Walter Johnson, 85

walt johnson obit

Walter Marion Johnson, the fourth of six children, was born on July 11, 1930, to Axel and Alice (Nelson) Johnson on a farm near Winner, SD. Walter attended grade school at a rural school near his home for eight years and for four years attended high school at Colome High School in Colome, SD, graduating in the spring of 1948. While in high school Walter participated in football, basketball, track, and played the cornet in band and was the Valedictorian.

After leaving high school Walter (Walt as he became known) was employed by Van Collins Implement for the summer. At the end of summer he enrolled at the School of Mines and Technology at Rapid City, SD, and attended for two years. He then resumed working for Van Collins Implement. After a year of employment Walt returned to the “Mines” and graduated in 1953 with a degree in General Engineering. He was then employed by Northwestern Bell Telephone Company starting out as a lineman.

While still attending college in Rapid City, Walt married Jeannine Kinzer on February 11, 1951 and to this union three sons were born, Steven, Scott, and Stuart. Walter loved his children and together they did much camping, fishing, and hunting. Camping started out in a station wagon tent and progressed to a converted bus and then a fifth wheel camper. After retirement Walt and Jeannine traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, and Hawaii.

Walter’s professional career with Northwestern Bell Telephone Company encompassed some 36 years over which there were many transfers and promotions: twice to Omaha, NE; once to Sioux Falls, SD; then Huron, SD; and twice to Des Moines, IA. One transfer in particular involved a trip to Europe during which he visited with European government and communication executives. Sometimes these transfers came with more education, culminating in his being privileged to be chosen to attend MIT in Boston, MA for a year of study resulting in a MA in Business Administration. When AT&T was “broken up” Walt was one of several employees in upper management instrumental in dissolving the monopoly. Walt then went to work at an AT&T spin-off company called Belcore (Bell Communication Research) and became the Assistant Vice President until retirement in 1989. It was at this time they purchased their home near Gregory and later a winter home in Phoenix, AZ.

Time spent on the farm involved enjoying his children, grandchildren, and extended family, attending football games at Colome (which he rarely missed), square dancing wintering in Arizona, mowing, and plowing snow.
Walt passed away peacefully with his loving wife of almost 65 years, Jeannine, at his side on January 21, 2016. He will surely be missed by all.

Larry Juracek, 74

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Larry Juracek, age 74, of Winner, passed away on January 23, 2016 at the Winner Regional Healthcare Facility in Winner. Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Thursday, January 28, 2016 at the United Methodist Church in Winner. Burial followed at the Winner City Cemetery.

Larry was born on August 31, 1941 in Stuart, NE to Ernie and Edna (Spahn) Juracek. He grew up on the family farm west of Naper, NE. where Larry attended country school and then graduated in 1959 from Naper. Larry had one younger brother, Darrel.

He attended Yankton College for one year then came back to marry his high school sweetheart, Karen Reber, on October 15, 1960. The Lord blessed them with four children, Cheryl Lynn, Angela Jo, Clayton Dean, and Cody James.

They moved to Winner in 1961, where Larry worked for the telephone company for one year then for the Winner City Light Dept. for the next 43 years. He was the foreman of the light crew for the last 25 years of his employment with the city.

Larry and Karen purchased several rental properties, working side by side to fix them up. They also kept hunters in their home during pheasant season and had a pheasant cleaning service for many years. Karen ran a private daycare from their home for many years and Larry was very helpful with the children during meal time and after work. The kids loved Larry’s entertainment! Larry took much pride in his family.

Over the years he attended many music and sporting events of his three children, and more recently, of his two grandsons.

He was a member of the United Methodist Church where, over the years, he taught Sunday school, sang in the choir and served on many committees and projects. He sat on the Camp Fire Girl Council, was active in Winner Lions Club, and was a board member of the Tripp County Historical Society, and also a board member of the Tripp County Library. Larry also coached youth basketball for several years.
In 2008, Larry went on a mission trip to Haiti where he and others helped the Haitian people build solar ovens. Larry truly had a servant’s heart. That trip was a life-changing experience for him and something he spoke of often.

Some of his best-loved hobbies included drawing, painting, reading, and working in his vegetable and flower gardens. He was known for gardening and for the beautiful flowers he raised. He was an avid sports fan of the Winner Warriors, Green Bay Packers, Nebraska Cornhuskers, and the New York Yankees. Larry got the opportunity to attend home games of all of his favorite teams. He and his good friend, Gary Bowar, went on several baseball trips out east together over the years.

