Imogene was born October 28, 1919 to Elmer and Rena (Haukaas) Smith on the family homestead located one and a half miles north of the Turtle Butte. She was the youngest child of a family of eight. Imogene attended her elementary education at the Turtle Butte School. In order to attend high school at Colome, Imogene lived and worked in the school’s dormitory. She was very active in high school, including cheerleading and school newspaper. She graduated in 1936 and continued her education at the Southern State Teachers College at Springfield, SD where she received her teaching degree. She taught for seven years in Gregory and Tripp County, majority of years at the Turtle Butte School. Education and continued learning was something that Imogene took great pride in and instilled in her children and their families.
On January 28, 1940, Imogene was baptized at the Wewela Community Church, where she continued to be a life-time member. On December 27, 1941, Imogene Smith married Donald Turnquist at this same church in Wewela. Imogene frequently said that Donald had the bluest eyes she had ever seen. To this union, 5 children were born: Donna, Ronald, Larry, Roger, and Nancy. In 1942, Don enlisted in the Navy. Imogene followed Donald to Illinois and Florida where he was stationed for training and enabled her to see various parts of the United States. When Don was stationed overseas in 1943, Imogene returned home to be close to family in the Wewela area. Following the end of WWII, Don and Imogene purchased a farm located a mile south of Wewela near the Nebraska State line.
Imogene was very involved in the Wewela and surrounding area activities, including the fund raising and building of the Wewela Church holding various offices in the operation of the church. She helped organize the “Do-A-Deed Extension Club” that was an organization where Imogene spent many hours doing charity works including funding and sending supplies to soldiers in WWII. Imogene was also a leader in 4-H, FHA Chapter mother for Springview High School, substitute teacher at Wewela school, and was member of the Colome American Legion Auxiliary. Her organization, work ethic, and leadership skills were exemplified in the fact that Imogene always held various offices in every organization she belonged to including being President of the Colome American Legion Auxiliary. Her children and their activities were her pride and joy. Whether it be volunteering to sew cheerleading outfits or driving carloads of kids to sporting events, she loved being involved with not only her children, but people in general. Imogene had a gift of making every one welcome and comfortable whether it be in her own house or at a ball game. When grandchildren began their own activities, Imogene became their biggest fan also. Imogene was a huge supporter of the Smith Family Reunion each year and cherished recording the family activities.
After the family had grown and left home, Imogene began a new career as Postmaster of the Wewela Post Office. She dedicated 24 years to a job she loved, retiring at age 80 in 2000. In 2000, Don and Imogene decided it was time to enjoy their family and grandchildren even more. They sold the farm to their son, Roger, and his wife, Helen. Don and Imogene continued to live on the farm in their own home, traveling to visit family and friends, and attending even more grandchildren’s activities. In 2011, they moved to Gregory, SD to be closer to family.