Oliver Willert, age 91, Kadoka, S.D., died Friday, March 25, 2016, at the Kadoka Nursing Home in Kadoka.
Oliver Willert was born on Nov. 11, 1924, at the family farm house west of Belvidere. He was the second of five sons born to Emil and Etta Willert. He grew up the family lived on a farm north of Belvidere, where Oliver’s son, Jim, now lives. Oliver enjoyed living in the country where the family farmed wheat and hay. When he was young, most of the farm work was done with horses.
Oliver attended a country grade school not too far from home. The family made the move to Kadoka in 1936 when Emil became sheriff and Oliver graduated from Kadoka High School in 1941. During his high school days Oliver played football and baseball.
Oliver joined the U.S. Army in 1946 and served in World War II. He played football in Germany while stationed there. Oliver attended South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and played football there as well. They played nine man and his position was the outside end. He graduated from the School of Mines in 1951 with a degree in civil engineering.
On May 26, 1951, Oliver married Shirley Addison. Together they raised two boys, Jerry and Jim. With his engineering degree he had the opportunity to work road construction in South Dakota and Iowa. Later, he took a job with the South Dakota Department of Transportation. He had a lot of responsibility as part of the engineering department and he helped oversee the construction of Interstate 90 in the 1960s from Cactus Flat to Kennebec. After his work on the interstate, Oliver worked as the resident engineer for the SD DOT office in both Kadoka, and later, for four years in Winner.
Oliver retired from the SD DOT after 20 plus years. During those years he experienced many changes in the equipment used and the process of how transportation projects were done. He was able to meet and work with a lot of people who he remained close friends with. He was also able to work on projects with his brother, Charles, and even spent a summer with his son, Jim.
Raising two boys kept life busy, especially since they were in rodeo. Oliver went to watch them whenever he had a chance and in later years he followed his grandsons as they competed. He loved playing all types of card games including cribbage, poker and pinochle. He was an active member of the Belvidere Community Church, the American Legion Post #27 of Kadoka, and the VFW Post #4674 of Winner.
Grateful for having shared his life are his two sons, Jerry Willert and his wife, Cindy, Kadoka, and Jim Willert, Belvidere; four grandchildren, Nicolas Willert and his wife, Rhonda, Strasburg, Colo., Ryan Willert, Kadoka, Jamie Willert and his wife, Christy, Kadoka, and Jeff Willert, Belvidere; and three great-grandchildren, Trinity, RJ and Jessa.
Oliver was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley, on May 3, 2009; his parents; and four brothers, Marvin, Robert, Kenneth and Charles.
Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, at the Rush Funeral Chapel in Kadoka.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, March 31, at the Kadoka City Auditorium, with Larry Dolezal officiating.
Music will be provided by Lonny Johnston and Liz Fisher. Ushers are Jerry Magelky and Bob Eckert. Pallbearers are Ryan, Jamie, Nick and Jeff Willert, John and Eric Addison and Kipp Magelky.
Interment with military honors will be held 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.
In lieu of flowers memorials preferred to the Kadoka Nursing Home or the Kadoka Ambulance Service.
Arrangements are with the Rush Funeral Home of Philip.
His online guestbook is available at www.rushfuneralhome. com