Gene Haeffner

Gene Haeffner, 80, of Miller, passed away Saturday, April 28, 2018 at the Good Samaritan Society in Miller.

Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m., Thursday, May 3, 2018 at Reck Funeral Home, Miller with Rev. Max Miller officiating. Burial will follow at Sunbeam Cemetery, rural Miller. Visitation will begin one hour prior to the funeral service.

Gene was born March 13, 1938 on a farm near St. Lawrence, South Dakota to Jacob and Caroline (Guthmiller) Haeffner. He was the second to the youngest of a family of six children. In 1957, Gene graduated from Miller High School. He then attended Southern Teachers College at Springfield, South Dakota for two years. Gene later worked at the rubble site for eight years. In October of 1997, he married Mary Ufen, the love of his life.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Haeffner; one step-daughter and step-son; three step-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and siblings: Mable Wagner, Una Nicholas, Ray Haeffner, Dwaine Haeffner, Donna Petersen, and an infant sibling.

Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Gene’s arrangements.


Donald R. Simpson

Donald R. Simpson, 80, of Miller, passed Thursday, April 5, 2018 at Avera Hand County Memorial Hospital in Miller.

Celebration of Life will be 2:00 p.m., Saturday, April 14, 2018 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Miller. Private burial will be at G.A.R. Cemetery, Miller.

Donald Ritchie Simpson was born November 1, 1937 to Clarence and Eva (Jangula) Simpson in Bismarck, North Dakota. He was raised on the family farm in rural Emmons County, North Dakota and graduated from Braddock High School.

On November 8, 1958 he married Joyce Hoffman and the two resided briefly in San Diego, California while he served in the U.S. Navy before moving to Aberdeen, South Dakota. In 1962, the couple moved to Miller and raised their three sons.

Don worked many years as a mechanic for Scheer Implement in Miller as well as the City of Miller and the nursing home before retiring.

Don had a variety of interests including his many wood projects, playing cards, feeding birds, hunting, and his all time favorite – fishing. He lived to fish walleyes and could be found on the river with Dale on any day.

Grateful to have shared in his life are his sons: David (Michelle), Dale (Jill), and Robert (Lisa); grandchildren: Ben, April, Kevin (Elizabeth), Chris (Jessica), Lucas, Joseph, Justin, and Jennifer; great grandchildren: Harley, Ellie, Davitt, and Christian; brother, Jerry (Kathy) Simpson; sister, Carol Wright; and brother-in-law, Donald (Vicky) Hoffman.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife and soulmate Joyce in 2014; parents-in-law, Sam and Ida Hoffman; and three sisters: Rosie, Philco, and Ida.

Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Don’s arrangements.

Richard E. Walton

Richard E. Walton, 81, of Miller, passed away Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at the Highmore Health in Highmore.

Funeral Mass was held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Miller with Father Paul T. Josten, celebrant. Burial followed at G.A.R. Cemetery, Miller. Visitation was held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., Monday, April 2, 2018 at Reck Funeral Home, Miller.

Richard Edward Walton was born February 23, 1937 in Miller, South Dakota to Ralph Richard and Florence A. (Bolton) Walton. He attended school in Hand County. Throughout his life, he worked as a farmer/rancher, highline construction, but his favorite job was helping at Trudy’s Daycare with all the kids.

In his free time, Richard enjoyed gardening, trapping, hunting, and fishing. He was a member of St. Ann’s Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus. He was a longtime and faithful greeter and usher at the church.

Survivors include his brothers: Father James of Chicago, Eugene of Hill City, Gerald (Mavis) of Blunt, and Kenneth (Edna) of Spearfish; sisters: Doloris (Cliff) Volek of Highmore and Marilyn Luscombe of Spearfish; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Florence Walton; grandparents: George and Mary Bolton and Clay and Emma Walton; sister-in-law, Donna; and several aunts and uncles.

Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Richard’s arrangements.

Donna Fischer

Donna Fischer, 86, of Miller, passed away Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at Avera Hand County Memorial Hospital of Miller.

Funeral service will be 2:30 p.m., Friday, March 23, 2018 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Miller with Rev. Max Miller officiating. Burial will be at 12:30 p.m. Friday at Rose Hill Cemetery, rural Wessington. Visitation will be 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., Thursday, March 22, 2018 at Reck Funeral Home, Miller.

Donna was born March 19, 1932 to Khristian and Helma (Dahl) Nielsen. She graduated high school at Arlington. In 1953, she graduated from Sioux Valley Nursing School. She loved nursing; surgery being her favorite. She worked many years, retiring in 1998 when computers came into play. Throughout the years, she worked for the hospital, clinic, nursing home, and home health.

In 1956, she married Ben Foust and three sons were born to this union: Steve, Dan, and Neil. She was so proud of her boys. On January 8, 1982 she married the love of her life, Leland Fischer. They made their home on the farm south of Wessington. In 1986, they moved into Miller. Leland continued to farm.

She was very active in the Lutheran Church in Miller; spending many hours in the kitchen and sewing quilts. Donna loved to stay busy. She loved sharing her many talents of cross stitch, painting, crocheting, and quilting. Donna was well known for her brownies and other bake goods.

Grateful to have shared in her life are her sons: Steve (Annette) Foust of Greeley, CO and Neil (Terry) Foust of Rapid City; two granddaughters: Miranda (Stephen) and A.J.; her beloved sister, Lois Sherwood; daughter-in-law, Kathy; and her special friend, Robert Fawcett.

She was preceded in death were her parents; husband, Leland; son, Dan; and brother, Lloyd.

