Joey Vavra, 87

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Joey attended rural schools close to the Colome family farm until his parents moved to Winner.  He graduated from Winner High School and went to Mitchell Business School in Mitchell, SD where he received a degree in business.  Joey went to work at the Winner Cold Storage and a Winner Gas Station where he worked in the office.
Joey joined the United States Army and was stationed at various bases around the country during the Korean War Conflict and was honorably discharged in February 1953.  He worked in the mail department which led to a job for the US Post Office in Winner where he worked for 35 years.  Joey first worked as a mail carrier and later as a clerk.  He was well-liked by his patrons and co-workers.

Joey was an active and lifetime member of the American Legion, VFW and the Elks Club.  For many years Joey marched in the Labor Day Parade.  He also served as Commander of the American Legion and was Grand Marshal for the Labor Day Parade.  Joey was care taker for his father for many years until his father passed away.

Joey liked to read and was a stamp and coin collector.  He was an avid sports fan, he also enjoyed car races and listening to the local school ball games on his radio.  Joey enjoyed traveling when he was younger, a highlight for him was to see a Vikings game in Minneapolis. Joey occupied his free time with his dog Snoopy, his vegetable and flower garden, his farm, farm animals, listening to Bohemian music, and spending time with his family and friends.  Joey was a kind, giving, and warm-hearted man.  He always had a warm smile and hello for everyone that made them feel special and wonderful.

Joanne Zeigler, 87

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Joanne was born on December 6th, 1927 in Redfield, SD. She was the daughter of Mary (Becht) and Truman Rutherford. She graduated high school in Winner, SD in 1945.

Joanne (Grami) Zeigler was a beloved wife, dedicated mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother, as well as a dear friend to many. She enjoyed gardening, crocheting, playing mah jongg, and camping.

Raymalee Fladebo, 103

fladabo obitRaymalee Fladebo, 103, of Winner, SD passed away on Tuesday, July 21, at the Winner Regional Healthcare Center in Winner.  Funeral service were held on Saturday, July 25, at 10:30 a.m. at the First Christian Church in Winner.  Burial followed in the Winner City Cemetery.

Raymalee Grace Adams was born Aug. 5, 1911 to Clarence and Annie Belle Adams in the homestead shack built by her father located 4 miles SW of Keya Paha, SD. After suffering 18 U.S. Presidents and numerous Wars, Raymalee was preceded in death by her husband George; brother Charles Adams; sisters Edith McElhaney, Stella Cramer, Mildred Jenson and Frances Adams; one son Darrell Fladebo; and one sister-in-law Frances Adams.

Virginia H. Craw, 93

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Virginia H. Craw 93, of Pierre died on Monday, July 13 at Avera Maryhouse Long Term Care in Pierre. Funeral services were held on Friday, July 17, at 10 a.m. at the Isburg Funeral Chapel in Pierre. Burial was at the Harrison Cemetery near Harrison South Dakota.
Virginia was born on August 2, 1921, in Winner, to George and Shirley (Osborne) Hosford. She grew up and attended school in Winner. After graduating high school she traveled and lived in many places. She married Alfred Craw on March 6, 1944 in Reno Nevada. They made their home in California before moving back to South Dakota in the early 80’s. Virginia worked as a librarian in different schools and loved to read.

She was a devoted member of the River City Baptist Church in Pierre.

Phyllis Brei, 80

Phyllis Brei, 80, of Kearney, died Saturday, July 4, 2015 at Mt. Carmel Keens Memorial Home in Kearney.  Funeral Services will be 11:00 a.m. Friday, July 10, 2015 at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Winner, S.D.  Interment will follow at the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Mission, S.D. Visitation will be held 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Thursday, July 9, 2015 at O’Brien Straatmann Redinger Funeral Home in Kearney.  Memorials are suggested to the family for future designation. Chapel of the Pines in Valentine is in charge of arrangements.

Phyllis Irene Christiansen Brei was born on February 24th, 1935 at the General Hospital in Winner, SD to John and Gladys Christiansen, nee Vandeventer.  She attended adult instruction classes and was baptized and confirmed into the Christian faith at Zion Ev. Lutheran Church in Mission, SD on January 9, 1954.  Phyllis was a faithful member of the Wisconsin Lutheran Synod throughout her adult life, she was a member at Zion in Mission, SD, Trinity in Winner, SD and Good Shepherd in Kearney, NE.   She was active in various organizations through the church and helped out with many projects over the years.

Phyllis lived on the family farm in southeastern Todd County, SD, near the community of Keya Paha, Nebraska; she attended country school through eighth grade and attended high school in Mission, SD at Todd County High School, living on the campus during the school year.  Phyllis graduated from Todd County High School in 1953 and was active with alumni association keeping records and addresses of alumni until her declining health impacted this work in 2007.  Phyllis enjoyed staying in touch with the alumni of TCHS as she worked diligently to find information on former alums who the committee had lost contact with.   The Todd County High School reunions were a very important to Phyllis, she very much enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with old friends from around the immediate area as well as from across the country.

