Donald R. Williamson Sr., 69

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Donald was born on June 15, 1947 at Sioux City, Iowa to James “Tiny” and Lucille (Bertram) Williamson. He attended Avon High School in South Dakota. He entered the US Navy during the Vietnam Conflict and served as a purser on the USS Kitty Hawk. His first wife was Joyce Hagel (Cahoy) and to this union 5 children were born.

Donald later married Michele Holdsworth on June 29, 2012. Don was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Friend, NE. Donald believed his greatest achievements in life were his family. He sacrificed and worked hard to be the best husband, father, and grandfather that he could be. Donald spent countless hours and many sleepless nights traveling to always be there for his children when they were young. He was affectionately known by his grandchildren as “Grandpa Bowzer”.

Ruth Vavra, 88

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Ruth Clara (Stellwag) Vavra was born November 21, 1927 on the family farm south of Gregory, SD to Hans and Clara (Faatz) Stellwag, the fourth of ten brothers and sisters in the family. Ruth completed school to the eighth grade.

Ruth started working for Buches, then located on Main Street Gregory. Ruth married Richard Vavra in Colome on October 4, 1948, and they lived on the family homestead south of Winner for two years. This is where their first son, Richard, was born. They moved to Max Creek, MO where they bought a small farm and their second son, Dean, was born during this time. They returned to South Dakota and began farming north of Dallas, where their last child, Dan, was born. In 1967 they moved into Gregory. They owned the Cozy Clean Laundromat and Ruth worked at Buches until 1989. She also worked at Tall Paul’s convenience store.

Ruth was very active in the Gregory Legion Auxiliary for many years. Ruth lived at Silver Threads until January 2015 and then moved to Firesteel Healthcare Center where she passed away on July 2, 2016 at the age of 88 years.

Eileen Allibone, 87

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Kathryn Eileen Nolan was born May 6, 1929 on the family farm north of Plankinton, South Dakota to Thomas P. and Mary Naomi (Sexton) Nolan.

Eileen attended rural grade school at the Nolan Grove School. Following the death of her father Thomas in 1942, the family remained on the farm until moving to Plankinton in 1945. Eileen graduated from Plankinton High School in 1948 and was Class Valedictorian.

On May 15, 1951 Eileen married Barclay Allibone. The Allibones moved from Plankinton following Barclay’s career with the U.S. Interior Department and settled in Winner, South Dakota in 1953 where they made their residence for the next 60+ years. From this union, two sons were born; David Barclay (Sioux City, Iowa) and Michael Alexander (Kearney, Nebraska). The Allibone’s were also blessed with five grandchildren Emily (Mason) Wolzen of Omaha, Nebraska, Patrick (Kendra) Allibone of Shawnee, Kansas, Sarah (Eric) Herth of Farmington, New Mexico, Amanda Allibone of Sioux City, Iowa, and Matthew Allibone of Kearney, Nebraska) and nine great grandchildren (Zachary, Thomas, Ava, Allyson, Ethan, Audrey, Eli, Olivia, and Baby Herth #3 due in January).

Eileen worked for the U.S Department of Agriculture ASCS for 36 years retiring in 1990. Eileen was a member of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Winner since 1953 and active in numerous service organizations in Winner including the Catholic Daughters, Epsilon Sigma Alpha, American Legion Auxiliary, and BPO Does. She was a charter member of the Winner Does Drove. Eileen also enjoyed many other activities such as bowling, traveling across the country for various Elks activities, and attending her grandchildren’s events such as graduations, wrestling tournaments, and dance recitals. As a young girl on the farm, she enjoyed caring for the cats. She was an avid fan of the Winner Pheasants minor league baseball team in the 60’s and 70’s and loved her Notre Dame Irish football. Purple was her favorite color. Eileen was extremely proud of her Irish heritage.

Judith Leone Tobin (Larsgaard), 66

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Judy (Larsgaard) Tobin was born to Roy and Hazel (Sorum) Larsgaard on April 23, 1950 in Canton, South Dakota. She was baptized and confirmed at Bethany Lutheran Church, Fairview SD. Judy was raised on the family farm in Lincoln County and attended Fairview Center through the eighth grade, and graduated from Canton High School in 1968. She then attended the University of South Dakota where she met her future husband Tom Tobin. Tom and Judy were married at Bethany Lutheran Church on November 28, 1970. The couple continued to live in Vermillion until 1973 when Tom graduated from law school and they moved to Winner and Tom opened his law office. Judy worked part time in the law office and was a homemaker for their growing family.

