Erwin Paul Wegehaupt was born on December 29, 1916 to Adolf and Bertha (Schnell) Wegehaupt in Douglas County, South Dakota. He was baptized into the Lutheran church on January 7, 1917 at Emmanuel Lutheran in rural Dimock, South Dakota.
Erwin attended school in Washington District 27 (Douglas County) through the eighth grade and was a regular encyclopedia of history – especially about South Dakota and his family. A born storyteller, Erwin could tell anything anyone would ever want to know about the Wegehaupts. Friends could prepare for a good conversation when visiting.
In the 1930s, Erwin joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, working in South Dakota. Drafted into the United States Army on October 9, 1941, Erwin served with Battery C of the 656th Field Artillery during World War II. As a mechanic, he was located in the United States and Europe, where he also served as a Chaplain’s Assistant, until his honorable discharge on December 6, 1945.
Erwin and Maxine Hanneman were married June 27, 1948 at Zion Lutheran Church in Mitchell, South Dakota. The almost 63 year marriage welcomed sons John David and Jerry Paul.
Until his retirement in 1986, Erwin was a mechanic in Mitchell, especially enjoying his time at Rozum’s Motor Company. Whether fixing anything broken —or improving the not-so-broken — he enjoyed tinkering around in his backyard shed. Mostly though, he loved being outdoors, caring for his yard and feeding the neighborhood animals (maybe to the annoyance of neighbors). Music was also a vital part of Erwin’s life, whether listening to hymns on the organ, participating in church choir and the Mitchell Barbershop Chorus, or humming old German tunes.
He will be deeply missed by his wife Maxine (Mitchell), son John (Sioux Falls) and son Jerry (Joyce; Paullina, IA), and granddaughter Kate (Minneapolis, MN), as well as sister Linda Herrig, brother Adolph (Dolores) Wegehaupt, brother in law Lawrence Helling and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by brothers, Karl, Walter, Albert and Martin and sisters, Klara Wegehaupt and Hilda Helling.