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Erich Mechling

August 5, 1926 December 31, 2018
Erich Mechling
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Obituary for Erich Mechling
ERICH "PAPA" GOTLIEB MECHLING was born to Gottlieb and Martha (Brinkman) Mechling on August 5, 1926 in Königsberg Ostpreuβen, Germany. After the loss of his parents and his four siblings as civilian casualties in WWII, Erich moved to Berlin to live with his aunt and uncle. In his mid-teens, Erich was drafted into the German Army and served as an artilleryman in WWII. First serving at the Siege of Leningrad, and then as one of the German troops trying to extricate fellow German soldiers from Stalingrad in the Soviet Union. The battle was lost to the Soviet Union and the German army suffered heavy losses; 147,000 German soldiers were killed and 91,000 were taken prisoner. Erich and his fellow team members were captured, but were not turned over to America until 1945, after WWII had ended. Once the war had ended, Erich worked full time at the Jürges farm, the family farm of his future wife, Irma. Erich was united in marriage to Irma Jürges on December 2, 1950. A year later, the young couple welcomed their only child, Rita. In 1955, the young family immigrated to The United States of America. They settled down in northern South Dakota, where Erich worked as a farm hand. After several years, the family then moved to Jasper, Minnesota and Erich began working at the quartzite quarry as a rock cutter, a job he had also done while he was still living in Germany. After years of hard work, Erich and Irma purchased their home in Ihlen in 1968. Their daughter, Rita, passed away in June of 1985. Erich and Irma remained in Ihlen until 2015, when they moved to Brookings, South Dakota to be closer to their granddaughters. Due to failing health, Erich moved to Edgewood Senior Living in Brookings. He died peacefully at Edgewood Senior Living on Monday, December 31, 2018 at the age of 92 years, four months, and 26 days.

During his retirement and even during his working years in Jasper, Erich had a great love of fishing. He enjoyed both fishing from the boat during the summer and ice fishing in the winter. Erich also truly enjoyed the time that he spent with his granddaughters, great-grandchildren, and his friends.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 68 years, Irma Mechling of Brookings; one son-in-law, Robert Kortlever of Brookings; four granddaughters, Gina (Tyrone) Ijeh of Montrose, New York, Lanett Brown of Huron, South Dakota, Rochelle (Tim) Brown of Brookings, and Amber Kortlever of Tampa Bay, Florida; 10 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; many relatives in Germany; and many loving friends. Erich was preceded in death by his daughter, Rita Mechling; his parents, Gottlieb and Martha; his siblings, Robert, Alma, Hien, Erna; his sister-in-law, Sigrid Jürges; nephew, Dieter Jürges; and his mother-in-law, Frieda Jürges.

In accordance with Erich’s wishes, the family will be holding a private memorial service in Ihlen in the spring of 2019. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the family.
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