John E. West, Sr., 96, of Watertown, SD, passed away on Monday, April 22, 2019 at Watertown Care & Rehabilitation Center.
Funeral Mass will be at 11:00 a.m., Friday, April 26, 2019 at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Watertown with Father Brian Eckrich officiating. Music will be provided by the Immaculate Conception Funeral Choir accompanied by Helen Gollnick.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m., with a scripture service at 7:00 p.m. and a rosary to follow led by the Knights of Columbus on Thursday, April 25th at the Wight & Comes Funeral Chapel in Watertown.
Burial will be at St. Mary's Cemetery, Watertown, SD. Military honors will be conducted by Vietnam Veterans of America of Northeast SD Chapter 1054, Frank H. Adams Post 750 of the VFW, and SD Army National Guard Funeral Honors Team.
Honorary Pallbearers will be members of the Knights of Columbus.
Active pallbearers will be Mike Ward, Mark Ward, Eric Ruby, Ben Leavitt, Brian West, Ryan Pendleton, Justin West and Timothy West.
John Everett West was born to John S. and Nancy L. Tubbs on August 14, 1922 in Dempster, SD. He grew up in Big Stone City, SD, and graduated from Big Stone City High School in 1940.
John enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on June 4, 1940. At the outbreak of World War II, he was activated to the United States Army where he was in the North African and European Theater of Operations. He was in on the Salarno and Anzio Invasions of Algiers and Italy. He was awarded the Bronze Star during his military service and was honorably discharged as a sergeant on August 14, 1945. John then returned to South Dakota and attended one year of college at SDSU in Brookings.
On June 4, 1946 he married Ersul J. Wensing in the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. They lived in California from 1951-1961 and John had remodeled two homes while living in California. John and Ersul lived in Florida for three years and then returned to Watertown. John also built eight homes and remodeled several homes in Florida, Estelline and Watertown. John was employed by the United States Postal Service in Watertown for 25 years, retiring in 1982. John and Ersul had celebrated their 62nd anniversary prior to her death in 2009.
John was a life member of the VFW Post 750, a 3rd degree knight with the Knights of Columbus, and was past president of the Watertown Eagles and Senior Citizens Center. He was past commander of the American Legion in Watertown and Estelline and had been the Mayor of Estelline for four years.
He loved to work jigsaw puzzles, play cards, fish and travel.
John is survived by his best friend and companion, Joyce Ulrich of Watertown; his children, John "Jack" (Charlene) West Jr. of Summit, SD, Linda Ward of Peoria, AZ, Timothy West of Estelline, SD, Terry West of Minneapolis, MN, and Nancy Klapperich of Phoenix, AZ; a son-in-law, Wayne Leavitt of Watertown, SD; his sister, Patricia (Roy) Johnson of Sioux Falls, SD; sister-in-law, Wanda West of Brookings, SD; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Ersul; one sister, Daisy E. West Breske; two brothers, Thomas and George West; and his daughter, Roxie Leavitt.