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Funeral services will take place on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 10:00 AM (Mountain).

Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Philip, South Dakota

Masonic Cemetery
Philip, South Dakota
5-7 p.m. Tuesday, February 11, 2019
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Philip, South Dakota
Vigil Service at 7:00 p.m.

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In memory of

Charles "Chuck" Kroetch

of Philip, South Dakota, died on Saturday, February 8, 2020 at the Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital in Philip at the age of 85

Charles “Chuck” Daniel Kroetch left this world on February 8th, 2020, in much the same way he lived: peacefully, with family he loved, in his lifelong community of Philip, South Dakota.

Chuck’s story began in 1934, on April 3, when was born to Lydia “Pearl” Boyce and Frederick Kroetch on the family homestead, 17 miles north of Philip. He joined two brothers, Art and Ralph, and the family would later welcome Lottie and Fritz. He loved life in the country; caring for the animals and learning many skills working on projects that came with running the farm and improving the property. Before he was a teenager, he helped his dad and brothers build the large family house; observed the construction of the large WPA dam nearby, and with Ralph, spent a summer completing a "shovel and bucket" excavation for a very large cistern. Experiences like these, combined with gifted hands and a natural aptitude for “fixing” made Chuck a community resource when anything needed repairs. You knew he was ruminating on a solution when he would say “I wonder what would happen if a fella did this….”

He received his formal education in Elbon country school, Philip High School and automotive painting school in Fargo. He enlisted in the US Army, trained as a helicopter mechanic and was stationed in Germany. He loved exploring Europe and skied for the first time on big wooden skis in the Alps! Chuck was a life-long learner. He enjoyed reading biographies and “true” stories, listening to others’ experiences, and was a fan of the History Channel, documentaries, and to the dismay of his family, political news. He demonstrated his commitment to education as a member of the Haakon County school board for many years, continuing to serve even after his children had graduated.

Chuck enjoyed a wonderful life and if asked, he would have said that it was in large part because he had been smart enough to marry Catherine “Kay” Noack, his wife of 60+ years. They grew up on farms only a few miles apart but didn’t get together until his sister Lottie needed him to go on a double date and her choice for his date was her friend, Kay.

They married on June 14th, 1959 and made their home in a 48-foot trailer on the Kroetch family homestead in the Hilland community. In 1960, they welcomed their first child, Jeffrey, who died in infancy. Over the course of the 60s, they put an addition on the trailer and created multiple additions to the family: Jeanene, Sondra, Tricia, Toby and Susan.

They all moved into the homestead “big house” in 1970. Shortly thereafter, Doug’s arrival completed the family. The farm was home until 1997, when Kay and Chuck moved into the new house in Philip, which they designed, and Chuck and Toby built. He took justifiable pride in the well-constructed house and all the details he added, particularly the woodwork on the custom fireplace and the creative placement of light switches! After moving into town, he spent years driving to and from the farm before officially retiring and handing active management to Toby. He was always proud of the “place” and the Century Farm designation.

Chuck loved watching things grow and develop, whether crops, animals or children. He loved trees and planted hundreds. Like all ranchers, he was out even in the worst weather to ensure the well-being of his cattle. While it wasn’t unusual to hear cussing about the cattle, it was no surprise to see newborn calves in the porch or even in the bathtub, to “warm up” their start in life. Cattle were more than his livelihood; he liked to see them content and happy.

Chuck and Kay believed in work, responsibility and resourcefulness, and by example, taught their children well. There was an understood belief that you could do anything you wanted in life, if you worked hard and worked smart. Even after long days in the fields, his kids fondly remember summer fishing at sunset, reveling in a massive fish haul even when they were obligated to help clean fish with cold fingers in the dark. It was still fun when you did it with Dad. Any project that he worked on would have designated “helpers” and we learned lots through “hands on” experience.

