judy Day. He won over Bill and Pearl Day by delivering homemade pickles every evening and Ray and Judy were soon engaged, then joined in marriage on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 1970. Soon after the two wasted no time carving out an idyllic life at the farm and welcomed the births of Troy, Jason, Amanda and Lane.

Ray spent the next few decades raising his family, crops, and livestock. He was an old-school farmer who took great pride in his large, bountiful garden and his chickens. Additionally, he served on many boards and associations. He and Judy worked tirelessly in the concession stand for the Elk’s Rodeo. Ray as an Elk, Judy as a Doe. Ray was a member of the Tripp County Wheat Producers Association, and was a lifelong member of the Episcopalian Church, working his kitchen magic every Shrove Tuesday at the annual pancake dinner.

The Tripp County Water User District was established in 1977 and Ray was named one of its inaugural directors, a post he has manned for 44 years as director and past president. The Water users district is comprised of 2200 miles of pipeline with 2400 service connections. Ray and Judy enjoyed their annual Water District meeting trips around the country and made many wonderful memories with the TCWUD board and staff.

Responsibilities loomed at the farm and in town; however, the relationships Ray took seriously were that of a “family man”. He was a dedicated and adoring husband, a loving and supportive father and an absolute pushover for his five grandchildren. He will be dearly missed by friends who were fortunate enough to make his acquaintance; he was known for a quick smile and a quicker wit. He shared his warmth and his breakfast table with all who were lucky enough to get a “Big Ray Breakfast” and one couldn’t possibly eat a Thanksgiving roll tomorrow without wondering how Ray made his so impossibly soft and buttery.

This Thanksgiving, we celebrate the wonderful, peaceful life Ray embodied and the tremendous joy he brought to this community. Grateful for having shared his life are his wife of fifty-one years, Judy and their children Troy (Josh) Bartels, Jason (Tovi) Bartels, Amanda (Dylan) Hostetler and Lane (Melanie) Bartels and his grandchildren, Chloe, Finnegan, August, Hayden and Hank. He is survived also by siblings Lloyd Bartels and Judy Novotny.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Esther, in-laws Bill and Pearl Day, sister Frances (Gerald) Bachman, and in-laws Butch Novotny and Bill and Donna Day.

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