Ethel Mae Brown, 99, of Miller, went to be with her heavenly Father on March 12, 2018. She passed peacefully after a short illness at Hand County Memorial Hospital with family at her side.
Funeral service will 11:00 a.m., Monday, March 19, 2018 at the First Presbyterian Church, Miller with Rev. Brian Jones officiating with visitation one hour prior. Burial will follow at G.A.R. Cemetery, Miller.
Ethel Mae Hoopman, the older of two daughters, was born August 21, 1918, in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin, to John and Alice (Wynveen) Hoopman. The family moved to South Dakota when Ethel was a teenager, settling in Buffalo County. Times were tough; before she finished high school, Ethel’s formal education ended so she could take on sewing work to earn extra money for her family.
On March 4, 1939, Ethel married Fred Arthur Brown in Huron, SD. They bought a farm north of Gann Valley, SD, and raised their three children. They moved to Miller in the 1960s, where Fred took a position with Tri-State Insulation. They enjoyed square dancing and Friday night stock car racing. Ethel’s mother came to live with them in the 1970s. She was of great comfort and support when Fred suddenly died of a heart attack in 1973.
Hard working and always busy, Ethel began her nurse’s aide career in Miller, employed at the nursing home for over two decades. She loved her residents and co-workers. However, she was also known to be strict, overseeing others’ work to ensure the highest quality…if she couldn’t bounce a quarter off the draw sheet, your bed wasn’t right!
Ethel was a lifelong and active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Miller. She was often the local “taxi,” driving friends to Sunday services, shopping, appointments and ball games. She enjoyed people, had a large network of friends and was always proud to introduce her children and grandchildren to everyone. If you hadn’t seen her in a while, she might gesture you closer so she could affectionately pinch your cheeks. She loved all babies and held several long-term babysitting positions over the years, caring for and talking about her charges as if they were her own.
Ethel was a sports fan! She followed the Minnesota Twins, Miller Rustlers and local softball teams. She and her friends were the community’s loyal cheering section, even making road trips to out of town games.
To be closer to family, Ethel moved to Pierre in 2012. When the time came for more assistance, she returned to the Miller long-term care where she previously worked for so many years.
Ethel is survived by her daughters, Betty (Jim) Hanig of Pukwana, and Marijean (Leonard) Petersen of Pierre; son, Larry Brown of Garden Grove, CA; sister, Marion Fare of Caledonia, MI; sister-in-law, Abbie Hill of Miller; grandchildren: Lance Abernathy of Chamberlain, Dawn Abernathy of Houston, TX, LuJuana Abernathy of Toowoomba, AUS, Lana (Rob) Laurenz of Pierre, Scott (Cheryl) Petersen of Vacaville, CA, Kimberly Daily of Garden Grove, CA, Crystal Brown of Garden Grove, CA, Jamie Suarez of Sharon, UT, and Dustin Brown of San Jose, CA; 26 great grandchildren; 16 great great grandchildren; several nieces, nephews, and a host of friends.
Ethel is preceded in death by her husband; her parents; daughter-in-law, Gloria Brown; and two grandsons, Larry Dale Brown and Mark Petersen.
Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Ethel’s arrangements.