Joseph L. “Joe” Fott, 82

Funeral services for Joseph L. “Joe” Fott, 82, of Hamill, SD will be 2 p.m., Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at the Hamill Community Hall in Hamill, SD with burial in the Hamill Cemetery at Hamill, SD. 

Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, one hour prior to the funeral, at the Hamill Community Hall in Hamill, SD. 

Joseph Leroy “Joe” Fott passed away peacefully at home in Hamill South Dakota on May 17, 2024.

Joe was born on Nov. 26, 1941 to Joseph and Anna (Fortuna) Fott in Winner South Dakota, joining his siblings brother Lawrence and sister Adeline on the family farm near Hamill South Dakota.

Joe attended North Fairview grade school near Hamill and high school in Winner, SD, graduating from high school in 1959.  He attended Greer Technical Institute in Wilmington, Illinois for diesel and construction mechanics after high school.  Joe joined the South Dakota National Guard and did basic training in Fort Leonard Wood, MO, and served in the Chamberlain South Dakota Guard 200th Engineer Bridge Company until discharge in 1970.

Joe and Judith Mae Gordon were married on May 8, 1965 and had two children, Joseph Wade in 1966 and Joy Michele in 1969.

Joe spent his entire life farming and ranching on the family farm in Hamill.   Joe said that he had not worked a day in his life because he enjoyed everything involved with the farm.  Joe especially loved anything with an engine and wheels or tracks, and spent many long days in the seat of a tractor with a smile on his face and a steady hand on the steering wheel working on the farm.  Joe was happy to share his knowledge and offer a helping hand to his neighbors and friends.

Joe was a very outgoing and social person, meeting people and making new friends wherever he went.  Joe loved to take road trips when a good rain would pause the farming, wife Judy would hear “how soon can you be ready to leave?” and had many adventures while visiting many of the western states he would say “I wonder what is down that road?  Lets go find out.”

Joe loved to hunt and started hunting at a young age.  Joe and his family shared their love of hunting and the bounty of the Hamill farm with friends from near and far, making lifelong friends and lasting memories in the fields and hills.  In the late 1970’s, Joe hosted then South Dakota governor Bill Janklow for a pheasant hunt on the farm, this hunt was the start of what became the South Dakota Governor’s Hunt that Joe and his family helped to host for 25 years.

Later in life, Joe was not able to continue actively working on the farm due to physical limitations.  He did not want to retire from the farm, and always wanted to be out monitoring the equipment, crops and cows, and sharing his experiences and knowledge with neighbors and daughter Joy who is operating the family farm.

Joe is preceded in death by his parents Joseph Fott and Anna (Fortuna) Fott, sister Adeline Hight, brother Lawrence as well as his uncle John Fott and aunt Bessie (Fott) Petr and many aunts and uncle from the Fortuna side of the family.

Joe is survived by wife Judy (Gordon) Fott, son Joseph Wade and wife Wendy and children Joseph Stephen and Anna Helena, daughter Joy Michele and spouse Faye Heinis and Cynthia.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Joe’s name to Hamill Community Hall or the Tripp County 4H.

Vonnie Robbins, 84

Vonnie Robbins, 84, of Hamill, SD passed away on Saturday, May 11, 2024 at the Winner Regional Long-Term Care Facility in Winner, SD. 

Funeral services were held at the Masham Baptist Church in Pawnee, OK on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at 10 a.m.  Burial followed in the Masham Cemetery.  A visitation was held on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at the Winner Orthodox Presbyterian Church from 4:30-5:30 p.m.  with a prayer service beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Vonnie was born April 5, 1940 in Pawnee, OK to Harold and Awilda Laird.  She grew up on the family farm attending country school and graduated from Pawnee High School in 1958.  She attended Oklahoma Baptist University for a time before marrying Wayne Robbins Feb. 27, 1960.  They were blessed with 3 children Kathy, Dawn and Amy.

