Rex Gardner, 88

REX GARDNER

Rex D. Garner was born December 24, 1926 at the Gardner Homestead 9 miles North of Witten, SD. He was the only child born to Ralph and Leta (Boyd) Gardner.

Rex grew up in Greenwood Township in northern Tripp County. He attended South Greenwood Country School and graduated from Winner High School in 1944 at the age of 17.

When Rex turned 18 he enlisted in the Army in 1945 and was stationed in Berlin, Germany where he was assigned to guard German soldiers. While there he played saxophone in a 15 piece band. Rex was honorably discharged in November 1946.

After being discharged from the Army Rex played music with the Buddy Baer Band, traveling from state to state from 1946 to 1952. While playing music in the Winner area, he met Fairy (Cookie) Cook. After dating for only 3 months they were united in marriage on April 18, 1952, and made their home on the farm north of Witten and later moved to Witten. To this union 5 children were born: Scott, twins Bobby and Billy, Sherry, and Barry.

Rex farmed from 1952 to 1985 until he became employed by the Tripp County Water Users District in 1986. He retired in 2003. Retirement wasn’t for Rex and he returned to the workforce until 2011 where he was employed by the Green Thumb Program with the Witten School, the Grossenburg Memorial Library, and Kucera Electric. Rex continued to play music with local bands such as Wickham Brothers and Vic’s Combo.

Rex will be remembered for music, patriotism, baseball, pheasant hunting, the outdoors, and the love of his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He was an avid reader, loving to read and re-read the Louie L’Amour Collection books. He was an avid sports fan that never missed his children’s sporting events. Rex never met a stranger and could talk with anyone. He will be truly missed.

Bernice May, 96

Bernice was born to George and Virginia McCoy on Oct. 12, 1919, on a farm near Springview, Neb. She was the 14th child of 14 children.

Bernice married George Gillespie on May 23, 1936, in Springview, Neb. From this union, four daughters were born. This marriage later ended in divorce.
Bernice moved to Valentine, Neb., where she met Frank May. They were married on Sept. 15, 1951, in Bridgeport, Neb. This union bore two sons. Bernice and her husband operated May Trucking for nine years before acquiring a ranch near Keypaha, S.D., in 1959. They worked the ranch until 1981, when they retired to Burke, S.D., and lived at this location until 1994, when Bernice and Frank moved to Clarkston.

Bernice was a dedicated ranch wife for 21 years and worked as a nursing assistant and elderly caretaker for 30 years. The elderly care facilities were in Winner and Gregory, S.D., and Clarkston.

Bernice’s hobbies were focused on caring for her family, but she did enjoy golf and crocheting. She was a very family oriented, compassionate, loving mother of six children.

Lowell Wiedmann, 78

Lowell Henry Wiedmann was born October 28,1937 to Fred & Irene (hoffman) Wiedmann in their farm home near Dixon south Dakota. He attended 1st-8th grade in the one room country school in Dixon. He started high school at Gregory South Dakota. He was confirmed in the Lutheran faith at Trinity Lutheran Church in Dixon March 1955. As he was growing up on the farm he would help with various jobs. He entered the Winner Regional long term care center on November 24, 2008. He passed away at the Winner Hospital on November 26 2015 at the age of 78.

Mavis O’Bryan, 81

O'Bryan

Mavis was born April 18th 1934 to the union of Ralph and Margaret Pettit (Holden). She was the eldest of a family of 13 and started a lifelong experience of mothering and nurturing very early in life. Mavis was baptized into the Catholic Church in Dallas shortly after birth and was supported by her faith throughout her life. Mavis attended rural elementary schools and graduated from Colome High School. She pursued a teaching degree and for several years taught at rural schools near Hamill, Winner, and Colome.

Mavis married Richard M (Dick) O’Bryan on July 7th, 1955 in Danton in a small church ceremony, which began a 60 year journey of love and devotion to husband and family from which 5 children were born. Shortly after marriage Mavis and Dick purchased their farm home south of Winner and worked side by side to improve and enlarge it their entire life. Mavis was always very proud of what had been accomplished with such a meager beginning and hard work.

Mavis was a lifelong resident of Tripp County and actually lived most of her life within 2 miles of where she was raised. Although her travels were few and distance was short she was always close to where she wanted to be…Home!!! Home where there were no locks on the doors, the wood stove was always warm, the coffee was always fresh, there was always room at the table for more, and she offered whatever she had to eat and enjoy.

Mavis’s deep faith in God and her ability to see the good in all people molded her into a very giving person. She always had something to give whether it be eggs, cream, garden produce, canned goods, cup of coffee, a moment in time, some comfort and yes sometimes even “a piece of my mind”. She was always giving something to someone. Her giving attitude was very important when she recognized firsthand the need for support of the mentally challenged in the area. Her efforts and the help of many enabled the forming of the South Central Adjustment Training Center in 1975, with a goal of supporting, protecting and enabling the mentally challenged to have opportunities equal to their capabilities. Over time the efforts and goals have led to the current “Community Connections“ group.

Mavis’s giving efforts although somewhat in the background did not go unrecognized. She was lifelong member of the Catholic Daughters of America and a member of the Legion Auxiliary Post of Colome. She was nominated and received the 1984 ARC State Volunteer of the Year and the 1985 ARC North Central Region Volunteer of the Year. Mavis also spent many hours, days, and years at the Winner Regional Hospital volunteering as a nurse’s aide before actually becoming an employee.

