John Emil Wiedmeier, age 86, passed away April 28, 2021 in Billings, Montana.

Funeral service will be 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Yankton, South Dakota, with Reverend Levi Willms officiating. Burial will be in the Mission Hill Cemetery in Mission Hill, South Dakota, with military honors provided by the Ernest-Bowyer VFW Post No. 791.

Visitation is from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday at St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Local arrangements are under the direction of the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Yankton.

He was born in Turner County, South Dakota to Emil and Ella Wiedmeier. He grew up on the family farm near Menno. He confirmed his faith in Christ at the EUB church on June 12, 1949. At age 16, his father passed away; as a result, he left school and he and his family took over the farming operation. He was active in 4-H where he met his future wife Mary at a dance. At the age of 18, he joined the South Dakota National Guard and was called to active duty. He served as a military policeman with the 2nd Armored Division as part of the Army of Occupation in Germany after WWII. Upon being honorably discharged from the army, he returned to South Dakota, married Mary on November 18, 1956, and they began farming together on the home place.

After a couple of years of farming they decided “to take a chance” and try something different. While in the service John had been encouraged to earn his GED by one of his NCOs. As a result, he now had the opportunity to continue his education at South Dakota State College where he graduated with a degree in Agronomy, being the first in his family to receive a university degree. After graduation he joined Metropolitan Life in their Agricultural Investments division as a field agent (John and Mary joked “until something better came along”). His career took him and his family to Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Montana (again), Kansas, and finally Washington (again). There, he transitioned to managing large commercial orchards for Metropolitan. During his career he had the opportunity to meet and work with many great farmers and ranchers, some of whom would become lifelong friends. He retired as Assistant Vice-President of Agricultural Investments and a Corporate Officer after 33 years with Met Life.

Upon retirement they returned to Montana, living first in Colombia Falls, and then in Billings, to enjoy a life-long passion for the outdoors. His hunting and fishing adventures took him throughout the US and Canada. He and Mary enjoyed traveling to visit children and grandchildren around the country. They also embarked on adventures that took to Hong Kong, Europe, Hawaii, Canada, and Alaska. His Christian faith was an important part of John’s life, and while able, he was actively engaged at Trinity Lutheran in Billings. John enjoyed a number of other activities throughout his life including a stint as a Scout Master, various house renovations, a car restoration with his children, and watching football.

John is survived by his wife of sixty-four years, Mary; two children, Douglas Wiedmeier (Susan) and Renee Wong (Nicholas); daughter-in-law, Mary K.; and his grandchildren: Spencer Wong, Ella Wong, Daniel Wiedmeier (Kelsey), Christopher Wiedmeier, Lauren Wiedmeier, Victoria Wiedmeier, John Wiedmeier, Danielle Wiedmeier and Matthew Wiedmeier; two great-grandchildren and his sister, Carol Peterson.

He was preceded in death by his son, Bryan and his brothers, Loran and Delmer.

To send an online message to the family, please visit www.wintzrayfuneralhome.com.

Yankton Press & Dakotan

May 1, 2021