Larry had many friends and enjoyed visiting with his cronies at Lil’ Feller every morning for coffee and Monday mornings at the Legge Agency. He also enjoyed playing cards with the Elite Card club for many years. Larry was a devout Christian and knew someday he would walk with the Lord. He touched many lives over the years and will be remembered as a good friend. Many will miss his good sense of humor!

Trula Ruby (Hayford) Heath, 89


Trula Ruby (Hayford) Heath was born in Huggins Township Sec 17 to Ralph Leslie and Vera Estelle (Meyers) Hayford on June 30, 1926 near Millboro, SD. When born, her parents had not decided on a name, so the doctor declared her name as Mary Ann. Trula did not find out she was using an illegal name until 1974, when she and Howard needed passports to travel abroad.

As a child, Trula’s family lived in many places, both in Nebraska and South Dakota. She lived west of Shadley Creek and west of Kewanee School. Her fondest memories were on Plum Creek near Johnstown, as it related to her favorite books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her family finally settled in Beaver Creek Township where they ranched and she met the love of her life, Howard Heath.

Trula attended Beaver Creek during grade school and three years of high school. She graduated from Valentine High School. While attending her final year of high school, she received her normal training, allowing her to teach school. She taught school several years prior to marrying Howard.

Howard and Trula united in marriage October 26, 1946 and were blessed with three children. They settled in Huggins Township where they farmed and ranched until retirement on a very cold, blistering day on January 1, 1993.

Trula taught at various rural schools around the Millboro and Keyapaha area over a 25 year period. Some of those schools included Beaver Creek, Roberts, New Huggins, Riverside, Cloverdale, Sand Creek and East View. During her teaching career, she established many lifelong friends and all her students were favorites.

At the age of 33, Trula decided to return to Southern State Teachers College, Springfield, SD to obtain her Bachelor of Science degree in education. She attended summer school every summer until graduating at the age of 45. She was recognized as being one of the best teachers in Tripp County.

Trula will be remembered for her positive attitude, her love for learning and her wittiness. She was a person that never complained. She inspired many and loved many. Trula had many artistic hobbies, however in the last few years was unable to participate.

Dorothy Rohde, 85

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Dorothy Dean O’Bryan Rohde was born April 29, 1930 at the family farm near Mosher, South Dakota to Boyd and Theodoshia (Eastin) O’Bryan where she joined eleven brothers and sisters. She attended rural schools near her home through eighth grade and attended high school at St. Mary’s Catholic School in O’Neil, Nebraska where she graduated in 1948.
On June 2, 1949 Dorothy was united in marriage to Edward Rohde in Dallas, SD. Dorothy and Edward made their home on a farm South of Colome, South Dakota, where they had three children, David, Donna, and Karen, and lived for the next forty-seven years. After her children were grown, Dorothy began a career as a cook working part time at the Sale Barn Cafe in Winner, South Dakota, where she continued to work for 20 years.
Dorothy was well known for her talent as a cake decorator. Many, many birthdays, baptisms, weddings, and other special occasions were celebrated with cakes made by her throughout the neighboring communities. Her talents were many. Among them, was her ability to restore old furniture, as well as car and tractor seats, to look like new again.
In the spring of 1996, Dorothy and Edward moved to their final home in Gregory, South Dakota, due to Edward’s declining health. While living in Gregory, Dorothy continued to decorate cakes for special occasions and made several friends throughout the community. Dorothy compassionately cared for her husband during his battle with Parkinson’s disease for eight years until he lost his battle in 2004.
During her final years, Dorothy remained very social. She enjoyed greeting everyone she knew when out, but especially looked forward to her Saturday morning coffee group, card parties, Bunco parties, and visits from family, friends, and neighbors.

Roland Smith, 98

roland smith obit

Roland Roger Smith was born May 22, 1917, in Bristow, NE. In 1941, he enlisted in the US Army to serve his country.

On December 20, 1949, he was united in marriage to Gloria Jean Lively in Winner, SD. The family moved to Sioux Falls in 1952 where Roland was an electrician until his retirement. Roland was a lifetime member in the IBEW, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the VFW.

Frank Moeller, 96

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Frank “Frantz” Chris Moeller, Jr. was born to Frank Dell Moeller Sr. and Elise Moeller on March 5, 1919 on their farm north west of Witten, SD. He had 4 brothers and 2 sisters-Ray, Roy, Willie, Dick, Amelia, and Betty. He was the oldest of the boys.

