Marilynn L. Vesely, 87

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Marilynn L. Vesely, Age 87, of Riverside, Calif, formally of Winner, passed away on June 29, 2017 at Riverside Raincross Senior Living.

She was born on April 27, 1930 in Kennebec and had lived in Riverside for 55 years, previously in Moser through grade school, Winner through high school, Vermillion through college where she obtained a BA and Master’s of Arts Degree and Pine Ridge until 1962. She worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Pine Ridge teaching until 1962, BIA Sherman Indian School as a counselor and owner of Arlington Business & Tax Service until 2015. She was a federal enrolled agent. She was a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Riverside.

“Ves” as she was affectionately called, never married, but she “adopted” several children into her heart who think of her as their mother: Yvonne Shields, Penny Giago and Gary Fredericks. They will sorely miss her.

Vernon Leo Lopez Jr., “Brother”, Okan Waste, 39

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Vernon was born on August 13, 1977 in Dallas, Texas, to Vernon Lopez Sr. and Vonna La Pointe Lopez. Vernon was their second child born out of six children. Vernon enjoyed his childhood in Winner, South Dakota, getting involved in everything from Boy Scouts to pitching hard ball in the leagues. He earned the nick name “Smoke” from his baseball comrades for his excellent pitching skill. He also had a nickname “Brother” from his older sister, which he carried for life as everyone called him “Brother”. Vernon made many close friends and relatives in life who said he was a brother to them. Growing up Vernon always worked to help his family and acquire his vehicles he loved to work on as his father taught him mechanics.

Vernon graduated from Winner High School and was the youngest in his class at the age of 17 years. He moved to California shortly after and has resided on the Santa Ysabel Reservation, where he is a tribal member. Vernon returned home to South Dakota at times and participated in his traditional ceremonies. He was a Sun Dancer and Singer. Vernon was employed last by the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel as Water Master. He took care of their water system with his great math skills and great pride. Vernon was a single parent to his two beautiful children. He loved them with all his heart and would do anything for them. He and his children were waiting for a new home. He was so excited and grateful for their home which he witnessed the preparations for arrival, days before his passing. The new home brought such joy and happiness to him.

In the days before his passing he received so much love by his family and friends through prayers and concern. When he passed away so many shared such beautiful memories and loving words about him. He was a humble man and a loving father, son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend, loved and respected by all. He will be greatly missed.

Russ Whitley, 81

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Russell Whitley, age 81, passed away with his family by his side on June 26, 2017, at his home in Winner, SD.

Russell Oliver Whitley was born on April 23, 1936 in Burke, SD. Russ was the eldest of 5 children born to Oliver (Spec) and Dorthy (Ticknor) Whitley. Russ attended school in Nebraska and graduated from Naper High School. At the age of 15 he had his first job hauling propane for his dad. He then worked road construction in the summers and hauled propane in the winters. On Oct. 29, 1954, Russ married his life partner & high school sweetheart Sandra Jons in Bonesteel, SD. They were blessed with 4 daughters and 1 son. In 1962 Russ and Sandy moved to Burke where Russ began his career in the beer business, first as a semidriver for B & M Distributing then into the management position where their joint careers in the beer business began. Russ also was the first paid Deputy Sheriff for Gregory Countys. In 1967 B & M Distributing sold to Ober Torvik of Pierre. He moved the business to Winner and renamed it Torvik Distributing, managed by Russ (selling only Hamm’s and Falstaff and eventually Miller brands). This is also the same time that Russ moved his family to Winner. In 1969, Myron and Mable Kusler of Pierre, bought Torvik Distributing renaming it Whitley Central Distributing, still managed by Russ. In 1973 Russ and Sandy became the proud owners of Whitley Central Distributing, leaving the name the same. Also in 1973, Pabst brands were added. 1974, G. Heileman brands were added. In 1978 they purchased Nesbitt Bottling Co. acquiring the Schlitz brands. In 1982, Whitley Central Dist. became the first Coors Distributor appointed in the state of SD. In 2000, Mikes Hard Lemonade brands were added and 2001, Smirnoff brands were added. Through the years more brands were added including many imports, water, pop, and meat snacks.

He was a past President of the South Dakota Beer Wholesalers Association May 1, 2008, Russ and Sandy sold the business to Jerome Beverage in Pierre and retired after 46 years in the beer business.

Russ and Sandy enjoyed camping and traveling and spending time following their grandchildren to all their sporting events. They travelled to most of the states including Alaska and Hawaii and also traveled abroad to the Bahamas, Mediterranean, Turkey, Italy, Venice, and Greece.

