Robert Vail Brechtel

October 15, 2021Obituaries
Robert Vail Brechtel

Robert Vail Brechtel (April 25, 1925-October 13, 2021) 96 of Vale,  was the youngest of five children born to Hubert and Ina Brechtel. Marrying the girl he saw singing the National Anthem from a truck box with a piano at a Farmer’s Union picnic, Robert shared 74 1/2 miraculous years with the love of his life as they grew together in faith and perseverance.

In early 1925, afraid for the lives of his wife and unborn child, Grandpa Hubert Brechtel took his wife, Grandma Ina, to the Sturgis nursing home (delivery home). According to Dad, it was one of the hardest tasks his father had to do, but it was important.

Grandma Ina told the doctor, “Save my child. I don’t matter.” Those poignant words instilled a sense of responsibility to all children in the Robert Brechtel family.

Over the years, Robert devoted his life to family. During his childhood and throughout his parents’ lives, he respected their wishes, making sure his parents were cared for. Then, when a certain young lady with the voice of an angel chased him until he caught her, Robert added another layer of devotion: Genevieve Helen (McFarland) Brechtel and their nine children.

In Robert’s words, he was a jack of all trades and master of none. Among his talents he was a painter, welder, mechanic, builder, wood craftsman, well driller, realtor, farmer/rancher, trucker, logger, sawyer, custom combiner, heavy equipment operator, mechanic and electrician. Whatever it took to care for his family, he had the skill and ability to get it done.

Like his father, Robert put his family first. When their family doctor suggested moving to Hill City to ease his daughter Trisha’s asthma, he didn’t hesitate. Later when Trisha was better, he moved the family back to the Brechtel ranch 30 miles east of Sturgis. On this prairie, he and Gen taught their children to raise sheep, cattle, swine and tend the farm.

As their family grew up, graduated from high school, and began leaving home, Robert and Gen moved to Rapid City where their youngest three children could attend school without traveling the 30 miles to Sturgis. As time went on, Robert and Gen moved to Spearfish where they could retire.  Returning to the ranch and then back to Spearfish, they eventually ended up in Southern Arizona for six years before settling in Vale South Dakota where they could again be surrounded by the family and friends who care so deeply for them.

​​Nearing the end of his journey, Robert had one fervent wish for his obituary. He wanted each of his children and grandchildren to know they are gifts, blessings, from God, and that he loved them very much.

Thankful to have shared Robert’s life was first and foremost his wife, Genevieve. Also influenced and affected by his faith and love are his many  family members and friends, including his children Genevieve M. (Dean Sexton), Robert, Jr. (Leann), Trish (Ron Pyburn), Hugh (Carol), Vincent (Anne), James (Sherry), Mary (Rick Karns) Tere (John Froelich) and Annette (William Renn, Jr.); grandchildren Tim Sexton, Joseph Sexton, Andrew (Vanessa) Sexton, David (Sarah) Sexton, Christopher (Charia) Brechtel, Michael (Casey) Brechtel, Tammy (Christopher John) Croniser, Matthew Brechtel, Theresa Chianca (Dan Phillips), Kristeen Baird-Terzich, Philip (April) Baird, Catherine Spint (Ryan Brown), April (Sterling) Davis, Jennifer (Daniel) Miller, Susan (Steven) Doyle, Gary (Samantha) McCoy, Daniel (Cammi) Brechtel, Joshua (Elizabeth) Brechtel, Thomas (Sharon) Brechtel, Adam (Genevieve) Brechtel, Nicholas (Hannah) Brechtel, Stephanie Brechtel, Nicole (James) Rodriguez, Jennifer Washburn, Anthony (Justine) Brechtel, Ryan Salsman, Dominic (Jennifer) Dufner, James Brechtel, Jr., Lucas Brechtel, Kyle (Dana) Karns, Stephen Brechtel, Melissa (Chris) Harrington, Genneca (Eric) Houser, Amanda (Aaron) Froelich, Rosie (Luis) Bartolome, David (Maria) Renn, John Rego, Jr., Kyle Rego, Bryan Rego; 73 great-grandchildren, 12 great-great grandchildren and a plethora of nieces and nephews.

Passing away in his home, Robert was preceded in death by his wife, Genevieve, daughter, Patricia Pyburn; his parents; siblings; and three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Visitation will start at 6:00pm on Monday, October 18, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Sturgis followed by a Rosary service at 7:00pm. Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10:00am, Tuesday, October 19, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Sturgis with burial to follow at Rose Hill Cemetery in Spearfish. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Bella Pregnancy Resource Center at 119 E. Grant Street, Spearfish, SD 57783.

Arrangements are under the care of the Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapels and Isburg Crematory of Spearfish. Online condolences may be written at