Funeral Services for Gary Kleinsasser will be held on Friday Dec. 22nd at 10:30am at the Bethlehem Reformed Church OPC of Freeman. Visitation will be from 5-7pm at the church on Thursday with a time of sharing at 7pm.
Gary Lee Kleinsasser passed away the morning of December 18th at the Avera Queen of Peace in Michell, South Dakota, with loved ones by his side.
Born the third child to Lydia Pullman and John E. Kleinsasser, Gary entered the world on January 29th , 1951, in the family home in Freeman, South Dakota. Gary was dedicated at the Bethany Mennonite Church in Freeman. Gary had said that “he remembered being a rambunctious meddlesome child who would hide from his dad under the bed” as John E. was a large and husky man who couldn’t crawl underneath to get him.
After the unfortunate accident that took Gary’s father and sisters away, Gary worked on his late Uncle Paul P. Pullman’s farm. That is where he learned to drive cars and tractors at the young age of thirteen. During his Junior and High School years, Gary worked many part-time jobs. Gary worked at Uncle Paul’s father’s Grocery store, at Ferd Walter’s grocery store and began his career at Huber Motors. In his teen years, Gary was Baptized at Bethany Mennonite Church.
After Gary graduated High School he studied Auto Mechanics in Aberdeen, South Dakota. While there in his own words, “we partied most of the time and I forgot more then I learned.” After he obtained his certification in 1970 he continued his job in Freeman at Huber Motors working on automobiles. In 1976 Gary used his creative talents as a welder fabricator working at Rural Manufacturing in Freeman. He briefly worked at Trail King in Mitchell.
One of his fondest purchases was his 1970 Mustang that he worked hard for. But his happiest moment was meeting the love of his life, Dellene Schaeffer in the spring of 1972. The following year they welcomed their first daughter, April Lee to the world. Then four years later they brought their second daughter, Jessica Kay home.
A true mechanic from birth, Gary’s mother would buy him box cars and trains to build with and race. When he was older he took to racing at Thunder Valley. In his more mellow moments, Gary would often go fishing with his cousins, Melvin Koster and Ralph Gross. Later, he would share that passion with his wife, daughters, and grandchildren. A generous man, Gary served as a Church Deacon in both OPC churches in Freeman and Bridgewater. Gary was seen donating his time assisting his Mother, Mother-inLaw, and neighbors. Gary also continued his hobby farm where he raised hogs, sheep, and cattle using equipment that he helped build at Rural Mfg.
Gary is survived by his closest family members: His wife, Dellene, his daughters April Lee (Michael Geist) of Alexandria SD and Jessica Kay (Daniel Hirschman) of Sioux Falls, his granddaughters, Alyssa Geist, Tabbitha Hirschman, Hannah Hirschman, his grandson, Anthony Geist, and his most beloved cat, Sweety Pie.
Those meeting Gary in heaven are his parents, sisters, and many other loved ones.