Phyllis worked for the Missouri Valley Insurance Company in Burke, SD following graduation, until her marriage to Reuben Brei on June 12th, 1954.  To this union two children were born, a son Philip and a daughter, Cheryl.

Phyllis worked for the South Dakota Department of Social Services from July 1st. 1954 until April 1st, 1958, when she became a stay at home mom.  Phyllis rejoined the work force in 1966 involved in the Title Five program, at the end of this program she was able to re-join the Department of Social Services, retiring after 34 years of service in January 1997.  The star quilt that Phyllis received upon her retirement was an item that she was very proud of and grateful for.

Phyllis and her mother were avid seamstresses, making many of her children’s clothes, Phyllis was always working on crafts or projects, usually making gifts for the special people in her life, friends or family.

Phyllis’ main passion was crocheting, she crocheted everything from potholders and baby blankets to full sized afghans.  She was always looking for a way to add a crocheted border to a blanket or add a personalized touch to something she wanted to give to someone.  She enjoyed making and sharing her beautiful handiwork with friends and relatives for all types of occasions.

Phyllis is survived by her husband Reuben, her son Philip, daughter-in-law, Lois of Kearney, NE, two grandsons, Kevin of Charles City, IA and Matthew of Kearney, NE. Nieces, JoAnn Holmes, Laura Emde and Doris Abraham and their families, Nephews, Jerald Brei and Harold Brei and their families, as well as numerous cousins throughout Minnesota, Nebraska, Michigan and Oregon.

Audra Vogt, 48

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Audra Vogt was born June 4, 1967 to Don and Joanie Vogt.  She received her education in Winner,  where she graduated in 1985.  She later attended Mount Marty College in Yankton.

Audra was very proud of her three daughters Melissa, MaCallie and Shambraea.  She had the biggest heart and you could always find her in the kitchen making the most amazing things and family and friends were the fortunate ones to enjoy her masterpieces.

This was a wonderful life, full of hope and promise, ended far too short.  While we are sad to see her go, we are relieved that her struggle is over and now she is at peace.

Survivors include her beautiful daughters: Melissa, MaCallie and Shambraea Bettcher, loving parents Don and Joanie Vogt, sister, Sonya (Steve) Clark, nephew Kade Clark.  Audra is also survived by numerous aunts, uncles and cousins and close friend George Hysell.

Preceding her in death were her grandparents Lena and Henry Vogt, Audrey (Hansen) Clubb, Kenneth Osberg, and uncle Kenny Wayne Osberg.

Leitha M. Drey, 84

Leitha was born March 12, 1931, in Dallas, SD, to William A. and mabel (Cornemann) Brown. She was educated in various county grade schools and graduated from Gregory High School in Gregory, SD. She married Vernon B. Drey on October 24, 1949 in Gregory. He died October 8, 1987. Leitha was first employed by Graham’s Furniture Store in Gregory. After moving to Morrison, she worked for Dr. Curt Gronner, DDS. Then, along with her husband, she owned and operated Drey’s Liquor Store in Morrison. Most recently she worked at General Electric in Morrison, retiring in 1991. Following retirement she worked at Christian Care in Rock Falls, IL. Leitha was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Morrison, and the church’s Altar and Rosary Sodality. She was also a member of the GEM Club and the Morrison Music Theater Association. She enjoyed baking, cooking, sewing craft shows, participating in card clubs, hosting family gathering and attending grandchildren’s events. Memorials to the American Cancer Society and St. Mary’s Catholic Church have been established.

Survivors include two daughters, Coleen (Don) Bisgard of Menomonee Falls, WI and Roxanne (Jeffery) Fish of Albany, IL; one son, Roger (Sue) Drey of Morrison, IL; one daughter-in-law, Linda (Guy) Plumley of Davenport, IA, fifteen grandchildren, eight great grandchildren and one sister Shirley Ann Beck of Winner, SD.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Vernon; one son, Dudley, six brothers, Willard “Rex”, Louis, Marlow “Jim”, Wayne, Russ and Gary Brown.

Robert Steffen, 44

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Robert was born April 19, 1971 to Geneive and Norman Steffen, the fifth (and maybe a little unexpected ) child born to Geneive and Norman.  Robert Ross joined Ronald Eugene, Carol Rae, Ellen Marie and Roger Norman.  He was born in Winner and grew up on the Steffen farm west of Dallas, South Dakota.  Robert was named after Norman’s brother and was eventually refereed to as “Baby Robert” by the Nebraska crew.  He was no stranger to having nicknames or giving them.