Frank “Frantz” was most known by his family and friends as Franny. He started work at an early age of 5 years old where he had to milk 5 cows and then walk 1 mile to school. 20 years later, Dave Powell and Franny would scoop 7 truckloads of grain a day and at night they would put the racks up and bring Prairie hay home for the milk cows. Franny felt guilty seeing Dave’s wife milking cows late at night, so he stayed and helped with that chore before he went home. The pay back in those days was $1.00 a day, but Franny got $2.00 for he worked long and hard, and he continued to work like that the rest of his life. If someone was in need of help (broke down, out of fuel, stuck or whatever) he would lend a hand and never take a penny from them, that’s the way Franny was, just like his good neighbors Gay Rowe and Orville Smith.
Franny was drafted into the Army in 1944 and while he was in Berlin, Germany, one of his comrades had asked Franny to accompany him on a ride to somewhere and that is when he met Gen. George Patton and got to shake his hand shortly before Patton was killed in a Jeep wreck. Franny said Patton had just woke and only had on a T-shirt and shorts on. After Franny finished his tour of duty, he returned home and that’s when he met Esther Smith in the Big Front Bar in Witten and later married her in 1951. To this union came his boy Kyle Chris and Esther’s children, Sharon and Robert, which he took as his own.

His daughter Sharon loved him dearly and called him almost every day up until the time of his passing. (Sharon cannot be here with us at this time of our loss, for her husband needs her as he is in the late stages of cancer. Sharon and husband Norman are in our thoughts and in our hearts.)

Franny and Esther started out farming raising 300 chickens and 500 turkeys and later bought 3 guilts and their farm grew from there with a lot of love and hard work, something Franny was not afraid of. If someone worked hard Franny was sure to acknowledge them and respect them. Later on in the years Franny got into raising cattle and enjoyed every bit of it. Working on his farm made him the happiest and he had the best work ethics.

Franny is known most for being honest, genuine, and a happy down to Earth person. Now Franny also had quite a reputation for being one of the strongest men around with his extra-large hands. He was never beat down in Arm Wrestling. On the ship he took to Berlin, Germany, he arm wrestled 12 men a day for 14 days and was never defeated. He would be known to take a little break and go into town once in a while, enjoy a few beers, and get into a few bar fights. He said that’s the way it was back in the day.

2 months before his passing he said that if he could only walk to his truck and get in it, that he could still be able to do a lot of good here on the ranch. Franny broke his hip on Jan. 9, 2014and tried so hard to recover and walk again, almost succeeded that same summer when he walked into the Cowboy Up Bar in Witten with the help of a walker and was met by family and friends greeting and encouraging him. You should have seen the grin on his face. Although that was short lived when he developed pneumonia which knocked him down dramatically and he never recovered his strength to walk again.

Franny was one of the most respected and loved man and will be greatly missed by all of his family and friends. If there were more Franny’s in this world it would be a better place for all. He passed away on January 19, 2016 at 8:12 PM in his home with his family on each side of him.

Bud Karel, 93

bud karel obit

Louie (Bud) Karel Jr. was born at home on a farm south of Gregory on February 17, 1922 to Louie Sr. and Flora (Bruns) Karel. Bud attended first and second grade at the Carlson School, grades three thru six at the Saathoff School, and Jack School in grades seven and eight. He went to Colome High School and graduated in 1941. He assisted his parents on the family farm during these years.

Bud entered National Youth Association Welding School in Sioux Falls for an 8 week program in 1942. He then moved and became a welder at Seattle Tacoma Shipyard working on destroyers until 1943. His friends Russ Shirie and Virgil Aden went with him.

Bud enlisted in the US Navy on July 23, 1943. His honoree activity was commando North Pacific in 1943-44, Aviation Mechanics Carrier in 1944-45, and Planes AM2/C. Bud served with combat troops as an Honor Man due to his marksmanship. He was part of the Marines where he did his training at Alamedco, CA. Louie served in the Marshall Islands, Roi-Namier, and Gilbert Islands. He recalls servicing the Enola Gay—not even knowing it was loaded with an atomic bomb. Bud was honorably discharged on February 4, 1946.

Bud returned to the farm and farmed with T.J. Brewer. He bought a DC Case tractor, a corn sheller, and a thrashing machine. In 1947 Louie batched with Harold Elliott on Powell land south of the farm. In 1948 Bud and Harold moved to the Holger Cassling place—now the Krizan place.

