Gerald Dean Niederwerder, a wild, determined, story-telling cowboy, passed away at the age of 75 on September 24, 2023 in his favorite place: home.
Gerald was the first of nine children, born to Ernest “Ernie” and Nona (Harris) Niederwerder on the first of September 1948. He grew up on the family farm/ranch near Hereford. His early years were spent stealing the baby bottle from his little brother Greg and later pulling his wagon around the place, no doubt imagining it was a diesel truck with two shifting levers – which, until his last day, was the way he believed trucks “should oughta be built.”
He attended the Doyle School for eight years and was part of the last graduating class before the “new” Hereford School was built in 1962. He attended Sturgis High School during his freshman year, then transferred to New Underwood High School, where he met his Dolly, Michaela Libertin. After their marriage on May 26, 1968, the new pair settled in on his Grandpa Olin’s and Grandma Cordie’s ranch at Haydraw, the only home they ever knew.
They spent 55 years there together, ranching and trucking. For if ranching was Gerald’s profession, trucking was his passion. He hauled cattle, hay, and grain for neighbors for decades, but his happiest time was hauling bulls for Lee Crowser to rodeos across western South Dakota. Gerald and Michaela eventually bought some bucking bulls of their own, too. They welcomed their only child, Marty, into the operation on December 20, 1972.
2003 was the beginning of the many health issues Gerald would experience and never really recover from. Marty, Heather, and the girls moved back out to help on the ranch. During this time, his youngest granddaughter, Jaclyn, stayed home with Gerald, and he got to take her to pretty school (pre-school). This was something that Gerald always remembered fondly. It was a good life; the only things Gerald hated were droughts, automatic transmissions, politicians, and most doctors. But he loved riding in the Days of ’76 parade and talking on the phone with his good friends and his siblings about the good old days. In the last few years, he had taken to reading his Bible. His family is comforted knowing he can enjoy Heaven with a full breath of air and no “danged oxygen tank.”
Gerald is survived by his wife, Michaela; his son, Marty and wife Heather (Hall); granddaughters, Paige Meinen (Lane), Lexxy Phillips (Dylan), and Jaclyn; great-grandchildren, Dustin, Gabriella, and Beau Meinen, and Dax and Aurora Phillips. Also, brothers, Greg (Eileen), Roger (Marilu), Galen (Donna); sisters, Nancy Simons (Grant), Melody Boydston (Ross), and Kim McMillan (Paul). Gerald was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Rodney and Ricky; and niece, Katie Niederwerder (Seth).
Visitation will be Friday, September 29, 2023, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., at Kinkade Funeral Chapel, Sturgis, SD. Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, September 30, 10:00 a.m., at the Central Meade County Community Center, Union Center, SD. Burial will follow at the Boneita Springs Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers memorials have been established to the Hereford Fire Department, Rural Meade County Ambulance, Enning Fire Department, and the Central Meade County Community Center.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.kinkadefunerals.com.