They lived on the Robbins family farm in Pawnee, OK until 1976 when the family moved to Hamill, SD where they lived and farmed the remainder of their lives.

Vonnie was an avid seamstress.  She was active in the church first at the Masham Baptist Church in Oklahoma then the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Hamill.  For most of her adult life she played the organ or the piano for church services.

Vonnie is survived by her daughters Kathy (Steve) Morford of Spearfish, SD and Amy Gregg of Carter, SD.  10 Grandchildren Kristin (Derek) Meyers of Fort Pierre, SD, Kellie Morford of Kingman, AZ, Kara Morford of Las Vegas, NV, Dusty (Jessica) Adams of Hamill, SD, Stacey Adams of Pawnee, OK, Justis (Elisabeth) Gregg of Carter, SD, Jaynee Gregg of Madison, SD, Jentry, Jude and Jett Gregg of Carter, SD. Great grandchildren Kooper and Ella Meyers, Gunner Adams, Kacen and Liam Adams, Jackston Gregg and baby boy Adams coming in June, her brother Gordon (Sherri) Laird and son-in-law Rick Adams.

Vonnie was preceded in death by her husband Wayne Robbins, daughter Dawn Adams, her parents and sister Linda Leforce.

Wendell Ray Burtz, 67

Wendell Ray Burtz, 67, of rural Winner went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at the Avera McKennen Hospital in Sioux Falls. After dealing with heart problems for the past several months, Wendell suffered a cardiac arrest on May 11 at his regular Saturday morning Bible study in Winner.

Funeral service will be held on Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 10 a.m.  at the First Baptist Church in Winner, SD.  Burial will follow in the Winner City Cemetery.  A visitation will be held on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at the First Baptist Church in Winner from 6-7 p.m. with a prayer service beginning at 7 p.m.

The third child of Raymond and Berniece Burtz of rural Winner, Wendell was born on July 26, 1956 at the Baptist Hospital of Winner. He attended Greenwood School and graduated from Winner High School in 1975. After graduation he worked at various jobs in the Winner area and lived for a short time in California. He attended Oak Hills Bible Institute in Bemidji, Minn. from 1978-1980.

After that he worked at various jobs, including as a farm hand and an over-the-road truck driver, and then moved to Rapid City where he worked for Lien Metals for several years and also at Harvey’s Lock Shop. While living there, he became a member of Rimrock Evangelical Free Church.

On Feb. 14, 1987 he married Beth Nordeen in Rapid City and to this union were born Charles Wendell in 1989 and Kjerstin Lee in 1990.

In 1991 the family moved back to Winner where Wendell worked at the hospital and was an active member of the Evangelical Free Church of Winner. During those years he started Black Hills Flavored Honey, adding various fruit flavorings to pure locally produced South Dakota honey. The product was sold at gift shops around the region and was even featured at Bear Country at Disneyland.

In 2001 he started Integrity Locks and would spend the next 23 years of his career installing Kaba Ilco electronic locks at hotels and other facilities across the Midwest and beyond. He retired from the lock business in the fall of 2023.

A small engine and auto mechanic since his high school days, Wendell enjoyed restoring cars and building hot rods and at the time of his death was working on building a 1932 Chevy Coupe. He was a frequent attendee at car shows around the region and often attended Back to the 50s in St. Paul, Minn. in June.

He also had a lifelong fascination with aviation, owned aircraft and had taken lessons to become a private pilot. He has attended the air show, EAA AirVenture, in Oskosh, Wisc. almost annually over the past several years.

Wendell was also a builder, and constructed the straw bale house and shop overlooking the White River in northern Tripp County where he was living at the time of his passing.

Growing up in a musical family, Wendell was also a lover of music whose musical tastes ranged from the soft rock of the 1970s and 80s to the Christian music of Selah, Steven Curtis Chapman and Jamie Slocum.

