Delbert “Pete” Dale Petersen, age 98, of Watertown, SD, formerly of Hayti, SD, passed away on Sunday, March 28, 2021, at Prairie Lakes Hospital in Watertown, SD. Funeral Services will be at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 3, 2021, at Hayti Lutheran Church in Hayti, SD. Rev. Randy Eisenbeisz and Pastor Joe Turrill will officiate. Music will be provided by Judy Everson as soloist accompanied by Lisa Pedersen. The family is requested to meet at the church by 12:30 p.m. for a prayer service. The service will be Live-Streamed via Crawford-Osthus Facebook page and our website.
Visitation will be at Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel in Watertown, SD, on Friday, April 2, 2021, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. and prior to services at the church on Saturday.
Burial will be at the Olivet Cemetery in Lake Norden, SD. Military graveside honors will be conducted by the Cook-Olsen Post #217 American Legion of Hayti, SD, and the Funeral Honors Team of the SD Army National Guard. Honorary pallbearers will be Pete’s grandchildren: Sarah Schuppan, Jennifer Hartkopf, Rebekah Greely, Christie McKenzie, Marissa Starr Deykin, Peter Starr, Kristin Kingsbury, Kimberly Petersen, Amanda Trowbridge, Jessica Luvaas, Brooke Baldwin, Quinn Jorgensen and all of Pete’s great-grandchildren. Active pallbearers will be Pete’s grandsons: Paul Shelsta, Matthew Shelsta, Adam Petersen, Jered Petersen, Zach Beman and Carter Trowbridge.
Delbert was born on February 25, 1923, to Anton and Clara (Nielson) Petersen on a farm outside of Arlington, SD. He attended several elementary schools and graduated from Hayti High School in 1942. He enlisted in the Army after graduation and served in World War II on the European front. After basic training in the states, Pete went to England and crossed the English Channel on Christmas Eve 1944. His ship accompanied the Leopoldville, which was torpedoed and sunk by the Germans. Pete landed in Cherbourg, France, and was a sergeant in charge of transporting supplies to the front during the Battle of the Bulge.
After the war, Pete returned home and married his high school sweetheart, Clarice Johnson, on June 15, 1946. For several years he worked for the Hamlin County Co-op. From 1948-1952, he served two consecutive terms as the Hamlin County sheriff. That whetted his appetite for law enforcement, and he went to work as a Special Agent for the Division of Criminal Investigation for the state of South Dakota. That was a job that consumed and challenged him for 43 years, retiring at the age of 73. He loved his work. After work, Pete loved to golf, garden, jog, and spend time with his family. He was a member of Covenant Church in Lake Norden, SD, and also attended Hayti Lutheran Church in Hayti, SD. Pete was a dedicated member of the Cook-Olsen American Post #217 for 75 years.
Delbert was preceded in death by his wife, Clarice; his parents; five brothers: Jens, Milford, Warren, Leon and James; and two sisters, Darlyne (who died in infancy) and Darlyne Engleson; a great-grand daughter, Delaney Rae Trowbridge.
Survivors include his five children: Phyllis (Steve, deceased) Hartkopf of Sacramento, CA; Kathryn (Terry) Shelsta of Omaha, NE; Margaret (Robert) Starr of San Antonio, TX; David (Linda) Petersen of Watertown, SD, and Karyl (Steve) Beman of rural Hazel, SD; Pete was blessed with seventeen grandchildren and forty-four great-grandchildren; his brothers, Harley (Marilyn) Petersen of Watertown, SD, and Wayne Petersen of Wanamingo, MN; his sister, Norma Sylvester of Dover, DE; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
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