Wendell Ray Burtz, 67

Wendell Ray Burtz, 67, of rural Winner went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at the Avera McKennen Hospital in Sioux Falls. After dealing with heart problems for the past several months, Wendell suffered a cardiac arrest on May 11 at his regular Saturday morning Bible study in Winner.

Funeral service will be held on Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 10 a.m.  at the First Baptist Church in Winner, SD.  Burial will follow in the Winner City Cemetery.  A visitation will be held on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at the First Baptist Church in Winner from 6-7 p.m. with a prayer service beginning at 7 p.m.

The third child of Raymond and Berniece Burtz of rural Winner, Wendell was born on July 26, 1956 at the Baptist Hospital of Winner. He attended Greenwood School and graduated from Winner High School in 1975. After graduation he worked at various jobs in the Winner area and lived for a short time in California. He attended Oak Hills Bible Institute in Bemidji, Minn. from 1978-1980.

After that he worked at various jobs, including as a farm hand and an over-the-road truck driver, and then moved to Rapid City where he worked for Lien Metals for several years and also at Harvey’s Lock Shop. While living there, he became a member of Rimrock Evangelical Free Church.

On Feb. 14, 1987 he married Beth Nordeen in Rapid City and to this union were born Charles Wendell in 1989 and Kjerstin Lee in 1990.

In 1991 the family moved back to Winner where Wendell worked at the hospital and was an active member of the Evangelical Free Church of Winner. During those years he started Black Hills Flavored Honey, adding various fruit flavorings to pure locally produced South Dakota honey. The product was sold at gift shops around the region and was even featured at Bear Country at Disneyland.

In 2001 he started Integrity Locks and would spend the next 23 years of his career installing Kaba Ilco electronic locks at hotels and other facilities across the Midwest and beyond. He retired from the lock business in the fall of 2023.

A small engine and auto mechanic since his high school days, Wendell enjoyed restoring cars and building hot rods and at the time of his death was working on building a 1932 Chevy Coupe. He was a frequent attendee at car shows around the region and often attended Back to the 50s in St. Paul, Minn. in June.

He also had a lifelong fascination with aviation, owned aircraft and had taken lessons to become a private pilot. He has attended the air show, EAA AirVenture, in Oskosh, Wisc. almost annually over the past several years.

Wendell was also a builder, and constructed the straw bale house and shop overlooking the White River in northern Tripp County where he was living at the time of his passing.

Growing up in a musical family, Wendell was also a lover of music whose musical tastes ranged from the soft rock of the 1970s and 80s to the Christian music of Selah, Steven Curtis Chapman and Jamie Slocum.

Over the past 10 years Wendell had grown greatly in his faith and was an avid student of the Bible, often listening to the Scriptures being read by an app on his phone. He also had a deep appreciation for the preaching of Pastor John MacArthur, Ray Comfort and Paul Washer. One of his favorite biblical themes was “repentance.” For the past several years Wendell has been a member of Central Plains Evangelical Free Church in Chamberlain and was made an elder of the church in early 2024.

Wendell is survived by his son Charles of Winner; daughter Kjerstin Nielsen and her husband, Matt of Burlington, Wisc.; step-daughter, Teresa Nordeen Davis and her husband, Adam of Rosemount, Minn.; one granddaughter, Emberlee Nielsen; one step-granddaughter, Karli Davis; one step-grandson, Timothy Davis; brothers Durwin (Gwendy) of Massillon, Ohio and Ronald (Tammy) of Central City, Neb.; sister Koreen (Dennis) Caldwell of Macomb, Ill. and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and an unborn infant granddaughter

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