Ezra Arthur Griepp, 88, a longtime resident of Aberdeen and Watertown went to be with his Lord on Thursday, Dec.
22, 2011, following months of declining health.
The family will have a private committal service on Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 3 p.m. at Mount Hope Cemetery in Watertown, S.D.
A public memorial service will be Wednesday, Dec. 28 at 2 p.m. at First Assembly of God, Aberdeen, S.D.
Art was born Oct. 11, 1923, in Bonduel, Wis., to Arthur and Emma (Stern) Griepp, and was the first of nine children. Art grew up near Glad Valley, S.D., where his parents broke the land and homesteaded a farm.
They moved to Sisseton, S.D., where he graduated from high school. After graduation, Art enrolled in technical school in Rapid City, S.D. He later enlisted as a Sea Bee. In the Navy, he qualified for Officer’s Training School and attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
In 1947, Art returned to South Dakota where he met and married Verna Mary Bolhouse, his wife of 63 years. They were married on May 14, 1948, the day that Israel became a nation. He began his career with Midland National Life in Watertown as an insurance agent.
A committed Christian, Art and his family faithfully worshiped at the Watertown Assembly of God, where he served as a deacon.
In 1965, Art moved his family to Aberdeen to manage the Ed Downs Agency, later known as the Griepp-Iwerks Agency. A gifted salesman, Art held the top spot in Midland’s ‘App-A-Week’ national sales program for many years, and was one of Midland’s longest tenured agents.
Art’s business career, however, was always secondary to his family and his relationship with God.
Having been raised in a Christian home as a boy by parents who valued reading God’s word and times of family prayer, Art followed them in his commitment to the Lord.
Each day as an adult, he would ask God for strength and wisdom, along with opportunities to share the Gospel with others through his work and many acquaintances.
Like his parents, he was vigilant in prayer and leading his family in evening devotions.Throughout his life, Art treasured his salvation, wanting others to find forgiveness and experience the new life in Christ he so enjoyed.
Art was a devoted member of Aberdeen’s First Assembly of God, where he worshiped and served on the board for many years. He also served as secretary of the Assemblies of God South Dakota District Men’s Fellowship and was instrumental in raising funds to begin a church in Brookings, and to raise financial assistance for pastors of small South Dakota churches. He was a member of Aberdeen’s Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship and served as the chairman for approximately 10 years.
Art served on advisory committees and boards for Trinity Bible College in Ellendale and Central Indian Bible College in Mobridge. He was also a member of the Evangel College Councilmen and the Aberdeen Sunrise Kiwanis.
Though he was not certified as a pastor, Art’s love for God and heart for the elderly propelled him to organize and hold Sunday morning worship services for residents at the Aberdeen Living Centerfor several years. In his leisure time, Art enjoyed reading, trading cars, boating, camping, doing household repairs, attending family Bible camp, family reunions, hunting with family and friends, traveling and visiting his children and grandchildren and spending time with his beloved wife, Verna. Art will be remembered by his family for his firm guiding fatherly love, his humor, kindness, generosity and unwavering commitment to Christ.
Art is survived by his wife, Verna; his daughter, Bobbie Ekanger (Ted) of Aberdeen; and his three sons: Doug Griepp, Stockton, Calif., Roger Griepp (Sue) of Peoria, Ariz., and Rick Griepp (Cherie) of Springfield, Mo.
He also leaves behind nine grandchildren: Talmage Ekanger (Aberdeen), Trevor Ekanger (Springfield, Mo.), January Harless, D.J. Griepp, Jeffrey Griepp (all from Riverbank, Calif.), Matthew Griepp (Mesa, Ariz.), Nathan Griepp (Ozark, Mo.), Alyssa Griepp, and Autumn Griepp (both from Springfield, Mo.); and nine great-grandchildren.
He is survived by seven siblings: Aaron Griepp (Watertown, S.D.), Wilma Mastley (Elk River, Minn.), Marion Golden (Hot Springs, Ark.), James Griepp (Cypress, Texas), Allen Griepp (Watertown, S.D.), David Griepp (Hopkins, Minn.), and Alice Schlotte (Cokato, Minn.).
Art is preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Emma Griepp, of Watertown; and one brother, Phil Griepp, formerly of Osseo, Minn.
The family wishes to express special appreciation to Art and Verna’s home church and friends at First Assembly of God in Aberdeen, and their friends and caring staff of Primrose Independent Living Center, and more recently the Primrose Cottages, where Verna still resides.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to the Gideon Bible Society.