A celebration of life for John Salzsiedler will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, at United Congregational Church in Mobridge with Pastor Keith Kraft officiating.
John Christian Salzsiedler was born to Walter and Lillian (Solomonson) Salzsiedler on June 16, 1942, in the Mobridge Hospital. He joined two sisters, Jean and JoAnn, at their family home in Herreid. When he was a child, his father, who was the Campbell County Sheriff, died in the line of duty. Soon after his father’s death the family moved to Redfield where John graduated from high school. He attended Huron College in Huron and there met Lavonne (Vonnie) Williams, who in 1965 became his wife at the First Presbyterian Church of Sisseton. After graduation, he taught and coached (football and track) in Kadoka (1964), in Selby (1965 through 1967), and in Mobridge (1967 through 1979).
In 1968 his first son, John William was born and two years later James (Jim) joined the family.
John completed his Master’s Degree at Northern State College in 1970 and spent many nights traveling South Dakota to referee basketball and football games while he was teaching and coaching. He left teaching in 1979 to go into business and for seven years was the Director of the Oahe Special Education Cooperative.
For many summers, he was a crop adjuster and this led to his association with Dick Travis, whose business he later purchased. He operated his own agency until he retired in 2009.
He was a sports enthusiast his entire life. He loved to compete, he loved to help others be successful in their sport and he loved watching contests on TV and in person. In 2007, John and Vonnie bought a home in Minneapolis where they lived part-time and he was able to spend many hours at Target Field watching the Twins and at Target Center watching the Timberwolves and the Lynx.
John’s five grandchildren were one of his greatest joys. He tried to get to as many of their extracurricular events and sporting activities as possible. He was always so proud to tell anyone that those were his grandkids. Their visits would brighten his days.
Some of John’s proudest moments were when he received the South Dakota High School Activities Association Distinguished Service Award; when he refereed in numerous state basketball tournaments; when his teams did well; when his sons excelled in their activities; being married to his wife for 52 years and when his father’s name was added to the National Law Officers Memorial in Washington, DC.
In the last few years, John and his wife were able to spend time in their home in Mobridge and in their condominium in Minneapolis as well as traveling in the U.S., Europe and the Caribbean but as his health started to decline it became necessary to move permanently to their Minneapolis home.
John died peacefully in his home on Thursday, Nov. 23 at the age of 75.
John is survived by his wife, Lavonne (Williams); son, John William (Sheila), their children Grace and Grant, of Apple Valley, Minn.; son, James Andrew (Jeana), their children, Jake, Jordyn and Julia,of Mayer, Minn.; sister, Jean (Leo) Weber of Aberdeen; sister, JoAnn (Don) Fields of Baxter, Minn.; mother-in-law, Shirley Williams of Fergus Falls, Minn.; brother-in-law, Ron Williams of Fergus Falls; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Walter, in 1949; mother, Lillian, in 1985; and father-in-law, Clarence Williams.
John will truly be missed by his extended family and his countless friends. He was devoted to his wife, family and friends. His infectious spirit and kindness will never be forgotten by those who knew and loved him.
Memorials can be given to the Mobridge Ministerial Association Food Pantry, The Groveland Food Shelf in Minneapolis, the Mobridge United Congregational Church where John was an active member for 50 years, or the donor’s choice.