Wilbur Gehrels, age 96, of Madison, passed away May 19, 2020, at the Royal C. Johnson Veterans Memorial Hospital in Sioux Falls. Funeral services will be 10:00 AM, Friday, May 22, 2020, at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Wentworth. Burial will follow at the Rose Hill Cemetery at Wentworth. Visitation will be 5-7 PM, Thursday, at the Ellsworth Funeral Home. To protect the health of others, the family kindly respects condolences from a distance if anyone feels they shouldn’t attend.
Wilbur Eugene Gehrels was born November 5, 1923, the youngest of 4 children to John and Emilie (Rentz) Gehrels. He grew up on the family farm near Wentworth and graduated from Eastern High School in Madison in 1941. Wilbur entered the US Army in 1945, serving in Europe until his discharge in 1947. He returned to the family farm and married Ella Clausen January 10, 1959. Together they lived and worked on the farm until retiring in 1989.
Wilbur’s passion for farming didn’t end there, as he continued to work during planting and harvesting seasons for another 26 years. He also had a lifelong enjoyment of sports, competing in football and basketball in High School and later playing competitive fastpitch softball, and faithfully followed the Minnesota Twins and Vikings.
Wilbur served on the Rutland School Board, F&M Coop Board, and was a 70 year member of the Wentworth American Legion Post. He also served in many leadership roles at St Peter Lutheran Church in Wentworth, where he was a lifelong member.
Wilbur is survived by 2 sons, Jerry (Julie) and Dean (Leigh Ann) Gehrels, Grandchildren Kelli, Jill, Kasey, Jon. Mitch, Aubree, Elle and Addison, and Great Grandchildren Meredith, Gabby, Micah, Grace, Natalie, Tracer, Brennex (Little Joe), Kadyn, Kolter, Kash and MJ, and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife Ella, brothers John and Alvin and sister Ella, and his parents.