The tight-knit community of Webster, South Dakota, is grieving the tragic loss of Derek Zenk, a beloved individual who was a cherished husband, father, son, and friend. Derek’s life was cut short in a heartbreaking accident, leaving behind a legacy of fond memories and an enduring impact on all who had the privilege of knowing him.
Early Life and Education
Derek Joseph Zenk was born on February 3, 1991, in the town of Brookings, South Dakota, to his loving parents, Fred and Cynthia Zenk. Growing up in a nurturing environment, Derek developed a strong foundation rooted in his faith, his family, and his deep love for the community. He received the sacraments of baptism and confirmation at St. John’s Catholic Church in Arlington and Christ the King Catholic Church in Webster, respectively.
Derek’s formative years in Webster had a profound influence on his life. He attended Webster High School, where he not only developed a passion for learning but also discovered his love for agriculture. In 2009, Derek graduated from Webster High School, opening doors for him to pursue higher education. He went on to attend South Dakota State University, where he forged lifelong friendships, created cherished memories, and earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture.
Marriage, Love, and Family
During his time at South Dakota State University, Derek crossed paths with Megan Peters, who would later become his loving wife. Their relationship blossomed over time, and on June 21, 2014, they exchanged vows in a beautiful ceremony at St. Thomas More in Brookings. The couple built their home on the Zenk family farm, a place rich with generational history, and there they nurtured their growing family.
Derek and Megan were blessed with three beautiful children: Sawyer, Sutton, and Sage. With the arrival of their daughter, Baby Girl Zenk, expected in September, their household was filled with abundant love, laughter, and anticipation. Derek treasured every moment he spent with his loved ones, relishing the joys of fatherhood and creating priceless memories.
A Life Devoted to Service
Derek Zenk was a devout Catholic and a man of unwavering faith, actively attending Christ the King Catholic Church. He also dedicated his time and energy to the Knights of Columbus, an organization exemplifying principles of generosity and community service.
Previously, Derek worked at the Natural Resource Conservation Service office in Aberdeen, part of the United States Department of Agriculture. In his role, he applied his knowledge and skills to positively impact both the natural world and agricultural practices, finding fulfilment in his work.
Passion for Fishing and Embracing the Outdoors
Derek’s earliest memories of finding solace and joy in fishing date back to his childhood. What began as a simple childhood activity evolved into a lifelong passion that also served as a form of therapy. Derek found great fulfilment in sharing his love for fishing, organizing outings with close friends, and imparting his knowledge to his young nieces and nephews. Fishing was not just a source of enjoyment for Derek but also a way to connect with nature and find inner peace.
In addition to his love for fishing, Derek wholeheartedly embraced the great outdoors. Tending to the herd, planting trees, and engaging in various outdoor activities with his children brought him immense joy. He particularly cherished the sights of pheasants in their natural habitat.
In conclusion, Derek’s deep reverence for the natural world was contagious, and he shared this passion with all those around him. His legacy lives on, inspiring others to appreciate and protect the wonders of nature.