In 1948 Bud and a friend, Joey Papousek, brought a load of cattle to the stockyards in Sioux City. This is where Bud became acquainted with Ardyth Warnkvist. Later that summer on July 4th they attended a street dance in Gregory. At Christmas time the young man gave her a diamond ring and they were married on February 7, 1949 at Elkpoint, SD by the Justice of the Peace. Virgil and Rose Aden were their attendants with Harlan Warnkvist driving the car.

Bud and Ardyth made their first home on the Holger Cassling place three miles west and 2 miles north of Dallas. They began farming together and in the spring of 1950 they had an opportunity to move onto the Ben Doering homestead west of them. They soon bought this farm and it became home for their entire lives.

On the home farm they raised three children, Gary, Sandy, and Jim. They were good neighbors and had many good times playing cards. The yearly mountain oyster feed was a neighborhood highlight. Bud loved all sports whether following his boys in high school sports or watching the Vikings. Louie enjoyed hunting deer and pheasants. After WWII he and his war buddies would make an annual event hunting together. It was just a good reason to get together and tell stories. Bud had a big heart for animals especially dogs and had several great cattle dogs through the years. Bud would train the dogs to watch an open gate or to round up the cows in a pasture. Bud could be seen with his dogs on the four-wheeler or in the 1974 Green Machine his pride and joy.

Bud served as clerk of Irwin School District #23 from 1949-68. He served on the Rosebud Farmers Union Board of Directors from 1969 to 1987. He served on the Irwin Township Board for several years and was a member of the Colome Legion for 69 years.

Bud was a loving family man. He treasured the times that he could spend with his grandchildren.

Bud passed away on January 21, 2016, with his three children by his side, at Avera Gregory Healthcare center at the age of 93 years.

Donald “Vince” Deffley, 88

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Donald was born to James and Annetta Deffley on April 9, 1927 in rural Tripp County. He was the Youngest of six children. Donald was raised in Winner attending St. Mary’s grade school and graduated from Winner High School in 1948. He served one year in the US Army in Japan following World War II prior to high school graduation.

Donald participated in numerous sports including the high school football and basketball teams. His baseball skill earned him a roster spot for the Winner Pheasant Basin League Baseball team during the early 1950’s.

Following high school he held several jobs while playing semi-pro baseball including: the Coca Cola Bottling Plant, Winner Green House, Schramm Furniture and the Rural Electric Association.

In 1953, he married Carol Ann Jares. They had two children, Daniel and Lori. In 1952 he began a 31+ year career for the US Postal Service delivering mail to Main Street and the east side of Winner. He retired from the postal service in 1983. It is estimated he walked approximately 80,000 miles during his career.

Following retirement from the post office he served as bailiff for the Tripp County Court system for several years. He also drove a van transporting patrons to nearby casinos for a brief period.

Donald was a devout Christian and family man. He took tremendous pride in his family. He was active in his parish serving as an usher, member of the Knights of Columbus and numerous fund raising activities. He was an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

Viola Benson Burke, 92

viola burke obit

Viola was born in a sod house on April 19, 1923, to Henning and Jennie Benson of rural Clearfield, SD. She was the ninth of eleven children.
She attended grade school at Blue Valley School and high school at Winner High School, graduating in 1941. Viola attended Southern Teacher’s College in Springfield, SD. She taught at Claremont and Blue Valley schools.
Viola decided to change careers, so she traveled with three other girls to Florida. She worked as a waitress in the big hotels on Miami Beach. She moved to Chicago and while working at a country club, she met her future husband. They were married June 9, 1952 in Chicago. They continued to work in hotels and clubs for several years, but changed their careers to work as cook and butler for the wealthy, living and traveling with them to their various homes.
Their last jobs together were working in the apple orchards around Chicago. After Vi’s husband, Ed passed away on August 5, 1981, she continued to work in the orchards until moving to Winner, SD, in 2006. She lived in her own apartment until 2012, when she moved to Golden Prairie Manor.

Jim Calhoon, 77

jim calhoon obit

Jim Calhoon, age 77, of Winner, passed away on January 6, 2016 at the Winner Regional Healthcare Facility. Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 9, 2016 at the United Methodist Church in Winner. Burial followed at the Winner City Cemetery.

James Raymond Calhoon, (aka, Jim R., Jimmy & Callie, his friends just called him Coach) was born on February 26, 1938 to Leon Raymond Calhoon & Wilma Amanda (Frantz) Calhoon in Winner, SD. He was the eldest of 3 boys. Jim lived on the family ranch northwest of Ideal. Jim attended grades 1-8 at Star Valley School. Finishing at the top of his class each year (he was the only one in his grade). Jim attended Winner High School, graduating in May of 1956, while in high school he was involved in football, baseball, declam, track, dramatics, music and tried to play basketball. He was not good at playing, though the game fascinated him.

