Richard “Rich” J. Willert

Richard “Rich” J. Willert, age 79, of Yankton, South Dakota, died peacefully at his home surrounded by his family and covered with a blanket of love and prayers on March 20, 2021.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 AM on April 10, 2021, at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Yankton, South Dakota with Reverend Tom Anderson and Bishop William Dendinger officiating.  The Mass will be live streamed and can be viewed on Rich’s obituary page at Burial will be in the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Yankton.  The family will receive friends from 5:00 to 7:00 PM on April 9, 2021 at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home followed by a rosary and vigil service at 7:00 PM.

Pallbearers will be his grandchildren: Nicholas Huber, Trevor Huber, Brittney McGrath and Cameron Stark.  Honorary pallbearers will be his Kaiser Heating and Cooling co-workers and his golfing buddies.

Richard Joseph Willert was born September 6, 1941 in Columbus, Nebraska, to Meredith and Elizabeth (McCluskey) Willert.  When Rich was ten, his family moved to Yankton, South Dakota, where his dad started Willert’s Tastee Treet.  Rich attended school in Yankton and graduated from Yankton High School in 1959.  He then studied mechanical engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines.  He returned to Yankton and started working at M-Tron as a manufacturing engineer.  While at M-Tron he developed and received a patent for an electronic air purifier.  He married Joan Tamisiea on June 25, 1963 in Yankton and together they had two children Jon and Julie.  He later began working at Larson Brothers Heating and Cooling in Yankton until it closed.  He then started working at Kaiser Heating and Cooling in Yankton.  After semi-retiring in 2003, he enjoyed working part time at Kaiser Heating and Cooling almost until his passing.  He married Nancy Hastert on October 29, 2004 in Yankton.

Rich was a member of St. Benedict Catholic Church, Hillcrest Country Club, and the Yankton Elks Lodge.  He was a very intelligent man and his friends often referred to him as a book of knowledge.  He had a love of learning and became an expert in the HVAC industry.  Due to his love of learning, he had many interests including reading, visiting art museums and air museums, faithfully reading and watching the news, sailing, cars, aviation and flying with Rolly Goeden, traveling (with Australia being his favorite destination), hiking in the Colorado mountains, architecture, astronomy, tennis, attending Berkshire Hathaway conventions, a life time love of golf, and going for rides in his little red Miata convertible.  He was a huge Yankton Bucks fan and didn’t miss watching/listening to the games.  Favorite times were times spent with family and friends.  Rich was an honest, hardworking man who loved his family.  He will be greatly missed.

Blessed to have shared his life are his survivors which include his wife, Nancy Willert of Yankton, South Dakota; two children: Jon (Lisa) Willert of Gretna, Nebraska and Julie (Wayne) Huber of Gayville, South Dakota; four grandchildren: Cameron (Stefanie), Nicholas, Brittney (James) and Trevor; three great grandchildren: Silas, Adelaide, and Bryten; brother, Timothy “Tim” Willert of New York City, New York; sister, JoAnn (Terry) Lane of Sioux City, Iowa; brothers and sisters-in-law: Alana Tamisiea, Gail (Bob) Wittenbrink, Chuck (Judy) Hastert, Mary Ann (Art) Roberts, and Jane (Lynn) Braband; and many nieces and nephews.

Preceding him in death are his first wife, Joan Willert, and his parents, Meredith and Elizabeth Willert.

The family wishes to express their sincere thanks and gratitude to the hospital and Hospice staff, respite care nurses and the many family and friends who provided their support, care and love.





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15 response to "Richard “Rich” J. Willert"

  1. By: Patty Vavra & Jim Vavra Posted: March 22, 2021

    So sorry for your loss. Rich was a great guy and we have many good memories of him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
    Jim Vavra & Patty Vavra

  2. By: Sarah Mannes Homstad Posted: March 23, 2021

    So sorry to learn of Rich’s passing. I was fortunate to work with him through the years – and my dad for many more – in his role at Kaiser Heating & Cooling. He was always so kind, respectful, and good to work with, and always showed genuine interest in what was happening in our family outside of whatever project we were working on. Our office all looked forward to working with Rich because it was like working with a friend. Our very best to his wife, loved ones, and co-workers. Our hearts are heavy.

