Lowell James Werdal, 85, Baxter
October 21, 1928 – October 12, 2014
Lowell was the 9th (or 10th - the order is up for discussion with his twin sister Lois) of 11 children born to Anton and Martha Bendicca Thompson Werdal in Sisseton, South Dakota.
Lowell was an enterprising young man and always found ways to help his family with finances, whether selling chokecherries for 10 cents a quart, candling eggs, or paying another to candle eggs for part of his pay while he took tickets at the movie theater. During high school he worked nights as a printer’s devil at the Sisseton Courier, climbing off the press in time to race to school the next morning.
Lowell enlisted in the South Dakota National Guard at Sisseton in Dec. 1946. He was stationed in Alaska during the Korean War, and proposed to his future wife, Lola Raymond, while home on leave in 1951. They were married at Goodwill Lutheran Church in Sisseton in August 1952.
In 1953 the couple welcomed their first daughter, Cheri Lynn, who died at four months of age. A year later, their first son, Curtis Lowell, was born on May 30, 1954. The family then moved to Pierre, SD where daughter Shari Dawn joined the family on May 28, 1955.
Lowell was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer II in 1956 and transferred their little family to Webster, SD. The couple spent 18 years there perfecting golf games, bridge hands, bowling and forming many lasting friendships. Here they completed their family with Todd Alan, born December 1, 1961 and Lisa Anne on May 22, 1968.
Lowell was an active part of the Webster community, and was a member of the Jaycees, St. John’s Lutheran Church, a charter member of the Lions Club and many other civic and service organizations. He also enjoyed bird hunting in eastern SD - pheasant, duck, and goose.
In 1972, Lowell joined the rescue efforts during the Rapid City flood and in 1974 Lt. Colonel Werdal made the family’s final move to the Black Hills, where he retired as Colonel in 1985.
Lowell and Lola loved living in the Black Hills and spent many weekends exploring the Hills hiking and picnicking, cutting wood for winter warmth, exploring old mines and rock hunting. Any untraveled gravel road was cause for exploration. Other hobbies he enjoyed included woodworking, coin collecting, golfing, home improvement projects, reading, and writing short stories and poetry.
Lowell was a self-described “second monotone”, but enjoyed music and was therefore subjected to countless piano, vocal and instrumental recitals by his wife, children and grandchildren. He was a master whistler and loved singing his own version of beloved hymns with a “joyful noise.”
As a first generation Norwegian-American (his father having emigrated from Inderøy, Norway in 1893) he was proud of his Norwegian heritage, which was supported by both parent’s side of the family, as well as by Lola’s family. The couple embraced all that is Norwegian, from lutefisk to authentic handcrafted items. In the 1980s Lowell began handcrafting bentwood tine and laup boxes and made nearly 400 of them. Many family members and close friends have received these gifts of love over the years, including each of his children and grandchildren. He also perfected the art of chip carving, which he incorporated into his bentwood boxes.
Lowell was preceded in death by Lola, his wife of nearly 50 years, daughter Cheri Lynn, and nine siblings: Mabel Benidt, Alice Saloom, Lora Murray, Arnold Werdal, Hazel Larrabee, Walter Werdal, Millie Birkeland, Muriel Tysver and Neil Werdal.
He is survived by his twin sister, Lois Jean, Rapid City, SD; four children, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandson.
Children: Curt, Eden Prairie, MN; Shari (Robert Nelson) of Baxter, MN; Todd (Lisa Pacheco), Robbinsville, NJ; and Lisa, Rapid City, SD.
Grandchildren: Chad Nelson, St. Paul, MN; Eric Nelson, active duty Air Force in Germany and James Nelson, active duty Air Force in Henderson, NV; Emily, Shawn and Jamie Werdal, Robbinsville, NJ; Madison Oslund, (Kyle Linster) and son Kaiden, Surprise, AZ; Dominic Usera, Clinton, IA and Parker Usera, Rapid City, SD.
Services will be held at Lord of Life Lutheran Church of Baxter at 11:00 am, Thursday October 16th with interment at the Sisseton Cemetery at 2:00 pm, Friday, October 17th. A memorial service will be held Monday, October 20th at 11:00 am at Calvary Lutheran Church of Rapid City.Visitation Wednesday, October 15, 2014 from 5:00-7:00 PM at Brenny Funeral Chapel in Baxter. Arrangements have been entrusted to Brenny Funeral Chapel in Baxter, MN.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials in Lowell’s name to one of the following:
RCRH Foundation, Cardiac Services Fund, PO Box 6000, Rapid City, SD 57709-6000
Chapel in the Hills, Museum Fund, 3788 Chapel Lane, Rapid City, SD 57702.