John Dean Waltner was born April 24, 1933 at his parent’s farm in Turkey Ridge Valley, south of Marion, S.D. He was the youngest of five children born to John P.M. and Bertha Waltner. He died on March 24, 2019 at Oakview Terrace in Freeman, S.D.
John was baptized on Nov. 20, 1949 by Rev. Willard Claassen. He attended Freeman Academy and Freeman Jr. College. A conscientious objector, John did his alternative service as an orderly at General Rose Hospital in Denver, Colo. for two years.
John and Dorothy Schmidt were married on July 1, 1955 at the Evangelical Mennonite Church of Marion, sharing in marriage for 52 years. Four children were born to this union: Terrence, Anthony, Thomas and Heidi.
John enjoyed many years of farming and had a love of music, especially singing in the men’s choir at South Church. After retirement, he enjoyed gardening, fishing and helping his sons with their farms, and volunteering with various organizations.
Those who cherish his memory are his children: Terry (Kaye), Marion; Tony, Marion; Tom (Patty), Mashpee, Mass.; and Heidi (Donovan) Pepper, Chicago, Ill.; and six grandchildren: Jessie (Eric) Fjeldheim, Trey, Michael (Jennie); Mason, Dakota and Dillon Pepper, and one great-grandchild, Stella Fjeldheim. Also surviving him are his sister, Elaine Regier, Mountain Lake, Minn., brother-in-law Vernon Harms, Calgary, Alberta; sisters-in-law: LuVerna Goering, Moundridge, Kan. and Lillian (Ralph) Schroeder, Sioux City, Iowa; and brother-in-law Clifford (Dawne) Schmidt, Olympia, Wash.; nieces and nephews; cousins and friends; and his special friend, Sylvia Dubs-Mendel, Freeman. John was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, two brothers, one sister, two nieces, a nephew and several in-laws.
A time of remembrance was held Friday, March 29 at the Salem Mennonite Church with Rev. Nick Detweiler-Stoddard officiating. Music was provided by organist Sharon Waltner and the men’s choir. Pallbearers were Michael Waltner, Mason Waltner, Trey Waltner, Jessie Fjeldheim, Dakota Pepper and Dillon Pepper.