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.