Louis Francis Papousek was born October 28, 1924 near Gregory, South Dakota to Joseph B. and Frances (Musilek) Papousek and went to his eternal home on April 11, 2016, at the home of his daughter, Margo Dunn, in Malibu, California. Many people knew him as Louie or Lou. Louis grew up on the family farm near Gregory with his parents and siblings: Agnes, Joe (Joseph C), Bob (Robert), and Donna. Louis lived a full and diverse life filled with adventure and many rewarding experiences. He attended a one-room county schoolhouse which was later moved to Gregory and is now known as the Gregory Historical Schoolhouse. He was a smart student so was able to skip a grade. He left school during the 9th grade, but never stopped learning and trying new things. His parents eventually sold the farm and moved to Burke and opened up a café. His father passed away in 1948 and his mother passed away in 1965, both in Burke.
Louis was a mechanic extraordinaire and could fix anything! He proudly enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served his country during WWII from March 1944 – May 1946 in the Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign as a Motor Machinist’s Mate Second Class. A highlight in Louis’s life was traveling to Washington, D.C. on the Honor Flight in September, 2010 to view the WWII Memorial. Over the years, Louis was a member of the American Legion and Elks Club. Louis and Vera Luree Willuweit started dating after meeting at a dance. In 1948, they made their first trip to California along with his mother, Frances Papousek and future step-father Anton Nikodym. Louis was baptized and confirmed on February 21, 1949 at the Grace Lutheran Church in Burke. He was united in marriage to Vera at the same church on April 17, 1949. To this union, one daughter, Margo, was born one year later. The family continued to embrace the Lutheran faith throughout their years together.
In the early years of their marriage, Louis had numerous jobs including working in the oil fields of Wyoming, as a carpenter, delivering Storz beer in Burke, and working in auto shops in Martin and Winner. In 1959 Louis and Vera sold their house in Winner and followed his brother Bob to Tucson, Arizona. The next summer, Louis took a job at the San Manuel, Arizona copper smelter. In 1962 the family moved to California where Louis became an owner/operator of a Caterpillar tractor, often working for Gary Inglett and with many former South Dakotans. Vera served as his office manager and bookkeeper. Later he invested in a dendrite rock business with Bob Stober. Louis fondly remembered the time that he spent up in the mountains in Beaver, Utah living the life of a “mountain man”, drinking the spring water, breathing in the fresh air, and growing a beard. He enjoyed creating belt buckles, clocks, and other art pieces with the picturesque dendrite rock giving them to family and friends as presents.
In 1990 Louis and Vera retired to Wall, SD. In addition to spending the winter months with their daughter and her family in Malibu, they took many exciting vacation trips ranging from the Butchart Gardens in Vancouver, Canada to the Redwood Forest of California to Cape Canaveral and the Epcot Center in Florida. Vera suffered strokes in 1996 and 2000, so they moved to Silver Threads in Gregory in 2001. Four years later Vera entered the Avera Rosebud Country Care Center. Until Vera’s passing in 2010, Louis was a faithful and loving spouse visiting and feeding Vera almost every day when he was in Gregory. He made sure that there was always cake and ice cream served at the nursing home for her birthday and their anniversary.
Louis continued to spend part of the year with Margo. March, 2011, while in Malibu, Louis suffered a heart attack, but he was determined to recover so that he could attend the 4th of July wedding of his only grandchild, Sean Dunn, to Megan Myer in Dayton, Oregon. One week after returning to Malibu in October, Louis suffered the first of a series of major strokes that required him to receive 24/7 care at Margo’s home until his passing. Visits by family members were the highlight of his final years – especially visits by his remaining sibling, Donna Fode, in person, or via Skype. Niece Patti (Papousek) Ciasca worked as a partner with Margo to care for “Uncle Louie” during his final years. Louis enjoyed fresh and salt water fishing, scuba diving, hunting, being outdoors, and eating. He believed in the value of hard work, perseverance, and commitment to his immediate and extended family. Louis’s smile, generosity, unconditional love and support will be missed by all those who knew him.