Phillip Walter Ketelsen, 80


Phillip Walter Ketelsen, son of Walter and Eldora (Meggers) Ketelsen, was born on September 19, 1942, on a farm northeast of Charter Oak. He was baptized and later confirmed his faith at St. John Lutheran Church in Charter Oak. He attended rural schools and graduated from Charter Oak High School with the class of 1960. That same year, he enlisted into the Iowa Army National Guard and served until his honorable discharge. During this time, he stayed busy continuing to help his dad on the farm and working road construction. In 1963, he was able to start farming more on his own.

On April 6, 1963, Phillip married Jolene Wodtke at St. John Lutheran Church in Charter Oak. The couple made their home on the Ketelsen family farm near Denison until 1970, when they moved to Jolene's aunt's family farm near Mapleton. Phil retired in 2011, and the couple moved to Denison.

Phil was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church near Charter Oak and served many terms as financial secretary, secretary, vice president, and an Elder. He enjoyed riding horses, trail rides, car cruises in his '57 black Chevy, and tractor rides with friends. Over the years, Phil put on well-over 10,000 miles traveling 11 states on his Super H. Some of his most memorable tractor travels were to Mount Rushmore, being a group leader in Sturgis, parking his tractor in front of the saloon where Wild Bill Hitchcock was killed in Deadwood, South Dakota, and in September of 2017, a good friend took his dad and Phil to the Mackinac Bridge between Wisconsin and Michigan where 1500 tractors were registered to cross the bridge. Phil valued the time he spent farming.

Phil passed away on November 4, 2022, at Gracewell - Eventide Lutheran Home in Denison at the age of 80.

Phil was preceded in death by his parents; parents-in-law, Marcus and Edna Wodtke; sister, Donna and husband, Leo Jacobsen; brothers-in-law: Verdell Wodtke and Delbert Wodtke; and sister-in-law, Marlene and husband, Donald Bohlmann. He is survived by his wife of over 59 years, Jolene Ketelsen of Denison; two brothers: Larry Ketelsen and wife, Jan of Charter Oak and Rick Ketelsen and wife, Rhonda of Denison; sister, Jan and husband, Gene Miller of Denison; sister-in-law, Rita Wodtke of Sioux City; many nieces and nephews; several great-nieces and great-nephews; and other relatives and friends.

Funeral Services were held Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Charter Oak. Rev. Richard Merrill officiated the service with interment in the parish cemetery. Organist Nancy Bielenberg provided accompaniment for congregational hymns "Amazing Grace" and "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord." Recorded musical selection included "God Knew Your Name" by James Likens.

Serving as honorary pallbearers were Tom Forbes, Curt Sachau, Kraig Kitt, Ray Gosch, Robert Otto, Richard Schleis, Alan Neddermeyer and Erik Koenigs. Serving as pallbearers were Pastor Brian Ketelsen, Derek Ketelsen, Nate Ketelsen, Steve Jacobsen, Mark Bohlmann and Eric Wodtke. Following the burial, the family invited everyone to the Charter Oak Community Building for a time of fellowship and lunch. The Huebner Funeral Home in Denison was in charge of arrangements.