Cover photo for Burdette Nerland's Obituary
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1922 Burdette 2020

Burdette Nerland

January 1, 1922 — December 12, 2020

Burdette Nerland, 98, of Roslyn, SD passed away on Saturday, December 12, 2020 at Strand-Kjorsvig Nursing Home in Roslyn. Private family services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Tuesday December 22, 2020 and will be livestreamed on Fiksdal Funeral Service Facebook page. Burial will be in the Roslyn Cemetery. Burdette Nerland was born on January 1, 1922 to Ingvald and Sena (Larson) Nerland at their farm home in Nutley Township, four miles NE of Roslyn, SD. He was baptized at St Johns Lutheran Church in Webster. After the unexpected death of Nelsena, Ingvald and Burdette moved to the Nerland Homestead nearby, and Burdette resided there for the next 90 years. Grandparents Mathias and Olina (Iverson) Nerland were Burdette’s primary caregivers. Burdette was confirmed at Roslyn Lutheran Church in 1937. He attended school in Roslyn, meeting the school wagon one mile south of the farm. In high school, he played baseball, basketball, sang in chorus, and worked as a custodian after school was dismissed. Burdette was a bright and curious student. This interest in learning continued throughout his life, and he retained a stellar memory for people, family history, places, and events. His formative years were lived during the Great Depression, and he learned about farming from an early age. He remembers moving a small herd of cattle with the family dog. This included grazing while cattle looked for a little grass, which was in short supply during the drought. The dog would only stay and help if Burdette brought along one of the pups in a knapsack. After graduating in 1941, Burdette had plans to attend Business College in Missouri. His grandparents were aging, and he had more farm responsibility. He resumed the grain planting and haying. Burdette began farming with a few calves and some chickens. He purchased land and increased the acreage, planting alfalfa and oats, wheat, and flax. In the late 40’s, he bought his first polled Hereford cattle. Eventually he raised bulls to sell to area ranchers and remained friends with many of them. He occasionally accompanied his uncle Elmer on the Roslyn Creamery route. On the Bakke farm west of Sisseton, he met Esther, began a courtship, and they were engaged in October 1949. They married on March 26, 1950 at Hope Lutheran Church, west of Sisseton. There was a snowstorm but yet 100 people were able to attend the nuptial dinner. They made their home on the Nerland farm. The family grew to include a daughter, Kathy, and son, Lynn. Burdette and Esther were married for 55 years until her passing in 2006. In the early 80’s Burdette worked at the SD Educational TV station west of Roslyn in addition to farming and raising cattle. He worked for several years at the Dakotah Factory in Webster as an operator for the computerized quilting machine, an advanced technique in the 1980’s era. He was a lifelong deer hunter at locations in the Black Hills area, with the Madison family at Aladdin, WY and elk hunting in Custer State Park. These were special trips that Burdette looked forward to and greatly enjoyed with his Dad Ingvald, Uncle Carl and brother- in- law Elmer. In the later years hunting with Lynn each November was an anticipated tradition. Burdette took in all the activities he could at Roslyn School. He was a strong supporter of the Vikings and attended as many events as possible. He attended nearly every alumni reunion as a member of the class of 1941 until the school closed in 2014. He loved the Red and White. A strong interest in his Norwegian heritage took Burdette, Kathy, and cousin Norman to Norway. They spent a week touring with cousins from eastern Norway, Lillehammer to the west coast of the country. They visited the original Nerland homestead in Bud, the family church, and gravesites of many ancestors. It was a dream come true. Brudette was a member of the Sons of Norway and participated in many of their activities. Burdette and Esther were supportive grandparents and they truly loved spending time with family. They were present at many school programs, concerts, soccer games, birthdays, holidays, and hosted family often at the farm. With the grandkids, they took tractor rides, mowed the lawn, worked (and ate!) apple pie, helped in the garden, shot gophers, played cards. They had so many adventures and treasured every moment. Grandson Matthew played the banjo numerous times for Grandpa, who listened intently and asked thoughtful questions about music technique. Burdette had a wonderful singing voice and loved music of all kinds but especially hymns that he would sing by memory. He and Esther would attend the Roslyn Creamery monthly jamborees. Burdette served on many community boards including Nutley township, FHA, school, cemetery, and was an usher in church. His dog Abby was his companion for years, serving as an extra set of ears! Burdette spent the winters of 2012-2014 with Lynn, Tina, and family at their home in Illinois. In 2014, he became a resident at Strand Kjorsvig Living Center. We wish to thank his wonderful caregivers over these past six years. We appreciate all you have done. Burdette was preceded in death by his mother Nelsena and baby sister in 1924, father Ingvald in 1970, wife Esther in 2006, his grandparents, and parent-in-laws Einar and Lena Bakke and sibling-in-laws and their spouses. He is survived by daughter Kathy Mertz and her husband Mike of Aberdeen, son, Lynn Nerland and his wife Tina, of Springfield, IL; grandchildren Nicole Smith (husband Joe) of Moorhead, MN, Nathan Mertz (wife Jaime) of Worland, WY, Matthew Mertz (wife Ally) of Fort Collins, CO, Reece Nerland of Fenton, MO, Preston Nerland and Aubree Nerland, both of Springfield, IL; great-grandchildren Grace, Aiden, and Isaac Smith, Derek, Drew, and Eisley Mertz, and step-grandchildren Logan Pierson of Cincinnati, Chase (wife Kate) Pierson, and Hayden Pierson, all of Springfield, IL.
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