SPEARFISH - Walter E. Ziebart, of Spearfish, South Dakota, passed away on December 15, 2004 at the age of 85. He is survived by a beloved wife of 62 years, Clara (Altenburg) and seven children - Sharon (Griffiths) of Newcastle, Washington; Kenneth of Bellevue, Washington; Bruce of Bainbridge Island, Washington; Elizabeth "Betty" (Hopwood) of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Eloise "Bonnie" (Devine) of Benton City, Washington; Steven of Hendersonville, Tennessee; and Geoffrey of Arlington, Virginia - 15 adored grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Walt also is survived by a brother, Herbert Ziebart of Parkston, South Dakota; a sister, Annetta Link of Wagner, South Dakota; and a sister, Lillian Rasmussen of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers and three sisters.

Walt was born on a farm in Delmont, South Dakota on September 9, 1919, the seventh of ten children. In 1940, Walt joined the US Navy, where he served on the destroyer USS Talbot 114 in San Diego, California. Upon the death of his father, he was honorably discharged. In 1942, after the onset of World War II, he was drafted into the US Army, where he served in the 818th Tank Destroyer Battalion at Camp Bowie, Brownwood, Texas. While in the Army, Walt was cadred to help form the 16th Armored Division. He received Sharpshooter status and taught aircraft identification. He married Clara Altenburg of Armour, South Dakota, on October 10, 1942 in Brownwood, Texas.

After his military service, Walt farmed and raised registered Black Angus cattle south of Mitchell, South Dakota for over 30 years. In addition to farming, he was a State Manager for Foxbilt/Triple F Feeds of Des Moines, Iowa. As a Top 10 salesman for the company, he won a one-week trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. He also was a distributor for the Conklin Company of Shakopee, Minnesota for 30 years. As a top salesman for Conklin, he was awarded a trip to Nashville, Tennessee. Additionally, he served as a rural letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Mitchell. In 1974, Walt and Clara moved to Spearfish, South Dakota where they owned and operated a livestock feed store. In 1977, they bought Rim Rock Lodge in Spearfish Canyon, where they have resided ever since.

Walt was an avid fisherman. He also loved baseball and played in a fast-pitch softball league at 50 years of age. He hunted his entire life, and particularly enjoyed an annual pheasant hunt in eastern South Dakota with sons, relatives and friends from across the country. Walt, an enthusiastic golfer, played championship courses all over the world, including New Zealand, Australia, Scotland and Ireland (stopping to kiss the Blarney Stone along the way). He celebrated his 70th birthday playing the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland with three of his sons. Legend has it he never lost a putting contest. He scored three holes-in-one in 65 years of playing golf. Appropriately, his last round of golf was played on 04-04-04.

For 18 years, he was a 4-H Leader, and served one year as State President of the South Dakota 4-H Leaders' Association. He was a Charter Member of the Mitchell Exchange Club and helped charter the Rapid City Exchange Club. He loved music, and sang in church choirs and barbershop groups for over 50 years. He is a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church of Spearfish.

Visitation will be held at the Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapel in Spearfish on Sunday, December 19, 2004 from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Spearfish on Monday, December 20, 2004 at 11:00 a.m. A lunch will follow the service. Interment will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota.

The family wishes to thank the Fort Meade, South Dakota and Omaha, Nebraska Veterans Administration Hospitals, Hospice of the Northern Hills, and their many friends and relatives for their constant support during his illness.