Fiercely independent to the end, Albertha “Buff” Gildemeister 86, of Dell Rapids passed away Saturday May 15 at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls after a heroic five-year battle with cancer. There will be a memorial service for both Buff and her husband Darrell at 11:30 am on Saturday May 22, 2021 at the Reformed Church in Dell Rapids. A family interment will begin at 10:00 am in the Logan Reformed Cemetery prior to the start of the service at the church. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy02-mL5FUo
Buff was born on September 4, 1934 near Carmel, IA to Gerrit and Albertha “Alice” Van Wyhe. As fourth of nine brothers and sisters, Buff dutifully worked on the family farm outside of Rock Rapids, IA. She attended Nettleton College in Sioux Falls to learn book-keeping and accounting, skills she would use professionally for the Sheraton Hotel, where she was commended for her skill and work ethic, and personally throughout her life.
She met a spirited young man named Darrell Gildemeister when introduced through mutual friends on a blind date. They were married November 25, 1960 and had three children. Buff and Darrell were devoted to one another and were married for 60 years until Darrell’s death in November 2020.
A dedicated wife and mother, Buff left the workforce to direct her full attention to raising the family. In 1974, Buff and Darrell purchased a small farm north of Dell Rapids which would be their beloved home for the next 43 years. Buff used her considerable mechanical, electrical, and book-keeping skills to care for and improve the farm for the family she loved. Buff was an expert in many areas, from refacing cabinets to creating delicacies such as wild game, jam and apple cake from her fruit trees, vegetables from the garden, or butter and yogurt from the milk of their dairy goats. Buff was an avid fan of the Twins and Vikings and enjoyed all sports especially when played by her grandkids. She remained sharp to the end, managing her personal affairs in detail.
Buff was a member of the Reformed Church in Dell Rapids for over 50 years and was active in the women’s ministries there. Her faith was extremely important to her and she loved to listen to Gospel music, read her Bible, and faithfully prayed for her family and friends. She brought to her family a habit of reading the Bible aloud at the table following family dinner every evening.
Buff will always be known for her kindness, her brilliant blue Van Wyhe eyes, amazing determination, indomitable positive outlook, her tremendous love for her family and friends, and her grandchildren in particular.
Buff was preceded in death by her parents Gerrit and Albertha Van Wyhe, brothers Gerritt and Elmer, sisters Wilma (Brower), Jan (Selles), Joyce (Dornbush), and her cherished husband Darrell Gildemeister. She leaves behind her daughter Kim (Jeff) Larsen of Hudson, WI and grandchildren Zoë and Ava, son Bryan of Baltic, SD and grandchildren Hans, Fritz, Greta, and Richard, son David (Teresa) of Phoenix, AZ and Grandchildren Kirstie and Drew. She is also survived by brothers Willis and Marvin Van Wyhe and sister Muriel Plooster, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Sincere thanks to so many that helped and cared for Mom over the past several years particularly the staff and friends at the Inn at Westport. Thank you for the many prayers and condolences. We know that Mom was well-loved and is celebrating a life well-lived in heaven even as we miss her here on earth.
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