Brookings: Feb. 5, 1939 - June 25, 2024

Robert Pollmann

Posted 7/9/24

Robert Pollmann, 85, formerly of Brookings, passed away on June 25, 2024, in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Memorial services will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2024, at First Lutheran Church in …

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Brookings: Feb. 5, 1939 - June 25, 2024

Robert Pollmann


Robert Pollmann, 85, formerly of Brookings, passed away on June 25, 2024, in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Memorial services will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2024, at First Lutheran Church in Brookings at 10:00 a.m.  Interment will immediately follow the service at the First Lutheran Cemetery Columbarium in Brookings.  A time of fellowship and a meal will be served at the church following interment.  Visitation will be held the evening prior, Friday, July 12, 2024, at Eidsness Funeral Home in Brookings from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m.  A time of sharing memories will take place at 6:30 p.m. the evening of visitation.

Robert J. Pollmann was born February 5, 1939, in Bridgewater, South Dakota to Joseph and Ellen Pollmann.  Robert (Bob) graduated in 1957 from Bridgewater High School where he was active in sports, student council and choir.  He lettered all four years in three different sports: football, basketball, and track and field and was also named homecoming king.

Bob had a love for growing and cooking food which began as a young man, and he learned both from watching his mother in the garden and kitchen. He was never afraid of hard work, and he enjoyed working a variety of jobs throughout high school which helped to pay for college, including digging graves, working in the junkyard, doing carpentry, and building barns.  He even accompanied a traveling doctor in the winters so that he could help shovel if the car got stuck in the snow. When not working, Bob enjoyed spending time with his childhood dog, Rex.

Bob graduated from South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD in 1961 with a B.S. degree and later a Master’s degree in Agricultural Education. He began his career at Brandon Valley High School where he taught Vocational Agriculture and Auto Mechanics.  Bob led Plymouth Troubleshooting contests, and his teams won many times at the state level. He also taught welding and adult classes to local farmers, creating connections which led to his working in the summers, inspecting certified seed fields in much of eastern South Dakota as well as parts of Minnesota, Iowa, and northeast Nebraska. It was during that time that he first became involved with the Crop Improvement Association.

Bob met and married the love of his life, Janice Peck, and they were married in 1962.  Together, they raised five children. They lived in Brandon, South Dakota, and Bob taught for 17 years, earning Teacher of the Year during his tenure. They were active members of Brandon Lutheran Church. He then accepted a position at SDSU and moved the family to Brookings, South Dakota.  He served as manager of Seed Certification Service and Executive Director of the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association, which included teaching a course on Seed and Grain Production and Conditioning.  He served in this role for 26 years before retiring in 2004.  

After retiring, Bob remained active in his gardening, and his backyard garden was well known in the community for its size and the wonderful variety of produce that was grown, not only for the family, but for friends, neighbors and his church. He was a member of First Lutheran Church, and he gave of his time and energy, washing dishes for funerals and cleaning up the cemetery. Bob’s great desire was for his family to know the Lord and embrace a life of faith, and he would regularly ask if we were going to church. His generosity did not stop with garden vegetables or serving at church, but also included shoveling sidewalks for neighbors, helping his adult children with home improvement projects, chopping/stacking wood for friends, and fixing cars.  When not working in the garden, Bob enjoyed golfing, hunting, fishing, and woodworking. Bob made detailed plans and constructed all kinds of gadgets to help around the house or yard.  At the end of the day, you could always find Bob, sitting in his lawn chair in the driveway where he loved to visit with his friends and neighbors.  

In 2013, Janice, his wife of over 50 years, became ill, and most of his early retirement years were spent taking care of her.  Bob’s love and devotion was a shining example of what it means to be true in sickness and in health.  After Jan’s passing, Bob’s focus turned to their children and grandchildren, spending time traveling to each of their homes, as well as joining them on several vacations, including Alaska and Hawaii.

In 2021, Bob was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  He was moved to Arizona to be near family in 2024.  Bob, 85, died tragically on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, in Scottsdale, AZ after walking out of the assisted living facility where he lived.

Bob will be deeply missed by his four children, Bob (Cassandra) Pollmann, Boise, ID, Becky (Brett) Sadler, Scottsdale, AZ, Steve (Amy) Pollmann, Kansas City, MO, Cindi (Quinn) Ginaven, Overland Park, KS, and a daughter-in-law, Amina Pollmann, Scottsdale, AZ; eight grandchildren, Tayte Pollmann, Zain and Zara Pollmann, Austin and Jessica Sadler, Whitney, Caden, and Ava Wilson; three siblings, Gene Pollmann, Ames, IA, James Pollmann, Dell Rapids, SD, and Marilyn Saunders, Hamilton, MT. 

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Ellen Pollmann, his beloved wife, Janice Pollmann, and his son, Daniel Pollmann.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the Alzheimer’s Association to help combat this horrible disease.