Our father, Walter Bernard Epp, was born on a farm several miles north of Dolton, S.D., February 20, 1922, to Bernard and Margaret (Jantzen) Epp. He was the eldest of six children.
When he was about 12 1/2 years old, the family moved to a farm north and west of Marion, S.D. and this is where Dad lived until he left home.
The family attended the Bethel Mennonite Church, near Dolton, where he was a faithful member until 1991 when the church closed. Then he transferred membership to the Salem-Zion Mennonite Church near Freeman, S.D. He especially enjoyed singing in the Men’s Chorus and the Swiss Choral Society.
Walter attended the Riverdale Dist. 80 for seven years. He graduated from Marion High School as Valedictorian of his class in 1939. After high school he took a sheet metal course in Sioux Falls, S.D. For several months he worked at Kenworth in Seattle, Wash., before enlisting in the U.S. Army Corps. Later he completed flight training, and served as a pilot for a supply plane in North Africa.
On June 5, 1943, Dad married his high school sweetheart, Emma Lorraine Fliginger, in Brady, Texas. On completion of Dad’s service in 1945, they began farming near Dolton.
After 25 years of marriage, Emma died on June 7, 1968. Ten children were born to this union.
On March 21, 1971 Dad married Catherine Epp, in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada. They were married for 28 years when Catherine died March 12, 1999.
Dad continued to enjoy farming for a total of almost 65 years, until August, 2009, when he moved to Freeman. He lived independently there for five years before moving once again in 2014, this time to Salem Mennonite Home.
Through the years, Walter served the community in many roles, including the Dolton Township Board, the Freeman Jr. College Board of Directors and numerous leadership positions in the Bethel Mennonite Church and Salem-Zion Mennonite Church.
Central to Dad’s life and routine were his interest in education, reading and music. His passion for conservation of the land was recognized by Turner County.
During Dad’s retirement in Freeman, he was a dedicated worker at the Et Cetera Shop, was an active supporter of the Arboretum, enjoyed days on the farm with his sons, John and David, and also visiting his other children and grandchildren.
Dad’s life on earth ended December 1, 2017.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters: Betty (infant) and Wilma (Denver, Colo.), his wives, Emma and Catherine and their siblings and spouses, Brother-in-law Lee Hofer, son-in-law Howard Muenchow, his grandson Neil David Epp and grand-daughter-in-law Shari Muenchow. Cherishing his memory and example are his children: Betty Muenchow, Arlen (Carol) Epp Karen (Karl) Kingsley, Diana (Tom) Graber, Norman (Nadine Abrahams), Margaret (Arlin) Hiebner, David (Sonja) Epp, Charlene Epp (Duncan Smith), John (Beth) Epp and Raymon (Pam) Epp. 21 grandchildren with 11 spouses, 18 great-grandchildren, two sisters (Wadie Leder and Doris Hofer), one brother (Willard Epp), numerous nieces and nephews, special friend Bonnie Williams and many other relatives and friends.