Watertown, SD (formerly Dell Rapids)
September 12, 2020
Arlo Gilbertson passed away on September 12, 2020, at Edgewood Memory Care, Watertown, SD, from complications due to Covid-19. Private family graveside services will be held on Monday, September 28, 2020 at Riverview Cemetery. A memorial service for the public will be at a later date. www.kahlerfh.com
Arlo Gust Gilbertson was born with his identical twin Arvin Elmer to Gilbert and Myrtle Mae (nee Schmidt) Gilbertson on January 20, 1925, near Chandler, MN. The twins were the third and fourth children among eight surviving siblings. Arlo attended both town and country school as a child and graduated eighth grade at District 94 Country School in Moulton Township in 1940. He was confirmed that same year at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Chandler, Minnesota.
Arlo began farming Lost Timber with horses for his Grandfather Bill Schmidt at age 15. He and his brother Arvin farmed together near Chandler until Arlo wedded Janice (nee Cronk) Gilbertson on October 29, 1960. They moved to Arlo’s parents’ farm west of Chandler where their son David was born. In 1964 the family moved to rural Dell Rapids, South Dakota, and farmed Janice’s grandparents’ land near Trent. There Arlo crop farmed, milked cows, fattened steers, and raised sheep while pasturing livestock every summer back at the Chandler place. Arlo continued growing crops with the help of his son David until 2008 but continued to raise livestock for several more years. When Arlo moved to Orchard Hills Assisted Living in Dell Rapids, SD, in April 2018, only a flock of sheep remained. In October 2019 Arlo moved to Edgewood Memory Care in Watertown, SD, to be closer to his daughter Heidi as his Alzheimer’s disease progressed. He continued to express concern for his sheep flock into his final days.
Farming for Arlo was the work and hobby of a lifetime. He was famous for 15-minute naps on the floor after dinner at noon and “a little lunch” with coffee at 10 AM and 4 PM. He was a connoisseur of baling hay with his Allis Chalmers round baler, preserving the alfalfa leaves with dew by baling in the middle of the night.
Family and friends were Arlo’s joy. For a time, he played guitar in weddings alongside his cousin Delphia and her husband Corny Vandenburg. He especially enjoyed the five years his brother Gordy lived in Chandler during the summer. Arlo was a valued and faithful member of Sioux Valley Baptist Church of rural Dell Rapids and served both as an usher and a trustee. He often spent Sunday afternoons visiting family in Minnesota and listening to Polka music on the radio. Among those blessed to have known him, he will remembered for his high spirits, bright smile, and infectious laugh—qualities he retained in full to the very end of his long life.
Arlo was the last survivor of his siblings. He was preceded in death by his brother Dale and his wife Verna, his brother Mike (Vernon) and his wife Clara, his brother Waldo (Fat) and his wife Char, his brother Gordon, his twin brother Arvin and his wife Mary Ellen, his sister Betty and her husband John Van Lant, his brother Darwin (Gil) who also died of Covid in 2020, his sister-in-law Karen (Cronk) Adams, two infant brothers, and his parents. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Janice, of Dell Rapids, SD, his son David Gilbertson of Dell Rapids, SD, his daughter Heidi (Mark) Sorensen of Watertown, SD, his daughter Faith Gilbertson of Toledo, Ohio, his grandsons Jim and Trevor Sorensen, sisters-in-law Arliss and Naomi Gilbertson, brother-in-law Robert Adams, and many nieces and nephews.
Due to (COVID-19) pandemic, cards can be mailed to Janice Gilbertson, 24176 477th Ave, Dell Rapids, SD 57022.