Over the years, Judy volunteered and was involved in various community organizations, including the Arts Council, the American Cancer Society and ESA. She loved her weekly bowling league and ladies coffee group. She enjoyed playing tennis with Tom and softball and racquetball with friends. As her five children grew up, Judy loved attending all of the sporting events and other activities they were in. She enjoyed substitute teaching, working with pre-schoolers and supporting community events. She also loved to read, play the piano and cheer for the Packers.

Her Christian faith and family were the most important parts of her life. Judy lived for her children, grandchildren and spending time as a family. She was a great cook and proud of her Norwegian heritage. She enjoyed road trips, hunting, shopping and especially Christmas. It was her favorite time of year. Judy loved to bake, decorate every room and celebrate with everyone.

Dean Keith, 75

Dean Keith Obit

Whether you knew him as “the Old Farmer,” the “Ugly” from “The Good, Bad and Ugly” weightlifting club, or simply as “Mr. Keith, sir,” when you met him in a school hallway, Dean Keith made an impression wherever he went.

Dean was born July 9, 1940, to Ferdinand S. and Joyce Ann (Christensen) Keith in Gregory, South Dakota. He graduated from Gregory High School in 1958, with a reputation as an all-around athlete.

Football sent him to Huron College, where he played the sport with competitive passion for four years, earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary math and physical education, and met his dearest love, Gladys Von Behren, of Wentworth, SD.

The two married in 1961 and started life together as teachers in Crofton, NE, and Elkpoint, SD. Daughter Caroline was born in 1964 and son Greg in 1967. From the beginning, his family was a top priority, whether he was supporting music lessons, leading a baseball team, taking the whole family on a camping trip, or driving Gladys around the countryside to look for pheasants and deer. He welcomed son-in-law Doug and daughter-in-law Jaymee with his big heart and typical sense of humor, and he took tremendous pride and pleasure in spending time with his grandsons Cody and Zachary Keith.

Dean received a master’s degree in school administration in 1965 and built a career in education officially as a math teacher, driver’s education instructor, coach, and principal. Informally, he became a mentor and friend to hundreds of teenagers who responded to his personal motto of “Honesty and Mutual Respect”. He worked with students and their families in Armour, SD, Gillette, WY, Custer, SD, and Winner, SD, before retiring to Worland, WY, in 2002.
While in Worland, he and Gladys spent their retirement as part-time employees for King’s CarpetOne, where Dean shared his unique brand of humor and leadership with the King family and the store’s customers for several years. He also had time in Worland to develop interests in turning wood and creating tile mosaics, and he shared the results with many family members and friends.

In 2014, he and Gladys drove to Alaska and moved to a home in Kasilof where they could live in the same time zone as their children and grandsons. He learned to fish the Peninsula’s rivers thanks to a new friend and had terrific success, including his first king salmon catch.

In fact, much of the time he spent with his immediate and extended family, and his friends, involved doing something outdoors that would lead to meat for the table, pictures for the album, and stories to tell over and over. That included fishing adventures on the Missouri River, camping and backpacking trips throughout the Black Hills and Bighorn and Wind River Mountains, and hunting jaunts across Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota and Alaska. He respected wildlife and followed a strict personal code of sportsmanship and stewardship, and he instilled that respect for the land in his children, grandsons, and other hunting and fishing partners.

A rare form of leukemia claimed his body on June 26, 2016, but his spirit and stories endure, especially when shared over a cup of coffee. He took his black.

Harold Larson, 92

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Harold Larson, age 92, of Hamill, passed away on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 at the Winner Regional Healthcare Center. Funeral Services were held Monday, July 11, 2016 at the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Winner. Burial followed at the Winner City Cemetery.
He was born June 18, 1924 at the family farm north of Hamill. He attended school through 6th grade on the White River and 7th grade through 10th grade at Reliance.
After that he went back to help on the farm. He and 2 of his brothers formed a partnership. Soon after he was drafted into World War II where he served in Washington, D.C. and Hawaii. Some duties there were to guard the Japanese prisoners.

After being discharged he returned home to do what he truly loved, farming, ranching, and breeding horses with his brothers and sister. After the 2 brothers passed he and Irene retired and moved outside of Winner for about 1 year and then decided to move into Winner, built a new house in 1988 and moved there in 1989. Irene and Harold enjoyed living there together until her death in 2004.

