Gaylord L. Bleeker, age 82, of Watertown, SD, passed away on Sunday, May 31, 2020, at the local hospital. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 4, 2020, at Gracepoint Wesleyan Church in Watertown. Pastor Steve Biswell will officiate and will also be the soloist. The organist will be Sue Heavey and Lucas Severson as guitarist. The family is requested to be at the church on Thursday by 10:00 a.m. for a prayer service. The service will be Live-Streamed.
Visitation will be at the Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel in Watertown on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and prior to services at the church on Thursday.
Burial will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Pallbearers will be: Keith Bailey, Joey Chapa, Josh Jenkins, Lucas Severson, Jack Luciani and Carson Bleeker.
Gaylord was born on September 30, 1937, in Estelline, SD, to John and Jenny (Ruesink) Bleeker. He grew up on a farm near Castlewood and Clear Lake, SD.
On January 10, 1956, Gaylord married Shirley Sleiter in Bemis, SD. Gaylord spent the majority of his life doing electrical work and farming. At one point in his life he was milking 800 cows and raising 250-300 heifers. He also bought a dairy in Texas where for 11 years he milked around 220 cows. When Shirley’s parents’ health began failing, the couple moved back to South Dakota, where Gaylord helped with maintenance at Hoftiezer Real Estate and later drove cars for Watertown Ford and Sharp Chevrolet.
Gaylord enjoyed going to coffee with his friends. In his earlier years he enjoyed playing softball and occasionally golf. He became somewhat familiar with a computer so that he could follow his grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s activities on Facebook. Church and bible study were very important to him and he enjoyed attending Country and Gospel music concerts.
Gaylord is survived by his wife, Shirley of Watertown, SD; his children: Mark (Julie) Bleeker, Bryan Bleeker and Jason (Amy) Bleeker, all of Watertown, SD, and Paula (Joey) Chapa of N. Charleston, SC; 8 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren; his brother, Merle (Charlo) Bleeker of Clear Lake, SD; and his sisters, Ann Hemmelman of NE and Marlys West of Minneapolis, MN.
Gaylord was preceded in death by his parents, John and Jenny Bleeker; his daughter, Karleen Bailey, his in-laws, Ben and Helen Sleiter; his brothers, Harold and Leonard Bleeker; his sisters, Agnes Greenfield and Arleen Wollmath; and his brother-in-law, Harvey Hemmelmen.
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