Ivan J. Bartels was born on December 9, 1919 on a farm near Wolsey, SD to Albert and Alvina (Neelen) Bartels. He attended rural schools in the area and graduated from Alpena High School in the class of 1938. Ivan was confirmed in the American Lutheran Church in Huron, SD. He attended Wessington Springs Junior College, and received a teaching certificate in 1940. He later attended Dakota Wesleyan University.
He taught at the (rural) Miller Country School. He moved to Inglewood, California in 1942 to build B-25 Bombers for North American Aviation. From 1942 to 1944 he worked for the California Flyers School as a Hydraulics instructor. He married Doris Schwabauer on July 26, 1942 in Inglewood, California.
Ivan returned to South Dakota briefly to help his parents on the farm He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1944, serving until 1945, serving on an aircraft carrier and at Norfolk, Va. He worked as a salesman in the Habicht & Habicht Department Store in Wessington Springs from 1946 to 1948. He and Doris then served as Jerauld County Treasurer from 1948 to 1958. Ivan was then employed by Sears, J.C. Penny, and Methodist Hospital in 1959 and 1960. He then became the Treasurer of the South Dakota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, where he remained until his retirement in 1985.
He was a loyal Kiwanian for many years, and took pride in his Perfect Attendance record of over 55 years. In addition to membership, he held every office there was in his Kiwanis Clubs over the years. He was an active member of the United Methodist Church, and served on the church board at various times. He served on the Wesley Acres Board of Directors for 11 years. In 1986, Dakota Wesleyan University named Ivan as “Outstanding Citizen”.
In 2000 Ivan and Doris moved from their home to Countryside Living Retirement Community, where they made many wonderful friends over the years. Ivan, with his ever-present digital camera, was the “unofficial” photographer for nearly every occasion at Countryside Living.
Ivan is survived by his son, Keith (Glynn) Bartels, Mitchell, SD; his daughter, Lilas (Larry) Robinson of Glenwood Springs, CO; four granddaughters: Kristin (Bryon) Mobley, Amy Robinson, Whitney Bartels, and Laura (Peter) Bradshaw, all in Colorado; three great-grandchildren: Jeremy and Emily Bradshaw and Taylor Claire Mobley; four sisters-in-law: Georgia Wyma, Prescott, AZ, Virginia and John Kelly, St. Paul, MN, Norma Shultz, Denver, CO, and Maxine Schwabauer, Denver, CO; and many nieces and nephews. Ivan was preceded in death by his wife, Doris, in 2006, his parents, and several brothers-in-law.