Theodore (Ted) Hochhalter, 106, went to his heavenly home on May 4th surrounded by his family and under the care of CHI Hospice and Bridgeview Estates staff.
Ted was born February 7th, 1913, to Johanna and Ferdinand Hochhalter in a sod house on a farmstead south of New Leipzig, ND. He was the third child and first son of a family that would grow to 17 children. Ted attended grade school at a rural one-room schoolhouse 1 ½ miles from the farm. He completed 8th grade while also helping his father on the farm.
At age 19 his father gave him $200 to go to the National Radio School in Los Angeles, CA to start a career in the new technology of radio. He built a working radio, the graduation assignment, but moved back home to farm, as he felt there was no future in radio. Ted married Bertha Friez on November 20th, 1935. He worked with his brother-in-law as a blacksmith in Mott, ND. A year later, Ted and Bertha moved to Yakima, WA, in search of work during the Great Depression. He found employment in the orchards thinning and harvesting fruit and picking hops. He also worked in construction doing multiple jobs. While employed at the Rosa irrigation project in 1938, a dynamite explosion nearly took his life. He was hit in the head by flying rock debris and was in a coma for two weeks. He survived by Bertha giving him broth with a teaspoon.
Ted and Bertha welcomed their first son, Harvey Lee, in 1939, before returning to ND to farm. Their second son, Lane Allen, was born in Elgin, ND, in 1952.
Ted and Bertha rented two different farms until purchasing Meadow Brook Farm in Adams County, ND. They farmed, had cattle, raised chickens, and gardened. They made their living until retirement in 1979 when they built a home in Lemmon, SD. Ted served on the Beisigl Township board for many years as and on the church council for Church of God in Lemmon, SD.
In retirement, they enjoyed fishing and spending time at the farm keeping the yard and buildings well maintained. Ted was a skilled craftsman and was always building or fixing something. He helped Bertha cut material and discovered his ability to quilt later in life. There are many fond memories of time spent at the farm, helping harvest, gathering eggs, and hearing the frequent caution to “slow down and stay out of the ditch” with the 3-wheeler.
Ted and Bertha took one trip to Hawaii in 1985. Sadly, Bertha’s failing health prevented further travel and Ted became her sole caregiver during the next eight years. He also spent a year in Arizona when his youngest son’s health began to fail and spent 300 days at Lane’s side, sleeping in a chair or waiting room couch.
As a widower, Ted still went to the farm to mow in the summer and taught himself to bake cookies by “just following the recipe.” Ted lived in his home until the fall of 2009, when he moved to an assisted living facility in Valley City to be closer to his son and daughter-in-law. He continued to care for his home, yard, and clean snow from is his driveway and corner lot sidewalk. He purchased his last car at the age of 92 and drove until the age of 96, letting his driver’s license expire at the age of 100.
The Bible guided Ted’s life. He read it cover to cover multiple times. He quoted many verses by heart and liked to talk about the splendor of his eternal home. His Bible is held together with duct tape, a sign of his deep faith.
Ted is survived by a son, Harvey (Carol) Hochhalter, Valley City, ND; granddaughter Deanna (Hal Weiser) Jamestown, ND; grandsons, David (Diane) Hochhalter, Valley City, ND, Scott Hochhalter, Minneapolis, MN, and Preston (Lindsay) Hochhalter, Mesa, AZ; great grandchildren: Landon Weiser, Fargo, ND, Carter Weiser, Fargo, ND, Theodore (Teddy), Leah, and August Hochhalter, Valley City, ND, Paige Hochhalter, Mesa, AZ; brother Otto Hochhalter; sisters, LuElla Hochhalter, Lillian Fuchs, Carol (Edgar) Hintz; and several nephews and nieces.
Ted is preceded in death by Bertha, his wife of 57 years, son Lane, his parents, two brothers, six sisters, three stepsisters, and one stepbrother.
A visitation will be 4-6 pm Wednesday, May 8, at Oliver-Nathan Funeral Chapel, Valley City. Visitation will continue 1 pm Monday, May 13 at New Hope Worship Center, Lemmon, SD with the funeral at 2 pm. Burial will be in Greenhill Cemetery, Lemmon, SD.
Funeral arrangements are by Oliver-Nathan Funeral Chapel, Valley City and Evanson-Jensen Funeral Home, Lemmon.