Richard “Cowboy” Wellnitz, age 74, of Milbank, SD, died on March 17, 2020, at Avantara - Milbank.
Private family funeral services will be held at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Milbank. Rev. Timothy Koch will officiate and burial with military honors will be at the St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery by Albee. There will not be a time of public visitation.
**The service will be recorded and will be able to be viewed on our website.**
Richard "Cowboy" Lee Wellnitz was born on June 29, 1945, in Milbank, SD, to Ralph and Allkie (Blum) Wellnitz. He grew up in the Milbank area and attended Revillo School, Corona School, Alban #5, and one year of high school in Milbank. Richard joined the United States Navy after high school and served in Vietnam on many different ships. He took four trips to Vietnam and in 1967, he was honorably discharged from the Navy. He joined the Army National Guard and served from 1975 to 1993.
After his time served in the Navy, Richard returned to Milbank and started working at Cold Spring Granite Quarry and worked there for about six years. He then took a job at Flanery’s Sausage Company and worked there until they closed in 1985. Richard started driving truck for Bracht Transportation and a few other trucking companies. He went to work for Cliff Viessman, Inc. and drove truck for that company for about 15 years. Richard retired in 2012.
Richard had two children; his son, Darrin, was born in 1970 and his daughter, Lynn, was born in 1972. On July 2, 2010, Richard was united in marriage with Marjorie Ann Trapp at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Milbank.
He was a proud member of the VFW, American Legion, and Vietnam Veterans of America. Richard enjoyed outdoor activities such as golfing, fishing, and hunting. He could always be found with a cup of coffee in his hand and having a good time just visiting with people. Richard enjoyed traveling and saw a lot of the Midwest part of the United States while he was driving truck. The light of his life was his granddaughter, McKayla, and he spent as much time with her as he was able.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Marge of Milbank, SD; daughter, Lynn (John) Wendorf of Mason City, IA; granddaughter, McKayla Wendorf; step-children: Tina Rudebusch, Tara (Don) Wilkerson, and Elvis (Heidi) Mielitz; step-grandchildren: Brock Rudebusch, Jadin Rudebusch, Bryson Rudebusch, Karissa Wilkerson, Tracy Wilkerson, Kylee Mielitz, and Elvis Mielitz, Jr.; step-great-grandchildren: K’aLicia Rudebusch, Khloe Rudebusch, Jerico Rudebusch, and Jacoby Rudebusch; siblings: Donald (Carol) Wellnitz, Arnold (Sharon) Wellnitz, Joyce (Floyd) Hermans, and Earl (Marlys) Wellnitz; and sister-in-law, Sandy Wellnitz.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents; son, Darrin; and brother, Dale.
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