Robert was adored and spoiled by his older siblings.  He learned when Carol came home from work, she would bring him candy, and each time, she did indeed bring him candy.  Growing up on the farm gave opportunity to run the crick, run the farm equipment and run to play.  Robert enjoyed spending time with the Ekroth kids, shooting rabbits and birds for the barn cats; having his town friends out to go fishing; convincing the Minnesota cousin to dig in the old outhouse hole with a stick; and giving Kerri terrifying and exhilarating rides on the 3-wheeler.  He could walk on his hands across a wooden fence and swing across the haymow on a long rope more times than any other kid.  He was competitive.  He and Ellen could go fishing all afternoon simply to see who could catch the biggest fish.

Robert was a sportsman in all respects.  He loved to deer hunt and pheasant hunt.  Most of all, Robert enjoyed bass fishing.  Robert played a lot of ball.  He played baseball for Gregory and also proudly wore A Dallas Toads uniform, playing slow pitch softball with Ron and Roger.

Robert graduated from Gregory High School in 1989.  One of his best high school memories was being crowned homecoming king.  That honor, that memory, brought a smile to his face every time.  He never forgot it.

Robert was a graduate of South Dakota State University (Go Jackrabbits!).  He earned a bachelor of science degree in agronomy/ag. business.  He moved on to be a successful seed salesman for different companies.  Robert believed that presentation and attitude could overcome any obstacle.

He was sincere. He put his best foot forward; he was kind; he dressed for success; he set goals and met them.  He loved meeting the people; and the people loved him.  He could be so very reassuring.

Robert looked forward to an adventure.  Robert wanted to see new things and experience the thrill of any escapade (including sky diving).  For Robert, an everyday event became an opportunity.  Robert was a philosophical man; he could validate his knowledge because “I have been around the world and to three county fairs”.

Robert made friends readily and easily.  People were drawn to his easy smile.  He could engage anyone and leave them guessing.  Consider  yourself lucky if you’ve met “Rueben Little Dog, Chief Full of Bull”.  When in the mood (which he usually was) an in proper company (which was self defined) Robert rallied and campaigned for the office of state dog catcher – one of his many, many tall tales.  Some folks probably went to the polls looking for his name.  Robert was an original; an innovator; a genius of quick study and wit; an angel.

Robert’s eyes of mischief, smile and love will be missed by his family: brother Ron and Val Steffen and their children Sara, Regan and Sam; sister Carol and Glen Cook, their children Kerri (husband Matt and children Devin, Kendra and Addison), Ryan (wife Kathryn and son Max) and Riley (wife Abby); sister Ellen Moss and Paul Storms, their children Michele (husband TJ and children Shayla and Evan), Michael (wife Chelsey and children Cora, Reven and Bohdi), and Eric (wife Destiny and children Bryken and Jace); and brother Roger.

Brenda Mahoney, 72

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Brenda was born February 26, 1943 in Winner, SD, the oldest of five children, to Albert and Vernice (Blomstrom) Pederson.  Brenda attended school in Winner, graduating from high school in 1961.  She attended Nettleton Commercial College in Sioux Falls.  Brenda married Darrell Mahoney on September 17, 1964 and to this union, 3 children were born.  They were married for fifty years.

Brenda worked in banking for 35 years and retired in 2008.  Thirty-two years were spent at First Dakota National Bank in Yankton.  She was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church and volunteered her time to help with communion preparation and ushering.  Brenda was involved in Church Circle, Extension Club and Meals on Wheels.  She loved traveling and spending time with family and friends.  Every holiday was a special occasion with her many decorations, wonderful assortment of food and her “just a little something” gifts for all.  She remembered all birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions with cards and gifts as well.  She was the first to praise and compliment others young and old.  Her passion was giving to others with her time and thoughtfulness.  She was totally involved with nieces, nephews and grandchildrens’ lives.  Brenda never missed a school or church event or activity that they were involved in.  She was at all graduations – front and center and full of pride, even college graduations far away.  She was an amazing aunt and grandma.  Brenda enjoyed spending time with her dear friends and co-workers, also known as the S&B Girls.

Loving survivors include her husband, Darrell of Yankton, SD; children:  Trace Mahoney  (Katie Price) of Sioux Falls, SD, Becky (Luke) Seeman of Sioux Falls, SD and Tyler Mahoney of Watertown, SD; grandchildren:  Rowan and Harrison Seeman and Lucy Mahoney, all of Sioux Falls, SD, Oliver Mahoney of Groton, SD; mother, Vernice Pederson of Sioux Falls, SD; sister, Linda (Tom) Roberts of Sioux Falls; brother, Kevin (Lori) Pederson of Scottsdale, AZ; nieces and nephews:  Josh Roberts of Kindred, ND, Alex Roberts of Houston, TX, Lindsay Zawrotny of Novato, CA, Tanea St. Pierre of Waltham, MA, Jenifer and Bismark Roberts, Sioux Falls, SD, Joe Fransen of Los Angeles, CA and Ruth and Hannah Pederson of Denver, CO.

Brenda was preceded in death by her father, Albert Pederson and brothers, Doug and Clay Pederson.