Welcome to the memorial page for

LaVern W. Cordell

September 16, 1925 ~ April 8, 2017 (age 91)

The Piano Brothers
Obituary Image

LaVern W. Cordell, age 91, of Watertown, SD, passed away on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at a local care center. A Funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Watertown. The celebrant will be Fr. Paul Rutten. Music will be provided by the I. C. Funeral Choir accompanied by Danielle Holmquist-Holida. The family is requested to meet at the church on Wednesday by 10:00 a.m. for a prayer service.


Visitation will be at the Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel in Watertown on Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. with a 6:30 p.m. Scripture Wake Service. Visitation will also be held prior to services at the church on Wednesday.


Burial will take place at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Watertown. Military graveside honors will be conducted by Codington County Post #17 of the American Legion, the Patriot Guard Riders and the Funeral Honors Team of the SD Army National Guard. Honorary pallbearers will be Venard Cordell and Joshua Cordell for all of their help on the farm and members of the 147th Field Artillery, the 196th RCT and Post #17 of the American Legion. Active pallbearers will be LaVern’s grandchildren: Scott Maag, Zachary Aman and Jason Cordell and his nephews: Linus Cordell, Leon Cordell, Adam Cordell, Dana DeVille, Jeff Gnat, Rodney Gnat and Mike Goodell.


LaVern was born September 16, 1925 to Peter and Katherine (Jellesma) Cordell in Watertown, SD where he lived his entire life. He went to country school and worked the family farm until he joined the Army National Guard. He served proudly until returning to Watertown to work on the family farm. LaVern began a career of custom combining, and went south for many years while continuing to farm the family land. He loved working on old tractors and farm equipment, and he enjoyed his career well into his late 80s when he retired. LaVern was a member of Holy Name Catholic Church and later Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, both in Watertown.


LaVern attended boot camp at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, CO and was activated to Fort Richardson in Anchorage, AK September 1, 1950 to June 30, 1952 with the 196th Regimental Combat Team. He advanced to Master Sargent E7 First Class. LaVern was an active member of Watertown Legion Post 17 for 65 years, and he served as Commander for three years. He served as the Director of The Avenue of Flags for 44 years. In the early 90s he added all of the current flags that fly on Highways 212, 81, 20 and Kemp Avenue during holidays. LaVern also served as Director of The Honor Guard, and he participated in countless ceremonies until his late 80s. He was extremely proud of his service to his country, and he was honored to provide this service for departed veterans. The American Legion recently honored LaVern for his 65 years of service.


LaVern married Phyllis Weber November 25, 1955. The couple had three children: Tim Cordell (Rebecca Rawson), Pam Hartsell and Lynn (David) Aman. Phyllis passed away in 1986. LaVern married Shirley Churchill in August of 1987. LaVern has two step-children: David (Linette) Churchill and Ronda (Chris) O'Keefe. He enjoyed his eight grandchildren: Jason, Jon and Jamie Cordell; Scott, Kelsey and Jill Maag; Dylynn Makepeace and Zachary Aman. He also has three step-grandchildren: Courtney, Alex and Kirsten O'Keefe and nine great-grandchildren. LaVern is survived by his brother Venard (Mena) Cordell and sisters JoAnn Gnat and Karen (Bob) Goodell. He was preceded in death by his parents, first wife, brothers James and Dennis (Edna) Cordell, his sister Lorraine (Ray) DeVille, brother-in-law Wendell Gnat, stepson Philip Churchill and great-granddaughter Kendra Maag Boehm.


Obituary provided by the family.









 Service Information

April 11, 2017

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel
Watertown, SD

Scripture Wake Service
April 11, 2017

6:30 PM
Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel
Watertown, SD

Funeral Mass
April 12, 2017

10:30 AM
Immaculate Conception Cath-Wtn.
Watertown, SD

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