Robert Frederick Bertsch, Sr. (December 30, 2012)

January 14, 1922 ~ December 30, 2012

Wednesday, January 2, 2013
1:00-9:00 PM
Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home
Harlan, Iowa
The family will be present to greet friends from 4:00-7:00 PM at the funeral home.

Thursday, January 3, 2013
11:00 AM
Immanuel Lutheran Church
Harlan, Iowa
Burial will be in the Harlan Cemetery, Harlan, Iowa

Wife – Opal Bertsch of Harlan, IA
3 Sons – Bob (Jan) Bertsch of Willis, Michigan
Tom (Lois) Bertsch of Columbus, Nebraska
Dan (Irene) Bertsch of Indianola, Iowa
1 Sister – Evelyn Smith of Milwaukie, Oregon
8 Grandchildren
5 Great-grandchildren
Other Relatives & Friends

Robert Frederick Bertsch, Sr., the son of Leonard Grover and Eva (Kottke) Bertsch, was born on January 14, 1922, in Hedrick, Iowa. He graduated from Avoca (Iowa) High School in 1939. While in high school, Bob worked at Bake’s Cafe in Avoca. He later worked at the Willamette Shipyard in Portland, Oregon. On October 29, 1942, Bob married Opal Maxine Blaine in Vancouver, Washington.

Bob served in the United States Army for three years during World War II, fifteen months of which were spent in Europe. After his Honorable Discharge, he and Opal moved back to Harlan, Iowa, where he worked as Supervisor of the Iowa Department of Transportation in Shelby County; he held this post for 38 years until his retirement in 1984.

Bob was an active member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, where he had served on both the church council and the new church building committee, and also taught Sunday School. Bob was a former Harlan VFW member, past-president of the Golden K Club, and a former Boy Scout leader. He was an active member and past-president of the Shelby County Museum, and had served as a member of the new Harlan High School building committee. Bob liked gardening, refinishing furniture, and traveling, especially enjoying his three trips to Europe. He was an avid Hawkeye fan and Harlan Cyclone football fan. A people-person and a gentleman, Bob took pride in teaching good moral values to his children. For many years, Bob had the pleasure of playing Santa for the Golden Kiwanis Club in Harlan.

Robert F. Bertsch, Sr., died on Sunday, December 30, 2012, at the Elm Crest Retirement Community in Harlan, at the age of 90 years, 11 months, and 16 days.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents; one sister, Eva Bjornson; and two brothers, Rex Bertsch and infant James Bertsch. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Opal Bertsch of Harlan, Iowa; three sons, Bob (Jan) Bertsch, Jr., of Willis, Michigan, Tom (Lois) Bertsch of Columbus, Nebraska, and Dan (Irene) Bertsch of Indianola, Iowa; one sister, Evelyn Smith of Milwaukie, Oregon; eight grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and other relatives and friends.

The funeral service was held on Thursday, January 3, 2013, at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Harlan, Iowa, with Pastor Steve Chellew presiding. Marge Ahrenholtz served as the organist, and Jeff Johannsen was the soloist. The American Flag was presented by Bill Reid on behalf of the Helmer Reyelt American Legion Post #150. Serving as honorary casket bearers were Jim Noble, Charlotte Noble, Darlene Anderson, Amanda Bertsch, Alicia Bertsch, Catherine Wahl, Christine Bertsch, Lisa Bertsch, Kristie Bertsch, Cindy Mumm, Jane Davis, Mary Garcia, Nancy Hanstad, Kim Behrendt, and Tracy Noble. Active casket bearers were Michael Bertsch, Matthew Bertsch, Bradley Bertsch, Brian Bertsch, Michael Wahl, Keith Svare, and Thomas Noble. Burial was in the Harlan Cemetery, Harlan, Iowa. Memorials may be made to Myrtue Medical Center Hospice, Elm Crest Retirement Community, and Immanuel Lutheran Church, Harlan, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan, Iowa, was in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be left online at

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8 Responses to Robert Frederick Bertsch, Sr. (December 30, 2012)

  1. Deb and Dave Svoboda/Columbus, NE says:

    Tom, Lois and family,
    Pam told us tonight about your dad passing. You have our sympathy and our thoughts and prayers. We know how long a struggle this was for your dad. We wish we could be with you, but we are there in spirit.

  2. Dan and Pat Kleinpaste says:

    Opal and family,

    Our sincere sympathy to all of you. What wonderful memories of Robert and special memories of Robert and Opal as a couple. We will be making a donation to the Myrtue Memorial Hospital Hospice Group in Robert’s memory. Prayers are with all of you. Dan is out of town, he will feel bad that he was not able to be part of the Military rites for Robert. Peace to all of you. Pat and Dan Kleinpaste

  3. Ruthanne Grimsley says:

    Opal and families-
    Our sincerest condolences on the loss of Bob. There is never a good time to loss someone you love, but knowing what Bob has faced these last years, I know he is in a better place with his Lord and Savior. Our thoughts and prayers are with you call. Gene in particular sends his condolences with all of us.
    Ruthanne Grimsley
    Mark Grimsley

  4. Carol Butts Kline says:

    Dear Opal, Bob, Tom, Dan and family, my thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Bob was such a great guy! God bless you! Carol, Ron, Derek & Garrett Kline, Atalissa, Ia.

  5. Pam & Scott Souders says:

    Our Thoughts and Prayers are with you during this difficult time, take care of your Mother, we also lost my Father on Sunday and his funeral will also be Thursday, but tonight he will be having his New year’s eve dance with Mom in Heaven, with a sharp mind, no more Alzheimers- God Bless all of you !

    Pam & Scott Souders

  6. Anna Mae Klein ( Frain) says:

    Aunt Opal love you so very much My heart and prayers are with you and the rest of the family. If you need anything please email me and I will email back with my number for you to call. Been along time since I seen you but I still remember you. Lots of love, hugs and prayers coming your way from Michigan.

  7. mr.mrs.hancock and family says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with and prayers always

  8. mr.mrs.frain says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and we love u very much

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