Heaven has a new cowboy, Martin August Luedtke, 98, passed away on a beautiful Sunday morning, November 26, 2023, at the Ft. Meade, SD, VA, after a courageous battle with Alzheimer’s.
He was born on October 4, 1925, in Bemidji, MN, to August and Maude (Wright) Luedtke. He had a twin, Marvin, and an older brother, Daryl. An unforeseen family tragedy left the children in an orphanage and later taken in by Ida and Henry Moseman of Carter, SD.
Martin left home at an early age to venture out on his own. He enlisted in the U.S. Marines on November 21, 1944, at the age of 19 and proudly served his country in World War II in the Pacific theater in both China and Japan. In later years, he frequently talked about Iwo Jima and when asked where he was when they raised the American Flag, he would always say “at the bottom of the hill”. This is one story that never changed. He received a Purple Heart for his service and was honored to be a Veteran.
Something we learned later on was he was a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers. He operated some of the heavy equipment building dams all over the county, including Oahe Dam and Pactola.
After coming home safely from WWII, he married, Willie Mae Foreman in Delhart, TX, on March 1, 1948, and together they had one son, Bobby Daryl. That marriage ended in divorce and he found his way to South Dakota.
There he met his second wife and love of his life, Twylah (Johnson). They married on March 17, 1967, with her two small children as their witnesses. Sadly, her son, Steven, died from cancer before he was able to adopt both kids. On August 28, 1968, he proudly adopted Marcia. As a family, they spent many hours on the roads travelling to and from horse shows and rodeos all across the state. His summers were devoted to helping at these rodeos, even in his later years. He served many years on various horse show committees and volunteering his time at many, many events. He was known as “Old Timer” and ranchers near and far always knew he’d show up for fence fixin’ and branding days.
His relationship with his granddaughter, Ali, was very special to him. Living next door for a while, he would have her over almost every morning for breakfast, and he always let her know how to dress appropriately for whatever the weather was that day! She went with him to the pasture and he even let her drive sometimes.
Martin was an avid hunter and loved riding his horse in the hills scouting out good elk and deer hunting spots. He was also a lifetime member of the NRA and North American Hunting Club, member of the Black Hills Roping Club, Hermosa Roping Club, and was a 4-H leader for years. His love of all things cowboy and horses continued on with his daughter and now his granddaughter, Addison, who is becoming a skilled barrel racer!
He had a passion for gardening and the water bill always went up when his veggies were in the ground. He did the planting and harvesting, Twylah did the canning and freezing.
Most folks knew he had a bit of a sweet tooth. None more than his granddaughter, Ali, and great granddaughter, Vivian. He always brought an extra spoon or two for ice cream when they were in the house. Vivian still knows where his secret stash of sweets is!
His survivors include his wife, Twylah; daughter, Marcia; granddaughter, Alison (husband Josh, and children Addison, Treydon and Vivian); grandsons, Jason, and Brian; their sister, Kiersten; and countless friends in the cowboy and ranching community.
He was preceded in death by his parents, August and Maude, his foster parents, Ida and Henry, his twin brother, Marvin, his brother, Daryl, his son, Bobby, and stepson, Steven.
Committal services with military honors will be 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 30, 2023, at Black Hills National cemetery near Sturgis, SD.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.kinkadefunerals.com.