  3. By: Mike Rhoades Posted: March 24, 2021

    Jon and Julie, very sorry for your loss. This is a wonderful tribute to your father.

  4. By: Donald and Helen McCluskey Posted: March 25, 2021

    To the Family,
    We were very sorry to hear of your loss. He will be remembered in our prayers.
    Our deepest sympathy.
    Don and Helen McCluskey

  5. By: Marty & Jan Jans Posted: March 26, 2021

    Our sincere sympathy to you Nancy and family. May you find peace in knowing you are in our prayers..

  6. By: rosaline wootton Posted: March 28, 2021

    Nancy, Julie and family,
    So sorry for the loss of Richard. May your Faith and all the special moments bring you some peace. My prayers and thoughts are with you. God Bless you.
    Rosie and Richard Wootton

  7. By: AMY S. PETRIK Posted: March 29, 2021

    Joann and Terry, sorry to read about your brother’s passing. Send you both lots of love from Sioux Falls.

  8. By: Kaye Loland Posted: March 29, 2021

    Jon, Julie, JoAnn and Terry,

    I was so sorry to hear about the loss of your father and brother. I want to offer my sympathy and prayers to you and your families.
    I am so glad I got to visit with him at Jeanie’s funeral.
    God Bless him.

    Kaye Loland

  9. By: Michael Huennekens Posted: March 30, 2021

    Dear Nancy, Julie and Jon,

    My best friend, “Rich” will be truly missed.. He was one of a kind who always made my sojourns to Yankton so meaningful! I’m so glad I got to visit with him before his passing. God bless him and your beautiful family.

    Michael Huennekens

  10. By: Craig Wittenbrink Posted: April 4, 2021

    My condolences to Nancy and Rich’s family and friends. My Uncle Rich was very fond of cars, and I remember many stories like his enthusiasm in driving Jon’s (his son’s) Nissan Z. Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time. We hope that you find solace in Rich’s life well lived, as even occasional trips to Yankton showed his passion for his family and friends.
    Craig (nephew) Wittenbrink and family

  11. By: Jim Scoblic Posted: April 5, 2021

    Sorry to hear about Rich. I enjoyed his company at Hillcrest. He will be missed.

  12. By: Tim Krogman Posted: April 6, 2021

    Hi Nancy, Jon, and Julie. I wish to extend my deepest condolences to you for the loss of your husband and father. May you all cherish all the memories you had with him and may he rest in peace!

  13. By: John A. Mogck Posted: April 7, 2021

    Nancy and Family,
    Rich was a soft spoken and kind professional person. I never heard him say anything bad about anyone. We became good friends while working at M-Tron. After we went our separate ways, we stayed in Touch with each other. I, along with everyone who knew Rich will miss him very much. May He Rest In Peace.

  14. By: Don Johnson Posted: April 9, 2021

    Nancy, Jon, Julie, JoAnn, Tim,
    I am so sorry for your loss of Rich. His loss will be felt by everyone who knew him. I’m glad to have been a friend of his for most of his life. I’m also glad I got to visit with him before he left us. Rich was a person one could truly call a class act. He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed.

  15. By: Mary Palhegyi Posted: April 10, 2021

    Rich was a great uncle to us and a wonderful husband to my Aunt Nancy. My favorite memories involve the excitement of my Aunt meeting Rich and the months leading up to their wedding, how excited the whole family was for her that she had found such a wonderful and caring man to share her life with. I also remember driving around in Uncle Rich’s convertible when we visited Iowa when my kids were small. I’m pretty sure, that’s the only time I’ve ever ridden in a convertible car!

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