Russ joined the Winner Volunteer Fire Dept. on Aug. 1, 1968 and served tirelessly for 28 years, 6 of those years serving as Assistant Fire Chief. After the sale of the beer businesses and retirement in 2008 of which Russ enjoyed immensely he continued serving by becoming a volunteer to drive veterans to doctor appointments to various parts of the state. Russ did this until a year ago when his health kept him from doing so.

Russ was also a member of the WELS Synods of various Lutheran Churches in Nebraska and South Dakota.

Mike Schwinler, 60

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On June 27 we said goodbye to our husband, father and best friend. Mike was surrounded by the four people who meant the most to him his wife Jodi, his daughters Megan Lehmkuhl and Molle Palmer and his son Merlin Schwinler when he decided he was ready to see his parents again.

Mike did not want a service.  He did ask that everyone have a drink and remember the good times we all had with him.

The family will have a private get together at a later date.

Lloyd Stukel, 77

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Lloyd Thomas Stukel was born on Oct. 29, 1939. Lloyd spent his very early years on a farm just outside of Gregory, SD. He is the oldest of six children. When he was very young, the family moved into Gregory for a short time. They then moved to Minneapolis where Lloyd spent most of his life.

Lloyd attended the Michael Doweling School for handicapped children. He loved school. He learned to button his clothes, walk, and read, among other things. He attended school until age 16 when he began working for United Cerebral Palsy. He had worked for several companies through UPC including putting together Tonka trucks, counting store cents-off coupons, and putting together fabric sample books. He worked for UPC for 30 years and says, “I loved every minute of it.”

Lloyd and his mother moved to the Winner area in 1985 after his father passed away. Lloyd spent many hours visiting friends, helping his mother around the house and watching sports. Years ago he rescued an abandoned puppy he called Pepper. When he was still home, Lloyd would spend time driving in his electric wheelchair, and walking Pepper at the same time.

Lloyd was a long time member of the Winner Regional Long Term Care Facility. He enjoyed watching his favorite team, the Twins, on TV, church services, the many musical events, and any opportunity to dress up in costume. In fact, Lloyd was one of the winners in a Halloween costume contest. Lloyd is best known around there as someone who likes to play harmless, yet fun tricks on the staff. Winner Regional Long Term Care Facility was very happy to name Lloyd the Resident of the Month in 2003.

Kristi Olson, 38

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Kristi Lynn Olson was born July 31, 1978 in Winner, South Dakota to Jerald Lee Olson and Gay Lynn Olson. She was the younger sister of Jamie Lee Olson. Kristi was later joined by two half brothers, Joshua Olson and Justin Olson.

Kristi graduated from Burke High School in 1996. She lived the majority of her life on her grandparent’s farm in Dallas, South Dakota. She had a very strong connection with her grandmother, Lee Barry, and cared for her for many years. She loved living and raising her children on that same farm.

Kristi’s whole world revolved around her seven children. Her eldest daughter, Samantha, was born in 1997, followed by Layne, Matilynn, Kadyn, Vanessa, Marisa and Jake. She was an amazing mother who did everything in her power to provide for her children. She supported them in their extra-curricular activities and encouraged them to try new things.

Kristi was an extremely hard worker. She worked multiple jobs to support her family. She was always willing to help anyone who needed it. There wasn’t
anything she wouldn’t do to help those she cared about. Kristi had a heart of gold and lived her life to the fullest. She also loved spending time outdoors with the family, planting and caring for her flowers, and also gardening.

Kristi also had a way with animals. As a little girl, she loved all animals. During her teenage years she had a deep connection with horses. Anytime she could she would go out riding. As a young adult she began raising St. Bernards, which she did for many years. She even made a little enclosed area she called “Turtle Haven” where she put the turtles she found on the road. She wanted to make sure the kids had turtles to race over the 4th of July. Kristi always had pets around for her children which included horses, dogs, cats, goats, sheep and the turtles.

Kristi passed away on June 1, 2017 at the age of 38.

Carlean Mae Stern, 80

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Carlean Mae Stern was born a twin on March 30, 1937 to Eddie and Alta (Burdick) Nordstrom at Winner, South Dakota. She and her twin brother Carl, had an older brother, Edward, and a younger brother, Robert. She left to go to her heavenly home on June 13, at the Winner Regional Health Care Facility at Winner, South Dakota at the age of 80.

