Garvin C. Bertsch


December 4, 1927 - October 13, 2009



Garvin Clinton Bertsch was born on December 4, 1927 at McPherson County, near Eureka, SD to Adam and Magdalena (Bertsch) Bertsch.  He attended elementary school in McPherson County and graduated from Ashley High School in 1944.  He attended and graduated from South Dakota State College with a degree in Pharmacy in 1949.  He was employed in Wessington Springs, SD for one year until he was called to active service in October, 1950.  His first assignment was at Fort Riley, KS where he served as instructor for basic training.  In April 1951, he was transferred to the Korea Combat Zone and served as a platoon leader and later as company commander.  He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in June, 1950.

      In August 1952, he returned to civilian life and moved to Mitchell, SD, where he was employed as a pharmacist.  On October 11, 1953, he married Marjorie Brenner of Armour, SD.  In 1960, he and Wiley Vogt purchased Saterlie Drug and they were partners until 1986 when Wiley purchased the entire drugstore.  He did pharmacy relief work for a few years.  He received the Bowl of Hygeia Award and Honorary President’s Award from the South Dakota Pharmaceutical Association for his community work.

      He was a long time member of the First United Methodist Church where he served on numerous committees and served as chairman of some.  He sang in the church choir for twenty-five years.  He was active in the Mitchell Community for many years.  He was one of the founders of the Mitchell Barbershop Chorus and served as its president for twenty years.  He was a member and served as president or chairman of Y’s Men’s Club, South Dakota Children’s Aid, Mitchell Rotary Club, United Fund Drive, and Mr. Mitchell Steering Committee.

      In recent years he has done research of Mitchell History and has written numerous short histories and biographies of older residents of Mitchell.  His passion was to preserve the history of family and history.  He was awarded the 2007 Governor’s Award for History.

      He is survived by his wife; one son, Jeff and his wife, Cathy of Sturgis, SD and one daughter, Mary Kieff and her husband, Ed of Sioux Falls, SD; four grandchildren and a sister-in-law, Shirley Bertsch of Ashley, ND.  He is preceded in death by his parents, and a brother, Roonie Bertsch.



To Be Announced


Friday, October 16, 2009
11:00 AM
First United Methodist Church
310 North Rowley Street
Mitchell, South Dakota


Servicemen's Memorial Cemetery
Mitchell, South Dakota

Posted by Cheri Brenner on 10-16-2009 on October 16, 2009
I just met Garvin four years ago when I married his brother in law Frank. He and Marge made me feel so welcomed as the newest family member and I will always remember how caring, and sweet he was to me. We also had a common interest in history and I so enjoyed all of his writings, he had an incredible memory. I am so happy that we got to see him before he passed, that was a memorable time, he was fearless about dying and knew where he was going and was anxious to get there. The pain and suffering is over now Garvin, you put up a courageous battle in dying as you did in life. The four years I knew you weren't nearly enough, but I will never forget you!!
Posted by Frank Brenner on 10-16-2009 on October 16, 2009
Garvin was my brother-in-law but I really thought of him as my brother. I've known Garvin for 56 years and through those years I enjoy all of our visits. I will always be thankful for the time and energy he put into doing our family's geneolgy. He went as far back as the 1600's and this will always be appreicated by not only by me but my children, grandchildren and their children, his legacy to my family is finding our roots , we will always be grateful. He accomplished so much in his life, he was a wonderful husband to my sister Marge, and a loving and supportive father to his children and grandchildren. Garvin loves his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I'm sure he is enjoying the peace, love, and joy of being with God eternally. Garvin will be missed but not forgotten.
Posted by Annette Brenner on October 16, 2009
What a great man to know and gain knowledge from. I will always remember our family gatherings when in South Dakota. Thanks to Garvin for steering me into genealogy, it has been an adventure. He will be missed by all. Thoughts and prayers are with all of Garvins family at this time of grieving. Remember all the good happy times and it will get you thru this difficult time.
Sorry Marge that we could not make the trip up from Houston but short notice and with hunting season opening, no room at the inn.
Posted by Paula and Tom Hunstad on October 16, 2009
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time. May your memories be a source of great comfort to all and remember you he wiil always be with in spirit.
Posted by Dale Bertsch on October 16, 2009
Were it not for our younger son, Adam's wedding tomorrow, Eileen and I would be at the service. All who knew Garvin know what a wonderful man he was. Garvin shared some of his stories from Korea with me. He matter-of-factly told stories of courage and bravery as though they were commonplace. I think he was too modest to admit the kind of hero he was all those years ago.
Posted by Chuck & Charlotte Trebilcock on October 16, 2009
Garvin was such a special man. He did so much to research and bring the Bertschs together. We all will miss his wisdom and his wit. We are very sorry we can not attend the service, but know you will be in our thought today.
Posted by Steve and Lori Wendt ( Kaylie Behring) on October 16, 2009
Mary, Ed and Family,

Words cannot say how sorry we are to hear of your loss. Just know we are thinking and praying for you and your Family.
Posted by Jeremy Ness on October 15, 2009
I met Garvin when I worked for BPI. I had a many of conversations with him. I would goto his house to help him out. I was told many of stories of history while I worked, I even stuck around after hours at his house for a longer history lesson. I always left with something to eat. If it wasn't the best German ring Bologna that you could buy around the Dakotas (and instructions how to cook it with beer) or Fresh Dates from a trip they took, once I got a whole Christmas plate of various cookies and things. I have thought of how he has been since I have moved to Rapid in the past. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Posted by Lowell & Sherry Arens on October 15, 2009
I worked for Garvin and Wiley while attending DWU as a stock clerk back in the 60's. I am forever grateful for their dedication to me in giving me the part time job over the course of my years at DWU, graduating in January of 1970.Our sympathy to you and your family in your loss.
Posted by Rodney Hall on October 14, 2009
As college students Garvin and I both roomed at the same house, 802 11th Ave., in Brookings in 1945-46. It was so nice to see him come and make Mitchell his home . He was so interested in preserving Mitchell history. Garvin will be missed.
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