Peter John ‘P.J.’ Werdel 1922-2013

Posted May 1, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Peter John ‘P.J.’ Werdel 1922-2013

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Peter John “P.J.” Werdel, 90, of Ree Heights, SD died Thursday, April 25, 2013 as a result of an automobile accident.

Funeral Mass was held Monday, April 29 at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Stephan. Burial will be at Cedar Cemetery in rural Ree Heights. Friends and family may sign Peter’s online register at

P.J. was born on November 29, 1922, to John Peter and Elizabeth (Kusser) Werdel on the family farm. He was the oldest of seven children. P.J. lived his entire life on the family farm. His early education was at rural Curtis School. He later attended Brookings School of Agriculture. P.J. and Patricia Jean Robbins were married June 27, 1946 in Pierre, S.D. They lived their life of 63 years together on the Werdel ranch. To this union 12 children were born, 50 grandchildren and 82 great-grandchildren.

P.J. spent a very active life farming, ranching and cattle buying. He spent many, many hours playing cards with his family and friends and was an avid hunter. Pete was a man of great courage, determination and strength.  He loved his family with all his heart and he struggled to keep them fed, safe and in God’s grace.  He was very active in his church and community.  If you needed help, Pete was there. P.J. also served on numerous boards within the community.

Survivors include 12 children and their spouses, Laura (Jerry) Heinz of St. Paul, Minn., John (Lex) Werdel of Ree Heights, Ray (Lynn) Werdel of Ree Heights, Lee (Jeanne) Werdel of Clark, Mary Werdel of Malta, Mont., Bill (Peggy) Werdel of Hurley, Kay (Randy) Shepherd of Conrad, Mont., Ed (Patti) Werdel of Ree Heights, Carol (Mark) Steichen of Alpena, Gail (Todd) Christensen of Vermillion, Jean (Tom) Hamiel of St. Lawrence, and Judy Haley of Sioux Falls; 50 grandchildren and 82 great-grandchildren; four sisters, Sister Marie Helene Werdel, Theresa R. Summerton, Annabell Clausen and Leona Yanta; and brother-in-law, Art Schuster, sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Jack (Pat) Robbins and Joe (Carol) Robbins.

He was preceded in death by his wife Patty; his parents, Elizabeth and John Werdel; father-in-law and mother-in-law, J.Q. and Gladys Robbins; sisters, Loretta Suhn and Marita Schuster; brothers-in-law, Jr. Suhn, Bob Ricklick, Al Summerton, Bob Clausen, Rick Yanta and Jim Robbins; and one grandchild, Francis Peter Werdel.

Rembold Funeral Home of St. Lawrence has been entrusted with Peter’s arrangements.