Paul Roesler, 90, passed away on June 26, 2022 at the Madison Regional Health System. Funeral services will begin on Wednesday, June 29 at 10 am at Center Free Lutheran Church, 44313 245th St, Salem, SD. Burial will be held at 12:30 pm at the Spencer Cemetery. Visitation with family present will be held on Tuesday from 5 – 7 pm with a 7 pm prayer service at Kinzley Funeral Home, Madison.
Paul Augustus Frederick Roesler was born on June 2, 1932, Kimball, SD, the youngest of 9 children born to John & Alice (Schoop) Roesler (emigrated from Odessa Russia, 1906). He was baptized in Kimball, SD and his godfather was Gottlieb Roesler.
Paul is survived by his second wife, Donna, stepsister, Agatha Gagnon, his son Daniel, and daughter Cheri, and many nieces and nephews. Paul was preceded in death by his first wife Beverly, parents, John & Alice (Schoop) Roesler, stepmother, Lydia (Kunkel) Roesler, sister, Ramona Kobernusz, and seven brothers, Stanley, Eldridge, Rialto, Raphael, Paul John, Eugene, Immanuel and step-brother Lloyd Dean.
Spring of 1937, the Roesler family moved from Kimball, SD to a farm known as the Prairie Place (Pete Carey’s farm) in rural Spencer, SD. They lived there one year and then they moved to the current farmstead. It was known as the Robertson place at that time.
Paul went to a country school in Pearl Township, rural Spencer, SD until 8th grade. Then he went to high school in Spencer, SD graduating in 1950.
Paul was confirmed in 1946 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Canova, SD (8th grade) by Pastor Amalung.
After high school graduation in 1950, Paul went to Brookings (SDSU) for a quarter semester. Later on, maybe the following year, went to Mitchell, Dakota Wesleyan for a short time.
Regarding military service, Paul didn’t go into the military until 1954 because his dad (John) got him deferred (more than once) so he could continue to help with the farming at the time. Finally, Paul told the draft people to please put him on the list for next time as he really wanted to get off the farm, and he was finally drafted in 1954 as the Korean war was concluding. They continued the draft at that time due to the anticipated hostile relations with Russia and they wanted to have a presence in Alaska just in case. At that time, Alaska wasn’t a state, so the Army referred to it as foreign soil and is why he has access to the VFW. In 1954, Paul took a bus from Sioux Falls, SD to Omaha, NE, and then a train to Ft. Bliss, TX to start his basic training. Then was flown to Ft. Belvor, Virginia, and finally to Ft. Leonardwood, Missouri in January-February. According to Paul, he said this last place was ‘mean’ because they had to sleep in little pup tents outside and the temps got to 20-30 degrees overnight, so he remembers running up and down the road to try to keep warm. Then he went to Ft. Richardson in Alaska and bivouac at Fort Greeley. They drove up along the coast and that’s mostly when he first saw the ocean and icebergs. He said the mountains and scenery were incredible. Paul got there around March, just in time for skiing. He said he quite often drove for the Colonel over there because they knew he was from SD and he would know how to drive. Paul said when they would go on maneuvers, some of the roads were really narrow and dangerous, so he was tasked with keeping the Colonel safe and that it was an honor to be able to do this. The Colonel told him that this was a pretty good assignment in good times, but if they were at war, it wouldn’t be so good as they would be prime targets for snipers. On one road trip, a bad blizzard stopped them, when they finally started moving again and could see the road; there was a huge herd of buffalo in front of them on the road, so dad had good instincts to pull over. He was discharged the following April 1956.
After the army, Dad found work on the Oahe Dam near Pierre where they had him doing dangerous work to clear debris in the tunnels and then some road construction work off and on including work on Highway 38 and 16. He said that there was a bad drought at that time, so he had the time to do this.
Paul married Beverly Jean Arens, from Mt. Vernon, SD, on September 13, 1958 in Mitchell, SD. They had two children, Daniel born in 1960, and Cheri, born in 1962. Beverly died in 1992 due to complications from cancer. Paul remarried Donna Erstad on June 18, 1995 and they most recently celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary. Paul & Donna walked and danced many miles during their marriage.
Paul has been a farmer (livestock and crops) until retirement in 1995 renting out his crop and pasture.
Paul was very active with his church, served on the board at St. Matthews in Spencer for many years until a tornado destroyed the church and much of the town in 1998. He most recently enjoyed fellowship with friends at First Shephard Church in Madison, and also attending church at St. John Lutheran Church in Madison, with his wife Donna. He also participated in the Lions Club for many years. He served on the Spencer School Board and actively pushed for higher educational standards for the district and for his kids whom he ended up sending to another district for high school to ensure their good education. Both kids went on to college and have their Master’s degrees. During their high school years, Paul worked during the day as a farmer and worked at night at another job in Mitchell in order to keep a cash flow for the farm.
Paul and the family started hosting out of state pheasant hunters in 1968, but didn’t create an official preserve until 1989. They continued to do this until his retirement. Many hunters came back year after year and always had a good hunt, good food, a Grain Belt or two, and especially good fellowship.
Paul has had many hobbies such as hunting, fishing, golfing, horse shoeing, reading, or playing pinochle with friends or family. In 2009 he was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation for 20 years of service with the Man-to Man (M-2) inmate program to bring God’s word into the prison system. He was also an active volunteer with Compassionate Care Hospice in the surrounding community, receiving numerous recognitions for the number of volunteer hours in area nursing homes he provided. He’s been active with men’s bible studies and an eager participant in religious topics of discussion and has an appropriate bible verse for most every occasion.
But perhaps his favorite hobby is bowling. His brother Ray was an avid 200 bowler and got him started many years ago at the Mitchell Village Bowling Alley. Paul once got 8 strikes in a row. He was actively playing on two leagues until this last season ended in 2022. He’s a fantastic cook and appreciates a good steak on the outside wood grill. His homemade pancakes are divine, and people always enjoy a good visit around the kitchen table with him after a big breakfast or a bbq out at the farm.
When asked about his health and his cancer diagnosis in 2019, he said it just brings him one step closer to God, so who could be sad about that. Dad spent his final days in the Madison Regional Health System where he received the most excellent of care. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to: The Gideons International, Gideon, PO Box 116, Madison, SD 57042.