Vitalis (Mike) Casimir Gaidelis died unexpectedly on 6 March at the age of 67. He was born in Kenosha, WI in 1954 and grew up in South Omaha, NE. Mike was a first generation American, the son of Vitalis and Gene Gaidelis, who had emigrated from Latvia and Lithuania respectively after WWII. Mike married Sonia (Sam) Deacon in 1979 and they traveled the next 20 years while Sam served in the U.S. Army. Mike loved being a military spouse and seeing so many places around the country; he was proud to have visited all 50 states. Together, Mike and Sam raised two children, Veronica and Pearl and have three grandchildren.
Mike’s family moved to Volin, SD in 1996 where they had purchased a farm. He incorporated his family name Gaidelis (meaning rooster in Lithuanian) into the farm name, “Red Rooster Farm”. Though Mike was a computer analyst by profession, he was skilled in many trades. He cut down several cedar and black walnut trees on the farm, had the wood milled and incorporated the boards in the remodeling of the farm. He enjoyed raising sheep, goats, and garlic. Later in his life, he managed Truck Town in Beresford, SD where he mastered the art of business. In his spare time, Mike enjoyed collecting coins, baseball cards and traveling to see friends and family while he was a pilot car driver.
In the last five years, Mike succumbed to several health issues. He loved to be outside, especially cutting and splitting wood. Mike was an active member of St. Patrick’s parish in Wakonda and was involved in the celebration of the church’s centennial. Mike was quiet and stoic but could also talk your ear off.
Mike was preceded in his death by his dad, Vitalis; his younger sister, Terese Meilus Gaidelis; and his mother, Gene (Jeane) Gaidelis, who died six days earlier. He is survived by his wife, Sam Deacon Gaidelis; brother-in-law, Deacon Eduardos Meilus of Sutton, MA; daughters Veronica Gaidelis-Langer (Nathan) of Cloquet, MN; Pearl Gaidelis of Negaunee, MI; grandchildren Isaiah, Simon, and Frances Langer of Cloquet, MN; nephew Antanas (Cat) Meilus of Malden, MA and nieces, Jurate Meilus Greeley (Brendan) of Marlborough, MA and Sigute Meilus of Washington, D.C. He is also survived by numerous brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Visitation and rosary will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Wakonda, SD on Sunday, March 13, 2022, at 6:00 PM. Funeral service will be on Monday, March 14, at 10:30 AM at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
Services will be Live-streamed on the Hansen Funeral Home Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hansenfuneral
In Lieu of Flowers, memorial donations may be directed to the Gaidelis family.