Gale Letellier, age 89, of Norris, S.D., died on Monday, October 2, 2017 at the Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital in Philip.
Gale Letellier was born on July 11, 1928, to James and Anna (Fanning) Letellier in Page City, Kansas. He was the youngest of nine children. In 1930, Gale’s parent’s homesteaded on a farm-ranch near Norris. Gale attended country grade school where he faithfully rode his horse the four miles to school every day. He graduated from the eighth grade in Norris. Gale attended two years of high school in White River and moved for the winter months to Mesa, Ariz. with his parents to complete and graduate from Mesa High School. In his youth he helped his Dad and brothers farm and raise cattle.
In December 1951, Gale was inducted into the United States Army and served during the Korean War, laying telephone lines on the front line. He always said the call to get up in the morning was Eddie Arnold’s “Cattle Call”. He never liked that song when he heard it on the radio.
After serving two years in the Army, Gale was honorably discharged with receiving the Korean Service Metal, two bronze stars, and two United Nations Service Metals with overseas bars. After the war ended he returned to the states and returned to the ranch to work with his father.
On May 24, 1957 Gale was united in marriage to Josephine “JoAnn” Simek of Belvidere. Gale and JoAnn purchased the Norris farm from his parents and continued to farm and ranch until his health no longer would let him. He continued to live on the farm though. Four sons were born to Gale and JoAnn and all were raised on the farm.
Gale had a natural gift of understanding and appreciating tractors, machinery, livestock, crops, and spent his whole life working with them. He had a special fondness for the land and his cattle. He was a quiet, gentle man who never got angry at anyone.
The list of his life accomplishments pales by comparison to his devotion to his family and God, which he loved above all else. He greatly enjoyed family events, good food, good times, or even a quick game of cards. Treating the birth of each new grandchild or great-grandchild was very special to him as well.
Gale and JoAnn enjoyed traveling in later years with their special friends, the Jim Roots. They traveled to the world’s fair in several places in Canada and many states in the USA. They thoroughly enjoyed the many trips with Bank West Tours especially the trips to Branson, Missouri.
If there were children or grandchildren with special events, Gale and JoAnn were there. The last month was spent in the Kadoka Nursing Home until Gale’s passing when the angels came to take him home.
Survivors include his wife JoAnn Letellier, Norris; four sons Gary Letellier, Norris, Jerry Letellier (Jim), Nixa, Mo, Daniel Letellier (Coleen), Sioux Falls, and David Letellier (Coleen), Hulett, Wyo.; nine grandchildren Travis Letellier, Vermillion, Chris Letellier, Norris, Anna, Cooper, Hailey, Jhett and Duncan Letellier, Hulett, and Joseph and Matthew Letellier, Sioux Falls; one step-grandson Jake; two great-grandchildren Berkley Backen and Chase Letellier; one sister Evelyn Sterling formerly of Mesa, Ariz.; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Gale was preceded in death by his parents; five brothers Emile, Byron, Loyd, Ralph, and Bill Letellier; and two sisters Nellie Patterson and Madeline Barney.
A visitation was held from 6-7 p.m. with a rosary service at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 6 at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Kadoka.
Mass of Christian Burial was held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 7 at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Kadoka.
Interment with military honors was held at the Kadoka Cemetery.
Arrangements are with Rush Funeral Home of Kadoka.