In 1992 Mavis was nominated and received the State of South Dakota Volunteer of the Year Award for her volunteer efforts. This award attracted the attention of the National Volunteers Association, which recognized and nominated her to receive the National Jefferson award. She very humbly became one of very few recipients of this award in Washington, DC with a visit to the White House in June 1992.

Phyllis Ann McGinnis, 89

McGinnis, Phyllis obit

Phyllis was born October 6, 1926 in Seattle, WA, the daughter of William and Elizabeth (Bradfield) Good. She graduated from Kent High School in Kent, WA, the Class of 1945. Phyllis furthered her education at the University of Washington, obtaining a nursing degree. She then worked as registered nurse for two years. Following this practical experience, Phyllis went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Nursing from Columbia University. She was united in marriage on June 30, 1956 at St. James Episcopal Church in Kent, WA to Richard McGinnis. Their marriage was blessed with three children; Paul, Stephen and Dorothy.

Phyllis was a devoted wife and partner with her husband who served as an Episcopal priest throughout his life, working as a missionary in Anvik, Alaska, and as a rector at Trinity Episcopal in Winner, SD, Trinity Episcopal in Watertown, SD, and the former St. David’s Episcopal in Jacksonville, FL. Later in life they worked tirelessly to preserve marriages creating a marriage ministry model which is now used about the country and overseas. Phyllis greatly enjoyed her children, their spouses, her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Phyllis and Richard were fortunate to share many wonderful adventures together, traveling the country. She valued her family, her relationships, her marriage and her Lord most of all.

Beverly Biggins, 82

biggins obit

Beverly May Biggins was born August 4th, 1933 in Bonesteel, SD. She was the daughter of Arthur and Maude (Cline) Kortmeyer. Bev lived in Gregory, Naper, NE and moved to Winner, SD at the age of 10. Her dad was a butter maker at the creamery in the early years. Later he became an expert in the in the construction business.

Bev was raised with two brothers, Jack and Harry Kortmeyer, and one sister Donna (Bob) Trego. Bev attended Winner High School where she made lifelong friendships. She married the love of her life, Bob Biggins, on September 28, 1952. Together they had had five children: Steve, Joe, Rick (Pam), Barry (Cindy) and Candy, all of Winner.

Bev was the neighborhood mom to many kids as well as a Cub Scout den mother for many years. You would see her at all of her kids sporting events, she was the official score keeper for all of their baseball/softball games. Bev worked at the soda fountain during her school years, later working at the West Side Market. She started working at the Tripp County Auditors in and 1976 and later transferred to the Tripp County Assessor’s Office until her retirement in 1998. After retiring she enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.

Mark Storms, 92

mark storms obit

Mark Raymond Storms (Hoppy) was born July 6, 1923 on the family homestead, south of Keyapaha in the Beaver Creek Township to Joseph and Crescencia (Willems) Storms. Mark was the 2nd youngest child of nine. One younger brother Jim and three older brothers John, Eugene and Warner. Four older sisters Marie, Helen, Bernice and Laurene.

The family attended mass at a country church called St. Anne’s located 2 miles north of the homestead and St. Bonifice located 15 miles north of Clearfield, SD. The Priest would alternate Sunday’s. There were too many family members to fit in the old model T at one time, the family had to take turns going to mass.

Mark grew up on the family farm and attended Beaver Creek School. Mark and his dad were struck by lightning while milking cows in the barn. Mark’s dad was killed, Mark was knocked unconscious and three cows were also killed. Mark was 15 at the time. He dropped out of school and helped his brothers take over for their father. He later returned to school and graduated from Winner High School.

Mark joined the US Navy in 1943 and served in the Philippines during WWII until 1946. When Mark returned home from the service he went to a dance at the Cosmo Club in Valentine, NE where he met the love of his life, Dolores Simons. They were married September 23, 1948. They were married 3 months short of 60 years.

They lived on the Leo Rock ranch where they ranched for 4 years before moving to the Olaf Tuntland ranch east of Keyapaha in 1952. While living there two children were born. Andy, Ruth, Mark and Dolores raised cattle, chickens and had a huge garden with lots of canning done. They lived here for 18 years before moving to Winner in 1970. They all left their hearts on the ranch and tried to become accustomed to a new life style.

Mark went to work as a carpenter for Bill Koos and helped build their new home in Winner that they moved into in 1970. Mark worked for Bill until 1979 and then went to work for Highway Lumber building homes, until he retired.

Marked loved to hunt, fish and taught his kids and grandkids the love of the sport. He was a baseball coach for Clearfield Midgets. He loved to watch the Minnesota Twins and Vikings, as well as the Denver Broncos. He loved to read books as a past time.

After retirement Mark and Dolores enjoyed spending time together with their kids and grandchildren. When Dolores passed away in June 2007, Mark decided to move to Rapid City three and half years later. The yard and garden got to be more work instead of enjoyment. So he moved into an independent living retirement community (Primrose) in March 2011 at the age of 87. In August of 2015, Mark moved to Fountain Springs Health Care Center where he resided until his passing on November 6, at the age of 92.