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Melvin G. Fernau, 101

Melvin G. Fernau, 101 of New Underwood, SD, died Saturday, November 4, 2017 at the Good Samaritan Center of New Underwood. Melvin Fernau was born June 2,1916 in Long Pine, NE to Edward and Sylvia (Bowman) Fernau. He lived in rural Ainsworth until 1928 when his family moved to South Dakota. He graduated from New Underwood High School in 1935. Melvin helped his father farm until 1938. He then joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and was stationed at Orman Dam near Belle Fourche, SD. There he received training as a radio operator and an electrician. He achieved the rank of Senior Leader and was discharged in January 1942. On February 28,1942, Melvin married Gertrude Stover in Chadron, NE. He was inducted into the US Army March 6, 1942 and was stationed for much of the war time in Presidio, San Francisco, CA as a radio operator. One son, Dennis, was born in September 1943. Melvin was honorably discharged in January 1946. In the fall of 1946 he was employed by the New Underwood School District as a full time custodian; a job he held for the next 36 years. In 1966, Melvin began farming and caring for livestock on the Fernau farm. Melvin married Josie Bates in the fall of 1977. He was preceded in death by his wives, Gertrude and Josie; one brother, Arthur; three sisters, Elora Fenner, Doris Jacoby and infant sister Marion; and his parents. Melvin is survived by his son, Dennis (Janet) Fernau; two granddaughters; five great grandchildren; one sister-in-law; one brother-in-law; and numerous nieces and nephews. A celebration of life service was held Friday, November 10, 2017 at the New Underwood School Gym, followed by burial at the New Underwood Cemetery. Memorials have been established to benefit the New Underwood High School Alumni Scholarship Fund and the New Underwood Community Center in Melvin’s memory. Condolences may be made at

Ainsworth Star-Journal

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Valentine Midland News

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