He took pride in the accomplishments of his children. While he was sparse with direct praise, he was overheard to say he would “put his girls up against any boys in the neighborhood” when it came to farm equipment operating skills. He admired Toby’s talent with woodworking, Tricia’s engineering accomplishments, Sondra’s enthusiasm for the great outdoors, Susan’s compassionate nursing skills, Doug’s small business success, and while he never clearly understood Jeanene’s work, he thought it was great that the company paid her to travel the world. He and Kay visited Jeanene when she lived in Poland and in Mexico, where he paraglided over the beach. They also enjoyed exploring many US cities in the 14 years he was on the board of West Central Electric.

Chuck was a social guy and liked music. He spent many years as a tenor with the Haakon County Crooners and was a fan of country music and polka dancing. He and Kay took dancing lessons for several years, and their younger children learned to dance with them. Chuck had a special talent for gin rummy, which he played with the guys at the Philip “card room.” In the family, it was a rarity to beat him and it proved your skills when you did, because he never ‘let’ anyone win.

He had a passion for cars, especially old ones. His favorite car was his first one, a green 1956 Chevy and a close second was his 1924 Model T Ford that he rebuilt from the engine up. He liked to drive it in parades, giving rides to kids and anyone who wanted a taste of “the olden days.”

Chuck was a quiet man who enjoyed a good joke. When he thought something was very funny, you could catch him laughing with tears in his eyes. He was a favorite among small kids for his steady attention. They felt important and listened to with Chuck. Many of his adult friends said the same thing.

He had faith in God and tried to demonstrate that faith by the way he lived. A lifelong member of the Knights of Columbus, he was always ready to lend a helping hand. He was kind, fair, and a man of his word.

Chuck leaves behind his loving wife, Kay, six children and their partners: Jeanene, Sondra (Keith Schreifels), Tricia (Blake Chambliss), Toby (Amy Carder), Susan (Todd Newsome) and Doug (Jennifer Wolff). “Poppa” will be missed by 10 grandchildren: Bethany (Blake) Lobdell, Kelsie (Quade Slovek), Lane, Wade, Nathan, Eli, Owen, James, Charlie and Lydia Kroetch and three great-grands: Braylee, Blaire and Brooklyn Lobdell. He is also survived by his sister, Lottie Walker, and a host of nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers and his son.

In lieu of flowers a memorial has been established.

Cards and memorials may be sent to P.O. Box 944, Philip, SD 57567.

Visitation will be held 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 11, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Philip, with a vigil service at 7:00 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, February 12, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Philip, with Father Gary Oreshoski as celebrant.

Interment with military honors will be held at the Masonic Cemetery in Philip.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 5-7 p.m.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Philip, South Dakota

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 7 p.m.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Philip, South Dakota

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church - Philip, South Dakota

Father Gary Oreshoski
assisted by Deacon Lloyd Frein

Marianne Frein - Pianist
Shelby Hanson - Cantor
Congregational Hymns
"Amazing Grace"
"Pastures of the Lord"
"Bread of Life"
"How Great Thou Art"

Lester Pearson - Mark Buchholz

Evan Kroetch - Dane Daly - Carson Daly

Kay Ainslie - Ellen Schofield

Bethany Lobdell - Kelsie Kroetch
Lane Kroetch - Wade Kroetch

Keith Schreifels - Jennifer Kroetch

Todd Newsome - Keith Schreifels - Blake Chambliss
Jerry Kroetch - Ralph Kroetch - Tim Thorvaldson - Carl Noack

