Andrewa Schweigerdt was born in 1916 on a farm near Artas, SD. The Depression and Dust Bowl years were a difficult time for folks living on the prairies of South Dakota, and life was hard. Andrew attended a one-room schoolhouse through the 8th grade before having to leave school to help his family work the farm. In his youth he lived with his parents, two siblings, and grandparents on the farm which his grandfather purchased upon the family’s arrival in this country from Russian (Ukraine) in 1901. In 1941 Andy married Lena Knoepfle in Artas. Shortly thereafter, the couple moved to Niagara Falls, NY, where both worked for Bell Aircraft during the early years of World War II. They returned to Artas in 1943, where they again farmed and where their son, Bruce, was born. Later they purchased a grocery store in the village of Artas. Between 1947 and 1959, the family lived in Aberdeen, SD, Ellendale, ND, and Eureka, SD, during which time Andy worked in manufacturing and retail sales, as well as owning two grocery stores. In 1959, the family sold their store in Eureka, and moved to Lodi, where Andy worked as an aircraft mechanic at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento until his retirement in 1981. Following his retirement Andy and Lena traveled extensively at home and abroad; in Europe, Russia, and the Middle East.
Andy confessed Jesus Christ as his Lord (Romans 10:9-10) while attending a Gypsy Smith Crusade in Buffalo, New York. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Lodi where he served as deacon, Sunday School teacher, and sang in choir, male chorus, and quartets. He enjoyed singing, reading, and traveling. He delighted in telling jokes, while trying hard to maintain a straight face. Andy loved his Bible and its truths were evident in his life. He was 92 years old when he left this life on December 20, 2008, and entered into eternity with his heavenly Father. He was greatly blessed of God throughout his many years, and he, in turn, used God’s rich blessings to bless others.
Andrew was a devoted family man, and throughout his years enjoyed spending time with his wife of 67 years, his son and daughter-in-law, his four grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. Somehow he passed on a love for trees, even though he never had one at his own home in Lodi. His son and wife planted 18 trees on their property, and one of his grandsons worked for several years for the Sacramento Tree Foundation. Bruce is a charter member of Tree Lodi. The family felt a fitting memorial to Andy would be to plant the Red Maple tree in the Vinewood Community Park in Lodi, for the community to enjoy.
– Submitted by Bruce Schweigerdt, March 2011
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