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Melvin Richard Goetsch (Dick)

Chamberlain, SD

1940-41, 1793, Lodge, SP-4

This message was received from the daughter of Melvin Goetsch and lead to finding the information below. "Dad passed away in 2017, but he did talk some about his time with the CCC. When we were in the Hills as kids, he took us by what is now Black Hills Playhouse and told us that is where Lodge camp was. He knew some of the guys that worked on Mt Rushmore and played baseball. He played with the Chamberlain Chiefs." Thank you very much Myra.


Melvin "Dick" Goetsch of Chamberlain will be inducted into the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame during a banquet at the National Guard Armory in Redfield on September 24, 1994.

Funeral services for Dick Goetsch, 94, of Chamberlain will be 10:00 am Friday, June 16, 2017 at the Zion Lutheran Church in Chamberlain with burial in the Riverview Cemetery at Chamberlain. Visitation will be Thursday from 5:00 to 8:00 pm with family present from 6:00 to 7:00 pm at the Hickey Funeral Chapel in Chamberlain.

Melvin Richard "Dick" Goetsch was born to Richard and Meta (Fascher) Goetsch on August 5, 1922 on the family farm south of Chamberlain where he also spent most of his life. He graduated from Chamberlain High School in 1939. From 1940-1941, Dick worked with the CCC at Camp Lodge which is presently the Black Hills Playhouse.

Dick joined the U.S. Army in November of 1942 where he served as a radio operator. He was a marksman in rifle and carbine, 1st class Gunner and a submachine gun expert. He served stateside before being honorably discharged in December of 1944. He returned to the farm until retiring from active farming at the age of 70 years.

Dick was united in marriage to (Laura) Joan Dobberstein on May 24, 1948 in Chamberlain, SD. He and Joan continued to live on the farm until Dick entered Sanford Care Center in September 2016.

Dick was an avid hunter and fisherman. He also loved golfing and was often out on the course through the age of 93.

He had a lifetime love of baseball. In 1994, when Dick was inducted into the Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame, he said, "My mother came from Elkader, IA so we moved there in the thirties to keep from starving. Iowa already had high school baseball so I learned and loved the game. They had Legion Baseball but I had to go to my Grandparents farm and milk cows. Bob Feller was in school in Van Meter, IA. In 1937, we moved back to Chamberlain, SD, but there wasn't any baseball in high school. There wasn't any Legion Baseball either at the time so I played on the city amateur team. I was 17 years old and the other team members were older guys. I was soon playing center field and batting in the clean-spot. I went to some state tournaments with Chamberlain and Kimball. After WWII, baseball was pretty dead but I wanted to play ball so cleaned up the old diamond on the American Island and started to look for anyone interested in playing. I went down the street begging for money for baseball equipment. I was managing and playing and farming, got pretty busy. We picked up players and soon had a reputation to play anyone. We chose the name "Chamberlain Chiefs". We played the Omaha Rockets, the Kansas City Monarchs, and The House of David with Sachel Page, who was getting old. Other towns started getting teams and eventually we became "The Basin League", playing 3 to 4 games a week. I played with Chamberlain, Pukwana, Kimball, and White Lake. I went to a Yankee tryout camp at Huron, SD. I was offered a go at Triple "A" baseball. I was getting started farming so passed it up. After retiring from playing I managed the local amateur team for a few years."

Dick was a lifelong member of the Zion Lutheran Church where he held several offices and was one of the oldest continuous members. He also served on the Township Board and County Commission.

Dick was an active member of the American Legion Potter Post No. 3 in Chamberlain for over 70 continuous years. During that time he served as commander, adjutant, and as a member of the Color Guard.

Dick passed away at Sanford Care Center in Chamberlain with family by his side at the age of 94 years. Gratefully sharing his life are his wife Joan of 69 years; three children Terry (Sandy) Goetsch of Sioux Falls, Myra (Jerry) Duba of Rapid City, and Marty Goetsch of Sioux Falls; seven grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. Preceding him in death were his parents Richard and Meta; and two sisters and brothers-in-law Evelyn (Robert) Schooler and Leola (Joe) Burull.

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