Masonic Cemetery
Philip, South Dakota

  • Many kind thoughts sent to all of Chuck's family. He was a good and decent man. Soft-spoken, but always a kind word to say or thoughtful inquiry about how things were going in your own 'neck of the woods'. He was on the school board that hired me for my first teaching job, and he rarely saw me after that when he didn't remark that he appreciated my time teaching at the King School. The Kroetch Dam was a favorite place for Jason and his Grandmother Leona-they could count on a good catch and spent many happy times there. Priceless memories for Jason! He recalled the last time he had her there, she would have been well past 80, and Chuck pulled up and spent a good bit of time visiting. Good times. Prayers for all of you in the coming days and weeks. ~ Vonda and Jason Hamill Milesville, SD (2/13/2020)
  • Thanks for serving ~ A VETERAN (2/12/2020)
  • I'm so sorry to hear of Chuck's passing. He was a great man and leaves a wonderful legacy in his family. Hold your precious memories close. ~ Karen Hanson Rapid City SD (2/12/2020)
  • Dear Kay and Family, We are very sorry to hear of you loss of Chuck. He and I were buddies at Elbon and one year of PHS. We send you our heartfelt condolences. ~ Cliff and Sue Fairchild Corvallis, Oregon (2/12/2020)
  • Colorado ~ Basil Hamdan Fort Collins (2/11/2020)
  • Dear Kay and Family:
    We are so sorry for this great loss of Chuck. Growing up in the country as neighbors brings a special family closeness like no other. May God specially bless you with His love and comfort during this sad time. We will be holding your family close in our thoughts and prayers.
    ~ Mike and Shar Moses Philip, SD (2/11/2020)
  • Kay and Family,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Although Chuck was a quiet man and I really never knew him well I do want to share with you what he did for my family. A couple of weeks after my mom passed away I went to Philip to do the annual craft fair. Dad (Jim Williams) was still trying to adjust to his new "normal" but he insisted on taking me to the craft fair, he assured me he would come and eat lunch with me and sit around to visit with people. He didn't show up for lunch and didn't come by to visit, this was 14 years ago before everyone had a cell phone. I worried most of the day. He came along about the time I was trying to figure out how I was going to get home with all my totes, he was grinning and looking so happy. I asked what had happened to him and he said "Well, I went to coffee and Chuck Kroetch asked if I wanted to go with him to look at the cows and the countryside, so I did! He enjoyed that and needed that day more than anyone will ever know! I believe they did the same trip a few more times that fall but dad talked about it often and how he enjoyed that! I visited with Chuck one day after dad passed and thanked him for showing such kindness, he didn't want any special thanks he was just being a neighbor! I only hope I have or can impact someone else's life in such a simple yet meaningful way!
    ~ Tom and Jane Aasby Piedmont, SD (2/11/2020)
  • Dear Kay and Family, We want to You All to know that we have You in our Thoughts & Prayers. Lean on God, to help You thru this Time of Your Loss. God Bless You All! Kathy & Jerry Noteboom ~ Jerry & Kathy S. Noteboom Yuma, Az (2/10/2020)
  • Prayers for comfort and peace to all the family. ~ Chris and Pam Rall The Woodlands, Texas (2/10/2020)
  • Chuck was a special guy, we were honored to call him a friend. He was a neighbor to Lester for many years and done business at the elevator with Lester. We will keep on dancing for Chuck, he was a good dancer. Hold on to all the memories. We all know he is in a better place, ~ Les & Joann Pearson Philip, SD (2/10/2020)
  • Sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Cherish the memories. ~ Carolyn (Gottsleben) Brooks Dupree, SD (2/10/2020)
  • Tricia and family,
    I cannot tell you how sorry I was to hear about your dad. I was shocked and saddened by the news. Please extend my sympathy to your mom and the rest of your family. Your dad was such a kind and gentle sole. Once in awhile, I am sure he questioned a few things we did but he would just grin at us. Hugs and prayers dear friend!!
    ~ Wanda Moses Fairmont, Ne (2/10/2020)
  • Kay & Family, So sorry to hear about Chuck. Our prayers and thoughts . God Bless. ~ Ralph &Cathy Fiedler Sturgis, SD (2/10/2020)
  • Kay and family sorry for your loss you are all in our thoughts and prayers. ~ Deanna and Kelly Fees S. Dak and Az. (2/10/2020)
  • Sorry for your loss. May God bless you all at this difficult time ~ Kenny and Nancy Neville Philip (2/10/2020)
  • Remember the good times and always keep them in your heart. Prairie prayers from Plainview coming your way for all. ~ Jim and Vonnie O’Dea Howes, SD (2/10/2020)