Wilbert A. Blumhardt, 86, Bowdle, died Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at his residence. Funeral services will be 10:30 AM Saturday, April 2, 2011 at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Bowdle, with Rev. Mark Gullerud leading the service. Organist will be Barb Gullerud and the congregation will sing “Beautiful Savior”, “A Mighty Fortress is our God”, “Forever with the Lord”, “I know that my Redeemer Lives”, and The Lord’s my Shepherd”. Ushers will be Quentin Walz and Blake Eisenbeisz. Burial follows at the Church Cemetery with Military Graveside Rites by the Bowdle American Legion Post No. 264.

Funeral home visitation will be from 2:00-9:00 PM Friday with Wilbert’s family present from 6:00-8:00 PM.

Wilbert Agathon Blumhardt, son of Eva (Doerr) and Gerhard A. Blumhardt, was born March 7, 1925 10 miles northeast of Bowdle in the Cottonwood Lake Township. He attended rural school for his 1st and 8th grade years and St. John’s Parochial School for grade 2-7. He attended high school at the Northwestern Lutheran Academy in Mobridge, SD, graduating in 1943. He then farmed with his father and ran a trucking business. Wilbert served his country in the United States Army, being inducted October 26, 1950. He was stationed in Camp Polk with the 45th division. He served in Korea from December 1951 through August 1952. His primary duty while in Korea was as a heavy equipment engineer. The equipment was located at the front lines and they crept out at night and worked on the equipment in the darkness. During one of theses nightly escapades he was injured while taking fire as he was working on a piece of equipment. Although he could have reported the injury, he felt duty bound to continue in what he was doing, so he patched up his arm and stayed on the front line. He was released from active duty at Fort Carson, CO. on September 29, 1952 and honorably discharged on December 4, 1956. Wilbert married Hertha Kom on November 30, 1952 in the Zion Lutheran Church in Mobridge. They had two children, Glenn and Wynn. Wilbert farmed with his father until 1974. While farming, Wilbert also participated in many organizations that he felt were important. In 1953 he was a charter member of the Bowdle Rural Fire District and served on the board. He was also a charter member of the Edmunds County Conservation District, and was reelected to the board for 40 years. Wilbert was a charter member of the Redeemer Lutheran Church in 1962 and served as its president for 6 years. In 1962 he was appointed to the State Conservation Commission by Governor Archie Gubbarud. He served on that board until 1981 and was instrumental in drafting 4 major legislative actions concerning Surface Mine Reclamation. In 1981 he was appointed to the Board of Minerals by Governor William Janklow, and served until 2007. Wilbert started South Dakota No Till Inc. in 1984 and served on that board for 12 years. He was elected to the Dakota Lakes Research Farm Board of Directors in 1996 and served on the board for 9 years. He served on the Board of Directors for the Bowdle Equity Exchange from 1966-1972, and was elected to serve on the South Dakota Republican Central Committee for 15 years. From 1969-1979, Wilbert served as the South Dakota representative on the National Association of Conservation Districts Council. In 1975, Wilbert entered into a farming partnership with his son Glenn. In 1980 they incorporated no till farming into their operation. This led to many speeches and awards for their efforts, including an article in Time Magazine appropriately titled “It’s Ugly, but it Works”. Wilbert won many awards for his efforts to make South Dakota a better place. Included in those are: Eminent Farmer Award from South Dakota State University in 1985—Isaac Walton League Award for Conservation in 1973—Edmunds County representative for the Goodyear Award for outstanding Soil and Water District for 2 years---and in 1991 he represented the National Association of Wheatgrowers in Florida. After all this fun, Wilbert and Hertha decided to slow down and in 2004 they moved to their winter home in Bowdle where Wilbert lived the remainder of his life.

Wilbert is survived by Hertha, his wife of 58 years; his son Glenn (Catherine) Blumhardt of Bowdle; his daughter Wynn (Gary) Pippin of Billings, MT; 1 brother Paul (Jody) Blumhardt of Bismarck, ND; 1 sister Arlene Antolok of Bismarck; and 2 grandsons.

He was preceded in death by his father on December 24, 1988 and his mother on February 15, 1991.

Honorary bearers will be Norman Doerr of Sun Lakes, AZ, Dr. Dwayne Beck of Pierre, SD, Neal Zuzik of Lexington, KY, Jim Harris of Greensburg, PA, Justin Bieber of Bowdle, Dennis Hollan of Hosmer, SD, Dr. Fred Cholick of Manhattan, Kansas, Alan Biegler of Timber Lake, SD, and Justin Sudtelgte of Kilaeua, Kauai, Hawaii.

Casketbearers will be Bob Drake of Watertown, SD, Mark Rohrbach, Scott Weiszhaar, and Alex Kiesz of Bowdle, Brandon Rohrbach of Roscoe, SD, and John Sudtelgte of Billings.

Wilbert’s funeral arrangements are under the direction of Lien Funeral Home of Bowdle.