Published: Thursday, April 18th, 2013
Louis Gajdan was born Dec. 17, 1919, to Louis and Piroska Gajdan. He joined one sister who was also named Piroska, but he says they called her ‘Pire’ for short. She was five years older than Louie.
Louis was born in Hodmezovasarhey, Hungary, which is over 1,000 years old. Louie explained the name of the town was actually a combination of four names, Hod; the name of the lake by which the town was built, mezo; meaning prairie, vasar; meaning market, hey; meaning place.
Throughout his school years, playing soccer was always a highlight interest for Louie – so interesting in fact that he wanted to pursue it on a professional level. However, the war would prove to change these goals for Louie.
Upon finishing school Louis worked at the postal service. In Hungary it was expected that any male who was 21 and physically able would join the Army. Louis joined at age 20.
For a year while on the eastern front he continued his schooling and training as a junior officer. Having been injured, he spent extended amount of time in a hospital in Germany where he met his wife, Helen, who was a nurse.
With the help of Lutheran Social Services Louie brought his family to Sioux Falls, S.D., in 1948. They lived in Sioux Falls for 20 years, during which time Louie continued his interest in soccer by coaching youth teams. In 1975 Louie met and married Miriam Mueller Troemel. After Louie retired from the Sioux Falls school system they moved to Custer, S.D.
In 1997 he and Miriam moved to a wooded lot northeast of Custer. He helped with the construction of the house and in his 80s he took care of the property and cut pine trees for firewood. He is best remembered for his gentle sense of humor and his willingness to help anyone.
During his early years in Custer he and Miriam volunteered for Meal on Wheels. He remained physically fit and mentally alert until he approached 90. He became a resident of Custer Regional Senior Care in December 2010 and remained there until his death on April 7, 2013. He was 93.
Louis is survived by his wife, Miriam of Custer; one son, Richard (Alta) Gajdan of Newton, Iowa; daughter, Stella Weeks of Phoenix, Ariz.; two step-daughters, Elizabeth (Brad) Thoelke of Sioux Falls and Catherine Troemel of Custer; three grandchildren, Justine, Erin and Erica; two step-grandchildren, Matthew and Daniel; and four great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, April 22 at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Custer with Pastor Steve Wagner officiating.
Written condolences may be made at www.mccolleyschapels.com.
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