Eldon Gene Redlin, age 92, of Watertown, SD, passed away on Friday, May 6, 2022, in his home, with his family at his side. Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Watertown. Pastor Paul Janke will officiate. Music will be provided by David Hefti as soloist and Suzy Steinmetz as organist. The service will be live-streamed by the St. Martin's Church website and the Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel FaceBook page. The family is requested to meet at the church on Wednesday by 10:30 a.m. for a prayer service
Visitation will be held at the church on Wednesday one hour prior to the service from 10 to 11 a.m.
Burial will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Watertown. Honorary pallbearers will be all of Eldon’s granddaughters, great- grandchildren and great-great-grandchild. Active pallbearers will be Eldon’s grandsons: Jason Mohror, Christopher Walsh, Dan Endres, Mark Fox, Sam Unnasch and Paul Unnasch.
Memorials may be directed to: St. Martin’s Lutheran School, 1200 2nd St. NE, Watertown, SD 57201.
Eldon was born on October 18, 1929, at home on their farm near Crocker, SD, to Levi Eli and Mabel Ella (Stein) Redlin. He was one of six children. Eldon was baptized and confirmed into the Lutheran faith of the Wisconsin Lutheran Synod. He attended school in Watertown and Kampeska Village and went on to the SDSU School of Agriculture in Brookings, SD, to complete his last two years of high school. Along with receiving his high school diploma, in 1948, Eldon gained practical experience in farm and ranch management. He continued to work on the farm during and after his schooling. During his high school years, Eldon learned how to play the accordion and eventually formed a six piece band, ‘Redlin’s Rythmaires’. Band members included his brother, Dale, two cousins and two friends. They played for dances at various venues around the area, including the Casino Ballroom.
On October 4, 1950, Eldon married Elizabeth ‘Bette’ Flanagan at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Watertown, SD. They were very blessed to have shared 71 years of marriage. To this union, four children were born. Yes, all girls. Eldon’s passion was to continue farming, but during those years it was tough and he had to try several other occupations, occasionally drifting back to farming. Eventually, Eldon and Bette took over the Henry grocery store, on a handshake, from the previous owner. They named the store, ‘Redlin’s Superette’.
In 1959, Eldon was hired to work for Building Products, Inc., a wholesale building materials distributor in Watertown. This decision led him to a career that would last 33 years. He held several positions including salesman, purchasing, management and part owner. Eldon retired from B.P.I. in 1992 at the age of 63. He returned to the work force almost immediately, taking a part-time position at Dynamic Engineering for six years and retired for the second time. He then delivered cars for Watertown Ford Chrysler, on an as-needed basis. In 2008, because of Eldon’s extensive knowledge in building supplies, he was approached to work in sales at Steinmetz Redi-Built Homes. He enjoyed this position for about nine years, retiring for the third and final time at the age of 88.
Eldon was a lifetime member of St. Martin’s Lutheran Church where he served as secretary, treasurer, secretary of the St. Martin’s Planning Committee and co-chairman of the Building Committee for designing the present church building. He also sang in the choir and was a member of the St. Martin’s Men’s Club.
He enjoyed dancing, traveling, camping and spending time with his family. He also enjoyed woodworking. Among his many creations, the most popular item was certainly his fireplace style lamps (over 500) which he sold to the Redlin Art Center gift store and also gifted to family members.
Eldon is survived by his wife, Bette; his four daughters: Wendy Lee (Michael L. ‘Mike’) Walsh, Pamela Kay (William ‘Bill’) Endres, Sandra Jo (Robert ‘Bob’) Fox, all of Watertown, SD, and Tracy Diane (Rev. Peter) Unnasch, Milwaukee, WI; 11 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandson; one brother, Rev. L. Dale (B. Hope) Redlin, Mankato, MN; several nieces and nephews; two step-grandchildren; and three step-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Royal and Charles Redlin; and two sisters, Leone Reeve and Viola Krause.
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