James “Hippie” Gaertner, 71, of Viborg, SD passed away unexpectedly on September 29, 2022. A Memorial Service will be held at Hansen Funeral Home in Irene on Wednesday,October 5, 2022, beginning at 10:30AM. A small lunch will be served after the service followed by a graveside service with military rites at Wittenberg Cemetery, rural Olivet, SD.
James Jay Gaertner was born on September 10, 1951, to Karlyle and Janet (Holt) Gaertner in Rapid City, SD. Jim and his family moved to Freeman, SD shortly after he was born. He attended Freeman High school and graduated in 1970. Jim enlisted in the United States Air Force immediately after high school and served one tour in Thailand. Jim was honorably discharged in 1973. He married Adell Nielsen in June of 1970 and to this union had four children, Chad, Heather, Jenny, and Rachael.
Jim began farming with his grandpa Holt. Later in life he moved to Colorado and worked as a plumber. He enjoyed panning gold in the Rocky Mountains and spending time with his partner in crime, Jeff Sweetman. From there he moved to California and eventually returned to his roots in South Dakota to be closer to his children and grandchildren.
He enjoyed golfing with his son Chad and Jay Nielsen, as well as winter virtual golfing in his apartment on his PlayStation. Jim also enjoyed cooking, his specialty was anything with a spicy kick. Jim was still hard at work while enjoying the time he spent driving truck and working next to his fellow buddies/Co-workers on the Pollman Crew.
Jim is survived by his mother, Janet Gaertner, Freeman, SD; four children, Chad (Michelle) Gaertner, Viborg, SD; Heather (Troy) Simonsen, Bayside, TX; Jenny (Tony) Ockenga, Harrisburg, SD; Rachael (Evan) Gaertner, Vermillion, SD; two siblings, Jennifer (David) Herrboldt, Menno, SD; and Grant (Tiana) Gaertner, Oceanside, CA; 16 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren; and Nieces: Carmen Taylor, Beth Harmann; Nephews, Nolan, and spencer Gaertner.
He was preceded in death by his father Karlyle and Grandson Evan Gaertner