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Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home

Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home
101 Gerkin
Gregory, SD 57533
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Memories & Candles

“Rod, Kevin, Karen and families We are so very sorry for your loss. Walt was sure a great man and will be missed greatly. He will be coaching baseball...Read More »
1 of 9 | Posted by: Lori DeMers - Colome, SD

“Rod, Kevin, Karen, and families, We are so sad to hear about your dad. Our hearts are breaking for you. He is a big part of my childhood memories....Read More »
2 of 9 | Posted by: Joyce Haas - Moorpark, CA - Niece

“Wishing the entire family love and peace. ”
3 of 9 | Posted by: Jill (Knox) Davy, Howard, Matt and Ty - MI

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Cherish all the wonderful memories. Blessings, Dennis & Mitzi ”
4 of 9 | Posted by: Mitzi Drey - Sioux Falls, SD, SD

“Rod, Kevin, and family, So sorry to hear of the loss of your father. One of the greatest men I have ever known. A true "gentle" man. You and your...Read More »
5 of 9 | Posted by: Mike Gassen - Bellwood, NE

“Dear Rod & Bev and Walt's family... We are saddened to hear about the passing of your dad, Rod. It's very hard to lose a parent. Our heart goes...Read More »
6 of 9 | Posted by: Paula Koy - Edwards, IL

“To family and friends we are sorry for the loss of Walt. He was always willing to share a laugh and chuckle when he was visiting. I remember...Read More »
7 of 9 | Posted by: Glenn and Mary Brown - St. Joseph, MO

“Walt was a very sweet man. He was always good for a kind word and great conversation. May he rest in peace and be with Arlene who was also a very...Read More »
8 of 9 | Posted by: Carla Warnke - Gregory, SD

“Sorry For Your Loss! God Be With You All! ”
9 of 9 | Posted by: Randy and Carleen Baumgartner - SD


Walter Edward Graesser was born on January 5, 1925 at the Gregory Hospital to Thomas D. & Neta (Stoltenberg) Graesser and died July 27, 2015 at Rosebud Country Care Center. He was the third of four children. Walt's family lived in Carlock township until they moved to Valley township when he was four where he continued to live and raise his family until his retirement.

In 1943 he graduated from Gregory High School, after which he worked on the farm with his dad, taking over when his parents retired.

Walt married Arlene (Lebert) on May 27, 1950 at the Paxton Methodist Church and to this union Rod, Steve, Kevin and Karen were born.

Walt's passion was attending the sporting events of his children and grandchildren and there was little that caused him to miss, even if it involved milking the dairy cows at four in the afternoon.

He loved working with horses and reminiscing about his special ones. One particular memory was during the winter of '52 when roads were blocked with snow. Rod was a baby and became quite ill, requiring medication. The mailman was able to bring it as far as Carlock which was ten miles away, so Walt rode his horse Rocket to get the medicine.

Another special memory was when he found his team of horses, Nip and Tuck. They, along with Dick and Jean Steffen, hitched them to a covered wagon for the SD centennial and participated in the wagon train from Winner to Bonesteel.

Walt loved baseball. He played for Colome and had the opportunity to coach Rod, Steve and Kevin for several years. He also enjoyed watching his grandchildren play ball and talking Twins baseball, especially with grandson Carter.

His children have many memories of visiting neighbors which always involved a game of cards around the kitchen table. He continued to enjoy playing pitch with their many friends into his later years.

He was proceeded in death by his wife, Arlene and son, Steve; parents Thomas D. and Neta Graesser; siblings Myra Stukel and Norma Knox; sister-in-law Faye Beck, brothers-in-law Robert Stukel, Bill Knox, Max Beck, Bill Lebert and Lou Lebert; father and mother-in-law, Roy and Dema Lebert.

He leaves to mourn his children Rodney (Bev) Graesser, Kevin (Tammy) Graesser, and Karen (Jim) Baumgartner; grandchildren Glenn (Kirsten), Jordan (Cassie), Leah, Emilee (fiance Max), Derek, Alisyn and Regan Graesser, Dustin, Carter & Aryn Baumgartner; great grandchildren Walter & Henry Graesser and Cierra Bordeaux; his sibling Gladys (Jim) Harder, Winner; in-laws Marie (Ed) Spurling, Newhall CA, Jean (Dick) Steffen, Gregory SD, Kay Lebert, Mitchell SD, Kathryn (Harold) Winter, Iona SD and Jim Lebert, Aurora CO, and many nieces and nephews.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Funeral services for Walt Graesser, 90, of Gregory, SD, were held Saturday, August 1, 2015, at 10:30 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Gregory with Pastor Royal Archer officiating. A visitation was held Friday evening at the church.

Music was provided by Sara Klein, pianist, and Geoff Smith, vocalist, singing "Daddy's Hands." Congregational hymns were "Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone" and "In the Garden."

Donna Beck and Lucy Forgey were in charge of registration.

Flower attendants were Diane Svoboda and Barb Fenenga.

Casket Bearers were Glenn Graesser, Jordan Graesser, Leah Graesser, Emilee Graesser, Derek Graesser, Alisyn Graesser, Dustin Baumgartner, Brian Beck, Kyle Beck, and Claire Byrd.

Honorary Casket Bearers were grandchildren Regan Graesser, Carter Baumgartner, and Aryn Baumgartner, and great-grandchildren Walter and Henry Graesser, and Cierra Bordeaux.

Interment was at the I.O.O.F. Cemetery, Gregory, SD.