FORDYCE — Francis J. Wiepen, 86, Fordyce, died Dec. 25, 2017, at this home surrounded by his family.
Visitation, with a Rosary and vigil service, was Dec. 27 at Holy Family (Immaculate Conception) Catholic Church, St. Helena.
A Mass of Christian Burial was Dec. 28 at Holy Family (Immaculate Conception) Catholic Church, St. Helena, with Rev. Eric Olsen officiating.
Burial was in the Immaculate Conception Cemetery, St. Helena.
Pallbearers were Michael Wieseler, Scott Wieseler, Nicholas Peitz, John Peitz, Chris Poole, Don Poole, Jacob Wiepen and Mathew Heimes.
Honorary pallbearers were Danielle Thacker, Denise Poole, Valerie Woodward, Cheryl Norris, Jessica Humphrey, Tristin Miles, Anna Wiepen, Kari Wieseler, Jennifer Wieseler, Samantha Wieseler, Jackie Genzlinger, Dana Mach, Delana Mach and Denae Mach.
Arrangements were under the direction of the Wintz Funeral Home of Hartington, Nebraska.
Francis J. Wiepen was born July 27, 1931, on the original Wiepen homestead near St. Helena, to Anton and Bertha (Jansen) Wiepen. He grew up on the farm and attended Sunnyside Country School until the eighth grade. He wanted to continue his education but his parents needed him on the farm. He married Irma Lauer April 4, 1956, in Hartington, and they moved to his farm near St. Helena. In his 30s, health issues limited his farming career. He then began working in Yankton, S.D. He worked at Freeman Company, Gurney’s, Dale Electronics and Kolberg Pioneer, which he continued until his retirement from full-time work in 2003. He continued to work part-time at Kolberg Pioneer until finally fully retiring in 2011.
Francis was a member of Holy Family (Immaculate Conception) Catholic Church and took great pride in serving his Church as an EME, as well as a lector for over 30 years. He had a wonderful sense of humor, a great smile, and a unique ability to always see the bright side of a situation. He remembered everything and everyone. He loved working, visiting with people and square dancing, but he mostly loved his farm, his faith and his family.
Survivors include his wife, Irma Wiepen, Fordyce; six children, Carol (Dan) Poole, Honey Creek, Iowa; Nancy (Bruce) Peitz, Fordyce; Kevin (Lisa) Wiepen, Yankton, S.D.; Janet (Mike) Wieseler, Tyndall, S.D.; Peggy (Bryce) Mach, Viborg, S.D.; and David Wiepen, Fordyce; 22 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; brother, Alphonse (Gertrude) Wiepen, Coleridge; sister-in-law, Joyce Wiepen, St. Helena; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Bruno Wiepen; and two sisters, Anna (Edwin) Pinkelman and Delores (Julius) Schmitt.