Jim never played a second of varsity basketball. Jim, helped the high school basketball coach at 7:30am before school teaching basketball to the 4th-5th-6th grade boys. After graduation Jim played baseball and helped his dad on the ranch. The winter of 1957 Jim started coaching grade school basketball at Ideal. The next 14 years Jim coached basketball, baseball & football at Ideal, Hamill, Carter, Witten & Winner, while ranching northwest of Ideal. Jim & 3 other coaches formed the country conference in 1959, which still exists. Jim refereed, umpired and graduated from Auctioneer College in 1969 from Mason City, Iowa.

Jim was married to Anita L Spinar on June 8, 1958 in Colome, SD. They had three children Cyndy Lou, Lance Raymond & Rebecca Jane. The marriage ended in 1980. In January of 1970 Jim moved his family to Aberdeen, Jim enrolled at Northern State College to pursue his dream of being a coach. He received a BS in Education in 1973. Jim was assistant coach in football, basketball and head coach in baseball. While at NSC Jim was assistant coach at a football bowl game, two NAIA basketball tournaments and a college world series. Jim coached the Aberdeen Teeners in the summer time winning the state tournament in 1972. 1973-1975 Jim taught & coached football, baseball & basketball at Clark, SD. Jim taught PE & coached girls & boys basketball at McLaughlin SD from 1975-1980 taking them to the State Tournament three times. During 1981 Jim coached boys & girls basketball & track at New England St Mary’s in New England, ND.

In 1981-1982 Jim was assistant girls & boys basketball coach at Aberdeen Central High School in Aberdeen, SD. During the summers he umpired softball & baseball working 19 State and 2 National Tournaments. Jim attended NSC and received a master’s degree in classroom teaching and a master’s degree in school administration. 1982-1983 Jim was high school principal & basketball coach at South Shore, SD.

Jim met Linda Ann Larsen at Stockholm, SD. Jim & Linda were married on June 4, 1983 at Strandburg, SD. They spent the next six weeks traveling in 26 European countries, upon returning to the USA they lived in Aberdeen, SD. In 1985 they moved to White River. Jim taught, coached girls & boys basketball, track & baseball and was principal & athletic/activities director. 6 of his basketball teams qualified to play in the state tournament. Jim’s desire was that each student/athlete learned something positive from him. In 1989 Jim & Linda adopted a family of 3 children-Marie Ann-8, Adam Jacob-6 and Joanna Lynn(Jo)-3. In July 2015 after 30 years of living in White River Jim & Linda moved to Winner, SD.

Jim was a member of the Church of the Nazarene of White River for many years, serving as Sunday school teacher & superintendent, trustee and preached on many Sundays. Since 2005 Jim has been a member of & attended the Church of the Nazarene in Winner. Jim & Linda were Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle leaders in many of the schools for over 20 years. Jim was on the board of Directors for the SD Shorthorn Assn, the Mellette County Cattlemen Improvement Board, Mellette County Weed & Pest Board, the Board of Directors for the Coaches Assn for 6 years and the Basketball Coaches Assn. board of directors for 12 years & was president of the Basketball Coaches Assn for 1 term and was awarded Region Coach of the Year 11 times. He was named Northern State College(NSC) alumni coach of the year in 1995, received the SDHSAA distinguished service award in 1998 and was inducted into the SDHS Coaches Hall of Fame in 1999 & the South Dakota High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Shrine in 2004. Jim was the first person inducted into the Winner High School Hall of Fame in 2012-2013. He was very honored by this special recognition. Jim’s high school varsity record included 513 wins and 196 losses added to his teams non-varsity record basketball teams’ record includes 1,331 wins and 305 losses. His baseball teams won over 1200 wins while losing less than 300.

Jim had 6 loves in his life, besides God, his wife, Linda, his 6 children and 15 grandchildren, basketball, baseball and his shorthorn cattle. Jim had cattle all of his life. The purebred business Jim & Linda started in 1985. He loved to show the shorthorn cattle to anyone. CAL-DAK Shorthorns won the 2001 Get-of-Sire at the South Dakota State Fair. As Jim’s health failed him he still enjoyed going out and looking at the cattle.

Jim first & foremost loved God. He spent much time reading the Bible and praying. He prayed every day for each and every one of his family members and friends. Jim truly believed that through Jesus Christ the Son of God all problems could be solved, all illnesses cured. All you had to do was ask for it.