Calvin Mettler

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Calvin Jacob Mettler

Calvin J. Mettler, age 88, died peacefully Sunday, April 7, 2013 at home on the farm 4 ½ miles north of Menno, S.D. Family members will be present at Zion Reformed Church, Menno for visitation beginning at 5 p.m., Friday, April 12 with a prayer service at 7 p.m. The funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, April 13 with Rev. Travis Grassmid officiating. Burial will be in the Menno Cemetery. He was cared for by family and the Freeman Hospice care team during his final months of struggle with esophageal cancer.

Calvin was born March 24, 1925 to Jacob F. and Magdalena (Mettler) Mettler on the family farm 4 miles north of Menno. He was a lifelong member of Zion (formerly Kassel) Reformed Church, baptized by Rev. Buettel and confirmed by Rev. Bodenman in 1939. He attended Kassel District 16 School 4 miles north of Menno through 8th grade and graduated from Menno High School in 1944. He purchased his Uncle Fred H. Mettler's farm in 1947 while continuing to work with his father until being drafted into the U.S. Army in February, 1951 during the Korean Conflict, where he served as a radio repairman.

Calvin married Carol Mae Helen Schempp on June 30, 1951 by Rev. Robert Stuebbe, pastor of Grace Reformed Church, Bakersfield, California. After his honorable discharge from the Army in February 1953, the couple and infant son moved to his farm 4 ½ miles north of Menno where he spent the rest of his life. They raised five sons and enjoyed sharing 61 years of marriage.

Calvin served in many community organizations: organizational boards of the Southeast Experiment Farm (vice president), State and County Extension Service, Hutchinson County Farm Bureau (president), Menno-Olivet Care Center and Menno Medical Clinic; board member of the Farmers Elevator. He enjoyed participating in the Menno Centennial Chorus, church choir and the development of Pioneer Acres at the north edge of Menno. His heart for service was also evidenced by the two gallon pin he received for donating blood at numerous local blood drives.

Calvin was a delegate to the Republican State Convention numerous times and a State delegate to the 1968 National Convention in Florida, carrying his beliefs in small government, personal responsibility and high morals to the political arena. He was a member of the American Legion and also the SoDak Stamm Chapter of Germans from Russia Heritage Society, with whom he and Carol traveled on a tour to the Ukraine in 2005 to see the area their ancestors immigrated from.

Calvin enjoyed golf in his later years; he and Carol traveled to many different golf courses. Although they began taking winter breaks to Mesa, Arizona in the early 1990's, during the warmer months he remained active on the farm, doing things like helping with daily cattle feeding until late Fall, 2012 when his deteriorating health finally prevented it. Their grandson, Rodney, and Amanda Mettler recently purchased the farmstead from Calvin and Carol, fulfilling their wish to keep it in the family.

Preceding Calvin in death were parents Jacob (1984) and Magdalena (1981); siblings Erna (Robert) Tueting, Helen Handel, Elsie (Willard) Herrboldt, Cecilia Huenemann, Gerold (Edra), his still-born twin sister and two young siblings Richard and Hildegard; sisters-in-law Anita (Royce) Walker and Velma Mettler; brothers-in-law Harold Dirks and George Tobin; nephew Robert Herrboldt; niece LuCinda (Dirks) Bontz and great niece Brooke Herrboldt.

In addition to his wife, Carol, surviving family members thankful for having shared Calvin's life are his five sons and their wives, thirteen grandchildren, five step grandchildren, six great grandchildren and eight step great grandchildren, namely son Steven and wife Peggy, children Joel; Jason (Amanda) - Stephanie, Kayla, Joseph, Jacob, Brenna; Danette (Jason) Besley - Kaitlyn, Ariella, Matayah; son Kent and wife Lynne, children Thomas; Rodney (Amanda) - Egan; Jeremy (Jennifer) Abma - Zachary, Isabelle, Grace, Kaitlyn; Christopher (Tammy) Abma - Janessa; Cherie (Jason) Abma Sussner; Bethanie Abma (Kelly McGuire); David (Michelle) Abma; son Preston and wife Victoria, children Jeremy and Sarah; son Paul and wife Lisa, children Tara and Katie; son Miles and wife Christy, children Zachary, Maria, Matthew and Anna. Also surviving are two brothers Raymond and Gordon (Patricia), brothers-in-law Clifford (Donna) Handel and Leland (Dorothy) Schempp, sisters-in-law Cleopha Dirks and LaVay Tobin, plus many nieces and nephews.

In leiu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Menno Pioneer Heritage Association, PO Box 452, Menno, S.D. 57045. The current site of Pioneer Acres and the Menno Power Show was homesteaded by Calvin's maternal great grandfather.

Published in The Argus Leader on Apr. 12, 2013
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