John Ackerman, 93, of Mitchell, SD, died Sunday, April 22, 2018 at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 AM Thursday, April 26 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Mitchell. Burial will be at Servicemen’s Memorial Cemetery. Visitation will be 6-8:00 PM Wednesday with a 7:30 PM Scripture Service at Bittner Funeral Chapel in Mitchell.
John Henry Ackerman was born June 7, 1924, in rural Iona, MN, to George and Mary (Ebbers) Ackerman. His father died when he was six years old. Mary’s brother, Bill Ebbers, moved in with the family to assist with the farm. In 1935 the family moved into Iona. John attended country school at St. Columba School in Iona, and then worked as a truck driver until he enlisted in the Navy in December 1942. John served in the Pacific Theater on the USS Mitchell (DE-43). This ship earned the Asiatic Pacific Ribbon with eight stars; the Marianas, Western Carolinas, Iwo Jima, Okinawas, Luzon, Operations, Ballikpapan NEI, and strikes against Japan. Following his honorable discharge in December 1945, he worked in the electrical trade, which he learned in the Navy. He joined the IBEW Local Union 426 in 1948, and has been a member for 70 years.
John married Constance “Connie” Genevieve Traupel on May 28, 1949 at Holy Family Church in Mitchell, SD and made their home in Pickstown, SD. John worked for various contractors during the construction of Fort Randall Dam until its completion in 1956. He then worked for the Corps of Engineers, retiring as the power plant superintendent in August 1984. Prior to moving to Mitchell in 1996, John enjoyed working at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Lake Andes. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, American Legion Post 282, VFW 3239, and NARFE. He was a charter member of VFW Post 9680 in Iona, MN. He has always taken special enjoyment from his family, their families, friends, helping everyone with their projects, and his life’s work as an electrician. He loved gardening, caring for the yard, and being a grandpa "taxi driver". He loved traveling to his Navy reunions all over the United States and to Arizona for the past 40 years. His strong faith in God was an integral part of how he lived his life. He will be missed by all.
He is survived by his wife, Connie, Mitchell; three daughters, Maryl Hatwan, Mitchell, Barbara (Thomas) Vasquez, Scottsdale, AZ, and Ladonna Kniffen, Yankton; 16 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; one sister, Marcella Fury, Fulda, MN; daughters-in-law Betty Sue Ackerman, Hope Mills, NC and Judy Ackerman, Fairmont, MN; and brother-in-law James Traupel, Mitchell.
He was preceded in death by his sons Michael and James Ackerman; great-granddaughter Rayne Hatwan; brother Joseph Ackerman; sisters Evelyn Lucker, Rosella Lucker, and Agnes Bruns; and son-in-law Bruce Kniffen.