Over the past 10 years Wendell had grown greatly in his faith and was an avid student of the Bible, often listening to the Scriptures being read by an app on his phone. He also had a deep appreciation for the preaching of Pastor John MacArthur, Ray Comfort and Paul Washer. One of his favorite biblical themes was “repentance.” For the past several years Wendell has been a member of Central Plains Evangelical Free Church in Chamberlain and was made an elder of the church in early 2024.

Wendell is survived by his son Charles of Winner; daughter Kjerstin Nielsen and her husband, Matt of Burlington, Wisc.; step-daughter, Teresa Nordeen Davis and her husband, Adam of Rosemount, Minn.; one granddaughter, Emberlee Nielsen; one step-granddaughter, Karli Davis; one step-grandson, Timothy Davis; brothers Durwin (Gwendy) of Massillon, Ohio and Ronald (Tammy) of Central City, Neb.; sister Koreen (Dennis) Caldwell of Macomb, Ill. and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and an unborn infant granddaughter

David Jessop Skewes MD, 93

David Jessop Skewes MD, 93, passed away peacefully at his home in Dublin, Va.,  on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

 He was a member of the Dublin Presbyterian Church and a former captain in the U. S. Air Force. David graduated from the Medical College of Virginia in 1956, and began his medical practice in Coalwood, W.Va. He later moved to Dublin, Va., where he practiced until his retirement in 1999. After retirement he enjoyed many years of grouse and pheasant hunting, and wildlife management and conservation in Virginia and South Dakota. Known to everyone as “Doc”, he enjoyed spending time with his family and many friends, as well as his beloved dogs. He will truly be missed by all who knew him, please hold tight to all the memories.

He was preceded in death by his parents, William Jessop and Effie Anna Gardner Skewes.

Survivors include his wife and sweetheart of over 46 years, Sherry S. Skewes of Dublin; sons, David Skewes of Dublin, Dr. Matt Skewes (Tara) of Radford, and John F. Smith (Tammi) of Suffolk; daughter, Erin Lattanze (Greg) of Front Royal; nephew, William Gardner “Rusty” Skewes of Mooresville; grandchildren, Jessop, Sable, Jacob, Drew, Nick, Tom, Teaghan, Miranda, Audrey, Sophia, Max, and Josie; great grandson, Danny; very special friends and caretakers, Tommy and  Lisa Akers; beloved dogs, Savannah, Sue and Hank; and many other relatives and friends.

The family will receive friends from 4 until 7 p.m. on Friday, May 24, 2024, at the Mullins Funeral Home in Radford. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 25, 2024, at Dublin Presbyterian Church, 409 Church St., Dublin, VA, with Rev. Tim Boyd and Rev. Mary Ann Armbrister officiating. Graveside services with full military honors at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, at the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery.

Immediately following the funeral service on Saturday, May 25th, there will be a Celebration of Life Luncheon at the Skewes residence, 5892 Hanks Avenue, Dublin, VA.

The Skewes family is in the care of the Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory in Radford.

Play auditions are May 28

Winner Community Playhouse will hold auditions for a children’s summer production May 28 from 9 -11 a.m. at the playhouse.

Students who have completed grades 2nd to 7th can audition.

“Gravestone Manor” is the name of the play to be presented on June 7. There will be a matinee at 4 p.m. on June 7 and a 7 p.m. evening performance.

Sarah Taggart is the director.

Practice will start May 29 and will be held every weekday from 9 a.m. to noon at the playhouse.

Persons who have questions an call Taggart or email her at

Memorial Day Closings

Government offices in Winner will be closed on Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day.

The Tripp County Courthouse will be closed as well as the Tripp County Library.

The city of Winner office will be closed on Memorial Day.

All state and federal offices in Winner will not be open for business.

The Winner Post Office will be closed and there will be no mail delivery.

All financial institutions in Winner and Colome will not be open for business on Monday, May 27.

Winner Senior Citizens Center will not serve a  noon meal on May 27.

Southern Plains Behavioral Health Services will be closed on Memorial Day.

The Winner Advocate will be closed on Memorial Day.