Rex J. Aldrich of Spearfish, S.D., passed away Jan. 26, 2008, at Fort Meade VA Medical Center in Sturgis, S.D.
Rex was born June 23, 1919, in Waterloo, Iowa, to Reginald L. and Tillie (Kromminga) Aldrich. He attended school in Waterloo, graduating in 1938. After graduation, he worked several jobs before going to work for John Deere, eventually
becoming a machinist.
He married Verla L. Meyers July 12, 1940, in Waterloo.
Despite having an occupational deferment as well as two children, Rex joined the U.S Army in World War II and proudly served his country. After discharge from the Army, he briefly returned to John Deere.
In late 1946, he moved to Western Colorado and worked in the auto parts business for many years until becoming a lab technician, working in both uranium and oil shale development.
After an early retirement in 1974, he moved to South Dakota and learned the saddle-making trade. Rex opened Aldrich Saddle Shop in Sturgis, with his wife, son and daughter-in-law in 1977. After the shop closed in 1982, he continued making saddles from his home for many years.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years; children Reginald (Annie) Aldrich, Ronald Aldrich, Roclynn (Earl) Simms, all of New Castle, and Randell (Sandra) Aldrich of St. Onge, S.D.; 11 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
Family graveside services with military honors were held Jan. 28 at the Black Hill National Cemetery. A memorial service is planned for May in St. Onge, S.D.