John Grassel, 93, of Mitchell, formerly of Artesian, died Thursday, May 17, 2018 at Avera Brady Health and Rehab in Mitchell.
Funeral Mass will be 10:30 AM Tuesday, May 22, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Mitchell. Burial will be in Mount Pleasant Cemetery at Artesian. Visitation will be from 5-7:00 PM Monday with a scripture service 7:00 pm at Bittner Funeral Chapel in Mitchell.
John Grassel was born May 22, 1924 in Sanborn County to Joseph and Mary (Maddock) Grassel. He grew up on his parent’s farm, attended country school in Afton Township and graduated from Artesian High School in 1942. On May 10, 1947 he married Arlene Doyle. They started their first Hereford cattle herd with the purchase of six heifers and a bull. He did veterinary work for Doc Leider in Howard to help pay the bills while he was building his herd. John was a respected cattleman and made many friendships along the way. He always gave credit to the family working together for his success. One of his many quips was “my favorite colors will always be red, white and green - a Hereford cow and calf in a green pasture.” John also loved his horses. An accomplished horseman, he moved and doctored cattle on horseback beyond his 80th birthday. He enjoyed giving rides with his horse and buggy and was often seen having fun driving his horses in local parades. John and Arlene suffered the tragic loss of their sons and infants, but were thankful to be able to celebrate the love and joys of their daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
He was a longtime member of St. Charles Catholic Church in Artesian, where he was the choir leader and soloist for many years. He became a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church when he and Arlene moved to Mitchell in 2010. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus, Hereford Association, Stock growers and the Moose Lodge.
Always his parting phrase – “we’ll see you down the path.”
He is survived by two daughters: Kathleen Grassel of Albuquerque, NM, Karen (Dan) Hilgenberg of Milbank, daughter-in-law, Wanda (Dave) Clarke of Howard, sister, Raeburn Moore of Mitchell, five grandchildren: Tanya (Kurt) Krietlow of Pierre, Shaun Grassel of Reliance, Shana (Mark) Harming of Elkton, Jeff (Kim) Hilgenberg of Sioux Falls, Alex (Jessie) Hilgenberg of Phoenix, AZ and 13 great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Arlene, sons, Mike and Bernard, eight infant children, brothers: Ted and Francis, sisters: Mary Jo Vetter, Ruth Hinker, Eleanor Unterbrunner and Monica VanOverschelde.