He enjoyed many hobbies including wood working projects, bowling, playing cards, and visiting.

Hazel Sondergard, 86

hazel sondergard obit

Hazel was born on January 19, 1930 to Frank and Jessie (Johnson) Hrabanek. She was born in Winner, SD at the home of her Aunt and Uncle, Esther and Reinhold Woidneck. Her father purchased a new 1930 Ford Model “A” to take her home. They lived in Tripp County, Colome, SD.

Hazel attended Pleasant View grade school all 8 years and graduated from Colome High School in 1947. She went on to attend National College of Business and graduated from there with a degree in business.

On April 15, 1951 she was united in marriage to Fredrick (Fritz) Kaiser. To this union 4 children were born: Glenda, Kathy, Darrel, and Larry. They lived in Winner for two years and then moved to the farm they purchased in 1955. In 1966 they purchased Frontier Motors in Winner, SD. Hazel worked there as a bookkeeper until 2007 when she retired.

She married Jack Sondergard on August 30, 1985 and moved to his farm by Hamill, SD. After he died in 2006, she moved back to Winner.

She was baptized and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Winner and is now a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Winner. She was a lifetime member of ESA International, American Legion Auxiliary, and VFW Auxiliary, and is current member of the Centennial Quilt Guild.

Hazel loved to sew, making clothing for all of her family, sewing many quilts. She also did daily crosswords, reading, crocheting, baking, and canning. Vegetable and flower gardening was another passion of Hazel’s.

Richard “Dick” O’Bryan, 80

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Dick was born November 8th 1935 on a rural farm near Mosher to Boyd & Doshia [Eastin] O’Bryan. Dick was the 4 from youngest in a family of 12, which likely prepared him for a life of sharing. The O’Bryan family moved to a farm south of Winner in southern McNeely township in the mid 1940’s. Dick attended rural elementary school as well as rural church at Danton. Dicks early years were spent enjoying the rural lifestyle involving a large neighborhood and gatherings at Dog Ear Lake which was the social hub for the area.
Dick attended & graduated from winner high school in 1954 his high school years were also spent working at the Westside as well as courting his future wife of 60+ years Mavis Pettit. Dick and Mavis were married at Danton Catholic Church south of Winner on July 7th 1955. The next 60 years were spent enjoying each other as well as raising a family of 5.
Dick & Mavis purchased their home farm south of Winner shortly after marriage and together worked to improve and enlarge that farm Dick spent hours doing custom work as well as wage earner while Mavis took care of the farmstead duties involving milking, hogs, and chickens to assist with income.
Dicks early career years were spent in the auction business which also led to involvement in the local livestock auctions. He spent many hours at the winner livestock auction and actually helped put in one of the first line fences at the present day location. He was also involved with Gregory livestock auction. His work week sometimes involved leaving on Thursday for Gregory, returning late and then spend Friday –Saturday at Winner for sale and loadout.
As a ringman & auctioner, Dick thoroughly believed in the auction way whether it involved selling something for the maximum amount or even finding a bargain he always felt auction was the best way to determine value. He enjoyed meeting people and doing business the exciting auction way.
Dick spent his later career years in the real estate /insurance business which was based upon the many people he had already done business with through auctions. He became a salesman for the Lenker agency in the early 70’s and eventually purchased the business, renaming it “The O’Bryan Agency”. He always enjoyed putting a good deal together for both parties buyer and seller and took pride in his successes.
Dick’s off farm career and success as well as Mavis /family support on farm allowed them to expand and improve their farm from a very meager start to a comfortable yet manageable size and cowherd to match until health forced him into retirement.
Dick enjoyed the outdoors whether it involved hunting, fishing, gardening, or simply checking the cows. He was involved from the beginning with the Clearfield ball diamond and spent many hours in the early years when it was truly a pasture and later with Colome as his children became involved with school activities there. Whether it was coaching, umpiring, announcing or simply watching dick attended many sports activities enjoying a good game and sportsmanship but loving baseball & softball. Dicks early years of sharing with siblings set the stage for the rest of his life. He always seemed to have something to share whether it was garden produce, some eggs, a mess of fresh fish, or simply some help carried him throughout his life, but mostly he enjoyed sharing a story.

Donna Houghtaling, 73


Donna, 73, passed away on July 2nd, in the care of Jill and family, in Ideal, SD. Donna was diagnosed with Lymphoma Cancer in late February. Jill took her in their home on June 4th to be cared for. Hospice aided Donna until the time of her passing.

