Robert “Bob” Heitland, 91, died Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, at Prairie Lakes Hospital, in Watertown, S.D.
A graveside memorial service and burial were held Sept. 4, at Collins Cemetery in Willow Lake, S.D., with the Rev. Marjie Brewton officiating.
Robert Bernard Heitland was born Dec. 30, 1928, near Willow Lake to Herman and Dorathea Heitland. Bob grew up near Willow Lake, moving with his parents in 1943 to the farm where he currently resided. He attended country school through the eighth grade, after which he worked on the family farm.
In January 1951, Bob joined the United States Navy. After six weeks of basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, he boarded the USS Twinning DD 540 in California. He served in the Korean War with three tours of duty to Korea from 1951-54. He also traveled to the Philippines, Hermosa and Hong Kong. He was discharged in October of 1954.
Bob was united in marriage to Darlene Marx on Sept. 4, 1954, at Long Beach, Calif. The couple returned to South Dakota and farmed in the Willow Lake area until moving to Fargo in January of 1957, where Bob attended mechanical school. Upon completion of his education, they moved to De Smet, where he was employed at O’Keefe Implement as shop foreman.
In 1964, the couple moved to Bob’s family farm north of De Smet to take over the farming operation. They farmed and raised livestock until health issues forced him to retire in 1984. Darlene passed away in July of 2008.
Bob was an extremely bright man who could fix anything. He was a very talented mechanic who loved to visit with others about cars and tractors. He also loved music. He enjoyed playing the accordion and dancing during his younger years. Most of all, he was a fighter. Though he faced numerous health issues over the years, he just kept fighting and adjusting to the limitations that were presented to him.
Survivors include his son, Gene (Lori) Heitland, Bryant; three daughters, Sharon (Scott) Wicks, Carpenter, Susan (Mike) Sprang, Sioux Falls and Shirley (Mike) Flanagan, Garretson; one sister-in-law, Bernita Geiman, Scotland; ten grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Darlene; his parents; one sister-in-law and one brother-in-law.