Most of her young life, she lived on a farm east of Winner. On Dec. 29, 1961, she married Gene Stern of Johnstown, Nebraska. After their marriage, they lived in Ainsworth, Nebraska. Later, they moved to Johnstown, Nebraska and resided on a farm northeast of Johnstown. They farmed and raised many hogs. In May of 2005, she lost her husband Gene. Later, she moved to Winner, South Dakota. When she broke her hip, she moved into the Winner Regional Long Term Care Center and later to the Golden Prairie Manor, where she lived a couple of years. When her health failed, she moved back into the Winner Long Term Care Center for the last couple of weeks of her life.

Father Lyle Fay Martin, 91

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Father Lyle Fay Martin, 91, died Friday, June 16, 2017, at Ft. Meade VA Hospital.

He was born March 26, 1926, in Erwin, SD to Joseph and Hannah (Munger) Martin. His father was an Irish orphan who came out west on an orphan train, and Fr. Lyle spent many years searching for his ancestors. After graduation in 1944, he enlisted in the US Army, and his very first combat experience was in the Battle of the Bulge. He received the Bronze Star and many other awards for his bravery there. He never forgot General Patton’s command to be the best soldier and return home to be the best citizen he could be. Fr. Lyle was a proud American and a true patriot.

After discharge, he returned home and married Jean Larson. They had four children, and he worked for Northwestern Bell telephone company as a lineman, salesman, and manager for 18 years. In 1964, he became a salesman for Equitable Life in Gregory, achieving million-dollar roundtable his first year. Later he became a broker/owner of Martin Real Estate in Sturgis and Belle Fourche.

Lyle’s faith was always strong, and after the death of his son, Bob, in 1983, Lyle made the choice to become a deacon in the Episcopal Church, and from there he began his ascent towards priesthood. At age 63, he entered the seminary, and upon his ordainment, he served the parishes of Mobridge and Gettysburg. Later, he served in Winner, Watertown, Sidney and Blair, NE, and ended his career in Gregory, at the age of 85.

As a priest, Fr. Lyle did many great works. He strongly believed that his mission was to serve his fellow man. In many of the towns where he served, he started thrift stores and food banks to assist the less fortunate in his community. For this work, he was recognized as Citizen of the Year in Sidney, Blair, and Winner, and in 2016, Governor Daugaard proclaimed March 26 Father Lyle Martin Day. Lyle was the “idea” man. Like many people, he had great ideas, but the difference is, he always followed through, never stopping until he accomplished what he had set out to do. Lyle will be most remembered for is his charismatic sense of humor. He was a proud Irishman and a great story teller; one could never predict what he would say next, but he always got the punch line right.

In 2006, Lyle married Moyra Pospisil of Winner, and they moved to Gregory. They had ten happy years together until her passing in 2016. As a priest Lyle officiated the weddings, baptisms, and funerals of many people throughout South Dakota, but he was especially proud to officiate the weddings of his grandchildren and baptisms of his great-grandchildren.

Dennis Green, 72

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Dennis Dale Green, age 72, of Winner, SD, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 7, 2017.

Dennis was born June 21, 1944 in Kadoka, SD as the only child to Dale & Anna Green. He went to White River schools through high school. He attended the University of South Dakota and graduated with a major in Music Education. While at USD he met and married the love of his life, Josephine Julia Hahn on June 8, 1969.

Dennis taught music in Platte, Waubay & Alexandria before moving to Winner in 1976 to work for Job Service, then to Mission to work for Department of Social Services. He then worked in Winner for the Winner City Jail until his retirement.
Dennis was a member of the Winner United Methodist Church, a member of the Winner Masonic Lodge #166, member of Roseland Chapter of The Order of Eastern Star Chapter 113, also Associate Bethel Guardian of Job’s Daughters International Bethel #21.

The joys in his life included spending time with his children and grandchildren, hunting and fishing, helping with the community playhouse both in acting and set work, playing and singing music in many forms.

His wife, children and grandchildren will miss his storytelling, his laughter, his words of wisdom, and constant guidance in always doing the right thing.

Roger W. Paulson, 76

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Paulson was born on Sept. 9, 1940, on the family ranch near Mission, South Dakota, the son of Clarence and Edna (Breding) Paulson.

He attended country schools in the area and was a 1958 graduate of Todd County High School. He then attended Southern State Teachers College to study auto mechanics. After receiving his diploma he began working for Luter Implement in Valentine.

He was united in marriage to Emma C. Parks in November 1960, at Ainsworth.

In 1967, the couple moved to Doniphan where he began working at Sperry New Holland in Grand Island, later moving to Giltner.

In 1980, he moved north of St. Paul, where he lived the rest of his life.

Roger enjoyed working with and raising cattle and working on old tractors of his own and for others. He collected toy tractors and coins and liked to attend auctions. He loved spending time with his family and having coffee with his friends, where they would try to solve all the problems of the world.