Donna was born to Earl and Kate (Zindler) Maher of Rapelje, MT, on May 8th, 1943 in Big Timber, MT. At a younger age, Kate discovered that Donna did not respond to the noise of the pots and pans that fell while she was watching the television. So, she tipped toed behind her back and clanged them again, no response. They took her to the doctor and discovered that she was deaf with no nerves in her ears. They believed the reason for the deafness was her mother had the German Measles while she was pregnant. When she became school age, her folks had to take her to the Deaf & Blind School in Great Falls, MT. While Donna attended school, her parents farmed at Reed Point, MT. This was her home away from home till she graduated in 1962. They communicated with their daughter by writing and made up their own sign language. Donna had a passion for horses. She had no fear of being alone with horses or riding horses even though there were lots of snakes where they lived. They had a dog that would lead her around to avoid them. After Donna graduated she came home and lived with her folks who now lived in Gallatin Gateway, MT. While living there, she met Paul Haoughtaling who also lived in that area. She married Paul in 1965. They lived on Little Bear Road, in Gallatin Gateway. Donna loved showing her horse and was involved in showing from 1970 to 1975. She received many ribbons and trophies. 10 years later, they were blessed with a daughter. She began to teach Jill sign language at 18 months of age. In 1983 they got divorced when Jill was 7 years old. Then a year later Donna and Jill moved into Bozeman, MT, with Donna’s parents. April through June 1986 they lived in Silesia, MT, as a caretaker. They then moved back to Bozeman until Jill graduated from high school in 1995. Donna became involved in the Gallatin Co. fair as well as the Montana Winter Fair from 1983 through 1994, where she did a lot of volunteering and entering in open class. She has received many ribbons on baked items as well as arts and crafts. From 1995 to 1998 Donna lived in Laurel, MT. During those years she entered projects at the Yellowstone Co. Fair in Billings, MT. She worked at Ricci’s Thrifty in Laurel, MT. In 1998 to 2013 she lived in Belgrade, MT. Donna continued to enter projects at the Gallatin Co. Fair and the Montana fair from 1998 to 2006. She had several jobs: 2000-2002 at Trinity Lutheran Daycare, in 2002 for 5 months for a personal care giver and 2002 and 2006 at McDonald’s.

Donna was involved in many clubs: Wilson Bear Ladies Aides, Gallatin Saddle Club, and the Gallatin Association of the Deaf (GAD). Donna was a member for the Montana Association of the Deaf for 17 years.

Donna enjoyed horseback riding, dancing, spending time with her deaf friends and family, singing songs in church, having a potluck gathering, playing games, fishing gardening, canning, baking, arts and crafts and genealogy. The most famous craft she was known for was the beautiful macrame items.

Donna will be missed very much, especially her smile and laughter.

Elizabeth “Betty” Torkildson, 97


Betty, daughter of Martin and Helen (Engman) Piersol, was born December 7, 1918 near Spirit Mound in Clay County, SD.

She graduated from Vermillion High School in 1936.

Betty was blessed with a beautiful mezzo-soprano voice and graduated from University of South Dakota in 1940 with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts.

Pi Beta Phi Sorority house and sisters were a big part of her college life.

After graduation she taught in Viborg and Beresford, SD.

Betty married Bob, her handsome farm boy, turned Navy Captain, form Lake City, SD in Portsmouth, VA, November 24, 1942.

Three months later Bob started his WWII Navy tour in the South Pacific.

Betty moved to Minneapolis, MN where she worked for the University of Minnesota Band Office.

Betty and Bob were reunited after the war and settled in Norfolk, VA, where their four children were born.

Missing their Midwestern roots, they moved back to South Dakota in 1953.

With her gift of a beautiful voice, Betty sang solos for weddings and funerals for many years. Her favorite song was Ave Maria.

Betty was a longtime member of St. Mary Catholic Church, St. Mary Altar Society, Catholic Literary and Catholic Daughters.

She served as choir director of Baptist Church in Vermillion. Betty participated in USD Orchestra, USD Choir soloist, Community Choir in Minneapolis, MN, Symphony Choir in Norfolk, VA, Bach Society Choir, American Legion Choir and St. Mary Choir in Sioux Falls.

Betty loved her family and so enjoyed visits and phone calls from her grandchildren and great grandchildren.