Walter Funeral Homes

Serving the communities of Freeman, Marion and Bridgewater, South Dakota

John D. Waltner, 85, of Freeman passed away Sunday at Oakview Terrace. A memorial service will be Friday March 29 at 2 PM at the Salem Mennonite Church of rural Freeman. Committal services will be prior to the memorial service at 1 PM at the church cemetery.  Visitation and viewing will be Thursday from 5PM to 7PM and Friday from 9AM to noon at the Walter Funeral Home in Freeman.


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John Dean Waltner was born April 24, 1933 at his parent’s farm in Turkey Ridge Valley, south of Marion, SD. He was the youngest of five children born to John P.M. and Bertha Waltner. He died on March 24, 2019 at Oakview Terrace in Freeman, SD.

John was baptized on November 20, 1949 by Rev. Willard Claassen. He attended Freeman Academy and Freeman Jr. College. A conscientious objector, John did his alternative service as an orderly at General Rose Hospital in Denver, Colorado for two years.

John and Dorothy Schmidt were married on July 1, 1955 at the Evangelical Mennonite Church of Marion, sharing in marriage for 52 years. Four children were born to this union: Terrence, Anthony, Thomas and Heidi.

John enjoyed many years of farming and had a love of music, especially singing in the Men’s Choir at South Church. After retirement, he enjoyed gardening, fishing and helping his sons with their farms, and volunteering with various organizations.

Those who cherish his memory are his children: Terry (Kaye), Marion, SD; Tony, Marion, SD; Tom (Patty), Mashpee, MA; and Heidi (Donovan) Pepper, Chicago, IL; and six grandchildren: Jessie (Eric) Fjeldheim; Trey; Michael (Jennie); Mason; Dakota and Dillon Pepper, and one great grandchild, Stella Fjeldheim. Also surviving him are his sister, Elaine Regier, Mountain Lake, MN; brother-in-law, Vernon Harms, Calgary, Alberta; sisters-in-law, LuVerna Goering, Mounridge KS; Lillian (Ralph) Schroeder, Sioux City, IA; and brother-in-law, Clifford (Dawne) Schmidt, Olympia, WA; nieces and nephews, cousins and friends, and his special friend, Sylvia Dubs-Mendel, Freeman, SD. John was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, two brothers, one sister, two nieces, a nephew and several in-laws.

Four generations of care