Phyllis Jean Hoffie was born on Aug. 2, 1934 in Bonesteel, South Dakota to Delbert and Clarice Hoffie. She spent the early years of her life in South Dakota and around age 11 her family moved to Eureka, Calif., for work in the steel mill.
The Hoffie family moved back to South Dakota and shortly after Phyllis met Pete Modine. After a short courtship, they were married on Sept. 29, 1949 and welcomed their first son the following year.
During the early years of their marriage the family moved back to Eureka, Calif., and their family grew to seven. As the children grew and left the house, Pete and Phyllis bought a plot of land in Meyer’s Flat with Pete’s brother Leroy.
Every summer you could drive down and find Phyllis and Pete sitting in their chairs on the deck in front of their trailer, tending their garden, watering the lawn, lighting up the fire pit.
Phyllis was a housewife, and in the hospital near her final days when asked what occupation she retired from, she proudly announced this. As the children got older and grandchildren came along, she worked at The Bayview Motel helping to paint and wallpaper the guest rooms.
She also helped her nephew at his gift shop in the beautiful Pink Lady in Old Town.
Phyllis Modine was preceded in death by her siblings Janet Prince, Jack Hoffie, and Judy Mahoney, her daughter Barbara Torgerson and her husband of 68 years Robert “Pete” Modine.
Phyllis is survived by her sons Ronald Modine (Rebecca), Steven Modine and her daughters Lori Edwards and Jeannie Ohm. Also left behind are her nine grandchildren: Jennifer England (Richard), Patricia Modine, Melissa Applegarth (James), Evangela Torgerson, Robert Torgerson (Sidney), Tiffany Hess, Andrew Ohm (Angel), Ryan Ohm, Chloe Edwards and 11 great grandchildren.
Phyllis’ family meant everything to her and visits with her family were cherished. She is also survived by lifelong friends she had made in her beautiful lifetime and many extended family members in California, South Dakota and beyond.
She leaves behind many tears, sadness because we miss her, joy because we knew her. Phyllis put everyone before her in her life. She downplayed her own troubles and attended to others. She was a great wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend.
Doris Marie Putnam Miner was born on March 13, 1936, at the home of her grandparents, John and Mamie Determan, 10 miles south of Dallas, SD.
She passed away Sept. 8, 2019, at Independence, MO, with her husband Kenny and her daughter Kate, holding her hands and telling her how much she was loved.
Mass of Christian Burial will be Oct. 12, at 12 p.m. (noon), at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Gregory, SD. Visitation will be Oct. 11, 5:30-7:00 p.m., with the rosary recited at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph’s. Burial will be at 10 a.m., Oct. 12, at St. John’s Catholic Cemetery, Paxton, SD. St. John’s Catholic Church was built by her Grandfather Determan, located a mile from where she was born. Doris was baptized, made her First Communion, was confirmed in the Catholic faith, and married in the church at Paxton.
Doris was born to Francis and Bertha (Determan) Putnam and grew up on the Tripp County farm south and west of Dallas, SD. She attended elementary classes with her brothers at the Lincoln Township school.
She attended Gregory High School, where she met Kenneth Miner, although he had grown up only 10 miles to the east in Gregory County. He recalls seeing “the prettiest girl with black curly hair” for the first time, “in a green plaid dress, standing by the Corner Cafe.”
Kenny and Doris were married Oct. 14, 1953. They lived briefly in Minneapolis, and returned to the Miner ranch in 1954, where they lived and worked for the next 55 years.
They moved to the Putnam farm and considered it their “forever” home, although they have resided different places during the last three years as their health declined. Doris enjoyed thoroughly the last 19 months with Kate in Kansas City, where she could stay up all night watching movies, have popcorn for supper, become a fervent Kansas City Chiefs fan, and, most important, control her own TV remote.
As a mom and ranch wife, she was a longtime 4-H leader and Farmers Union member. She served her community, state, and nation through her involvement in Democrat politics. Doris was first elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives for the 1977-78 term, then elected to the South Dakota Senate from 1979 to 1992.
She served on the Legislative Research Council Board from 1979 to 1984 and was assistant minority leader for the Senate Democrats from 1987-1990. She was appointed to the board of directors for the Farm Services Agency by President Bill Clinton from 1992-2000, and by President Jimmy Carter to the committee for the national Rural Health Care Initiative.
Doris was a strong legislative voice in changing the University of South Dakota School of Medicine from a two-year to four-year program, to insure South Dakota would have a steady supply of doctors for rural areas.
Doris was a compassionate soul, quick to smile, quick to laugh. She was interested in every person’s life journey and helped folks where she could, whenever she could. There were many highlights in her political career: hosting pheasant hunt breakfasts for Senator Tom Daschle, being named a national Outstanding Young Woman by the Jaycette organization, being presented the Billy Sutton Democrat Leadership award by the South Dakota Democrat Party, and serving as a delegate to the 1980 Democrat Presidential Convention to support Senator Edward Kennedy.
A quote from Kennedy’s speech at the convention inspired and guided her public service and her private life because it encapsulated her beliefs. “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dreams shall never die.” –Sen. Edward Kennedy, 1980.
She enjoyed participation in the Valley Reading Circle, which her grandmother Mary Putnam helped organize in the early part of the 20th century. Doris served on the Tripp County Commission, with the Tripp County Library as one of her responsibilities. She continued to serve on the Tripp County Library Board until 2017. For Doris, the most pleasant part of any day was reading two or three newspapers while drinking a good cup of coffee.
Doris’s faith was strong and constant; she and Kenny served as confirmation teachers for St. Isidore’s Catholic Church, Colome, SD. She was a member of the Catholic Daughters of America. Kenny surprised her when their daughter Lorrie was born by joining the Church and being baptized with Lorrie. He had taken religious instructions secretly with Fr. Robert Ehrenbold at the Paxton church, letting her think he was playing cards with friends or working over at her folks’ place.
She is survived by Kenny; their children: Jana Miner, Fort Pierre, SD; Kevin (Judy Ingold), Bonesteel, SD; Kate (Linda Watson), Kansas City, MO; and Lorrie Miner (Lee Brannan), Presho, SD. She is also survived by her most cherished granddaughters: Courtney Brannan (Todd Ewell), Bismarck, ND; Kristi Miner (Christine Ramler), Wichita, KS; and her favorite morning coffee companion, Timmi Lunsford Hutchison (Jesse Hutchison), Los Lunas, NM.
Other survivors are her brothers: Joe Putnam (Juli), Woodridge, CA; Jim Putnam, Visalia, CA; and Pat (Linda), San Mateo, CA, and her many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Margaret (Nan) Marwede and her brother Robert Putnam; her parents-in-law Harlow and Helen Miner; her brother-in-law Harlow Miner Jr.; her sisters-in-law, Mary Lou Putnam, Judy Putnam, and Carol Miner; and nephews, Brian Putnam and Greg Miner.
She is survived also by longtime, dear friends Jean Steffen, Edith Brook, Melba Stukel, Norma Springer, Mary Lou Mahan, and Larry and Carol Shepherd, and her Kansas City crew: Aesha Watson, Gus Spallo, Tina Spallo, Kathy Timmerman, Sam Hance, Tammy Jensen, Peggy Houchen, Ginny Talifero, Jane Messenger, and Sheila Oetker.
Condolences and memorials in lieu of flowers may be sent in care of Jana Miner, PO Box 725, Pierre, SD 57501. Memorials will be established for the Tripp County Library and St. John’s Catholic Cemetery, Paxton, SD.
Arrangements are through Clausen Funeral Home, Burke, SD. (clausenfuneralhome.com).