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Jacob B. Kirchgesler (Jack)

Aberdeen, SD

1936-38, 1791, Custer, F-12 Ass't Leader

RAPID CITY - Jacob B. "Jack" Kirchgesler, 91, passed away Mar. 3, 2008 at the Rapid City Regional Auxillary Hospice.

Jack was born to John and Margaret (Singer) Kirchgesler on Jan. 31, 1917 and grew up with his eight siblings on a farm near Aberdeen, SD. In Jan. of 1935, one month before his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the C.C.C., but soon came down with pneumonia and lung abscesses and was hospitalized at Battle Mountain Sanitarium in Hot Springs for 11 months. In the spring of 1936, he was discharged from the hospital and returned to the family farm. That summer, he graduated from the N.W. School of Taxidermy. That fall, he again enlisted in the C.C.C. for a 2-year stretch, and again went back to the family farm in the fall of 1938. The following spring, in 1939, he was elected township constable and joined the 147th Field Artillery National Guard.

Jack Kirchgesler dischargecourtesy Jack Kirchgesler

On Oct. 10, 1939, he left his home near Aberdeen to move to Rapid City with intentions of starting a motorcycle delivery business. In 1940, he accomplished that goal. In 1942, due to the war effort, he was unable to secure gas and tires. He gave up his delivery business for the duration of the war and went on to help build the Rapid City Army Air Base. At completion of working at the Base, he went back to Aberdeen and helped on the family threshing crew, and then returned back to Rapid City. During part of 1942-43, he drove a taxi until he went to work at the Air Base P.X. as a receiving clerk. During this time, he was also operating a motorcycle shop part time and worked for one year as a tobacco salesman. In the spring of 1945, he went to work for the Railway Express Agency and bought and operated a beer tavern. Later in that year, he sold the tavern, left Railway Express and went to work for the Rapid City Police Department as a traffic officer for 2 years. In the fall of 1945, he was married to Josephine Rogers. He operated the motorcycle shop as a Harley Davidson dealer until 1949 when more income was needed than the shop could provide. He then went to work for Swander Bakery as a night dock foreman for 2 years while keeping the dealership open part-time. During this time, he also did some day time work for Paramount Studios while the movie, "The Savage," was filmed and got to work with Charlton Heston, Milburn Stone, Susan Marlow, Joan Taylor, and Peter Hanson.

Jack Kirchgesler envelopecourtesy Jack Kirchgesler

In September of 1952, he went to work as a Civil Service employee at Ellsworth AFB, and was Asst. Engine Manager for the last 17 years he was there working with Aircraft and other engines pertaining to aircrafts. In 1959 he was drafted by the Rapid City Police Department as a civil defense and auxiliary officer, which later was changed to the Police Reserves. This consisted of working with regular officers mostly on weekends and special events. As a reserve officer, he worked as a security guard for Hubert Humphrey, Vice President Agnew, and Myron Florin when they were passing through Rapid City. He also policed at the Black Hills Roundup in Belle Fourche, Days of '76 in Deadwood for several years, one year at the Sturgis Rally, and one time at the rodeo in Buffalo, SD.

Jack Kirchgesler owned first Harley dealership in Rapid Citycourtesy Jack Kirchgesler who owned first Harley dealership in the area

In 1963, after 23 years, he gave up the Harley Davidson dealership, and in 1974, after 15 years, gave up his job with the Police Reserves.

In 1977, Jack was diagnosed with colon cancer. For this, he made four trips to Rochester, New York for radiation treatment and they were able to remove the cancer without operating.

In September of 1982, he retired from the Civil Service after 30 years of work and spent the next 26 years working in his shop and garden, making prize-winning wine, and going to auctions.

Jack is survived by his wife, Josephine, Rapid City; seven children, Gene, Yankton; Ken (Diane), Poplar Bluff, MO; Jackie (Rick) Heard, Judi, Mark (Melissa), Bill, all of Rapid City; and Chuck, Minneapolis, MN; his eight grandchildren, Kim (Brady) Day, Maple Grove, MN; Daniel, Deadwood, SD; Steven, Denver, CO; Richelle and David Heard, Stephanie, Jesse, and Trista, all of Rapid City; one great-grandchild, Jackson Day; and his sisters, Theresa, Rita, Pauline, and Ronnie.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Margaret Kirchgesler, his sons Dan and Tim, and his siblings, Anton, Joseph, Betty, William, and Peter.

Wake Services were held from 5-8 p.m. with a Rosary at 7 p.m. on Thurs, Mar. 6 at Serenity Springs Funeral Chapel. Mass of Christian Burial was held at 10 a.m. on Fri, Mar. 7 at St. Therese Catholic Church with Father Zandri officiating. Interment followed at Mt. Calvary Cemetery.

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