Memorials can be directed to Trinity Lutheran Church in Miller.

Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Donna’s arrangements

Marie Taylor

Marie Therese Yvonne Taylor, 75, of St. Lawrence, passed away Monday, March 19, 2018 at her home after losing her battle with cancer.

Funeral service will be 10:00 a.m., Friday, March 23, 2018 at St. Ann’s Church, Miller with Father Paul Josten officiating, with visitation beginning at 9:00 a.m. Burial will be at 2:30 p.m., MST, Friday, March 23, 2018 at Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis.

Marie was born in Harly, France on February 8, 1943 to Rene’ and Yvonne Alice (Dudebout) Boulanger. She graduated high school in France. While her future husband, Richard Taylor, was serving in the U.S. Air Force, he met Marie in Germany and they were later married.

In Marie’s free time, she enjoyed gardening, cooking, and her rescue greyhounds.

She is survived by her children: Jessica Taylor Alsdorf and Michael (Deena) Taylor; grandchildren: Ashley, Shelby, David, Harley, Sean, and Christina; great grandchildren: Wyatt, Isabel, and Hailey; and her rescue greyhound, Max.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and husband, Richard in 2016.

Memorials can be directed to Heartland Greyhound Adoption, P.O. Box 342, Bondurant, IA, 50035 or visit

Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Marie’s arrangements.

Shirley A. Letsche

Shirley A. Letsche, 82, of Miller, passed away Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at the Good Samaritan Society in Miller.

Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Sunday, March 18, 2018 with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service, all at Reck Funeral Home in Miller.

Shirley was born September 14, 1935 in Huron, SD to Mac and Margaret (Fastnacht) Mortensen, the oldest of three children. She graduated from Wessington High School in 1953.

She married Travis Letsche in 1955. Six children were born to this union: Gayle, Teresa, Vanessa, Lisa, Scot, and Terry. She worked for several years at Wells Fargo in Sioux Falls until her retirement in 2005 when she moved to Huron. She earned a BA degree in Business from National American University, Sioux Falls.

She was an active member of the Trinity Lutheran Church for many years. She enjoyed dancing on weekends, playing cards or Scrabble with her children and grandchildren and was an avid reader. She was a dedicated pool player and won many tournaments and competitions, and loved watching the Minnesota Twins.

Survivors include her five children; Gayle (Jeff) Jacobson of St. Cloud, Minnesota, Vanessa (Ed) Short of Brookings, Lisa Droz of Rapid City, Scot Letsche of Rapid City, and Terry Letsche of Mitchell; 13 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her step-parents, Doc Dobler and Freida Mortensen; one daughter, Teresa; sister, Nedra Jones; and brother, Keith Mortensen.

Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Shirley’s arrangements

Ida O. Weidenman

Ida Weideman, 93, of Miller, passed away Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at the Good Samaritan Society in Miller.

Funeral service will be 10:00 a.m., Friday, March 16, 2018 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Miller. Burial will follow at G.A.R. Cemetery, Miller. Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Thursday, March 15, 2018 followed by a 7:00 p.m. prayer service, all at Reck Funeral Home, Miller.

Ida was born on February 21, 1925 to John and Christina (Mertz) Schock in Kulm, North Dakota. Ida came to Miller and worked her way through school graduating from Miller High School in 1944. She met Ben Weideman during her sophomore year. Following graduation, Ben joined the Navy and Ida attended the South Dakota Beauty Academy in Sioux Falls.

The Weidemans were married January 24, 1945 while Ben was still in the Navy. Ida did hairdressing in Oxnard, California before the couple moved back to South Dakota where Ben worked as a plasterer and brick layer.

On February 14, 1947, Ida opened a salon in Miller. Ben joined Ida in the family business as a hairdresser in 1954. They also operated a salon in Faulkton during the 1960s and one in Highmore from 1961 to 1984. She was a member of the Hairdressers and Cosmetology Association since 1948. In 1985, Ida was named South Dakota Cosmetologist of the Year.

Ida and Ben were married for nearly 70 years and were blessed with two sons, nine grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren. Ida loved nothing more than spending time with her family, cutting hair, and visiting. Ida enjoyed her career, but she also enjoyed her personal life.

One of the highlights of her career was participating in state and national competitions where she won many awards! Ida is thankful to the people who stayed late into the nights to help her practice before competitions.

Ida is survived by her sons: Tom (Paula) and Jerry (Nita); her grandchildren: Jade (Steph) Weideman, Tessa Dosch, TJ (Misty) Weideman, Ashley (Derek) Henry, Katie (Nate) Britt, Whitney (Josh) Henry, Taylor (Jessica) Weideman, Mitchell Weideman, Brekk Weideman; great grandchildren: Zachery Weideman, Ryker Weideman, Lilly Weideman, Taven Weideman, Thomas Weideman, Joseph Henry, Brett Henry, Chloe Henry, Jonathan Henry and Kristina Henry; and sisters: Ruth Buerkley, Ella Buerkley, Emma Klipfel and Violet Moncur.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Ben; daughter, Candance Weideman; sister, Esther Schlauch; brothers: Enoch Schock and Rueben Schock.

Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Ida’s arrangements.

Ethel Mae Brown

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.

Marvin Hargens

Marvin Hargens, 84, of Miller, passed away Friday, March 9, 2018 at Clarkson Health Care in Rapid City while receiving end of life care.

Funeral service will be 10:00 a.m., Saturday, March 17, 2018 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Miller with Rev. Max Miller officiating. Burial will follow at the St. Lawrence Cemetery with military honors. Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Friday, March 16, 2018 with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service, all at the funeral home.

Marvin was born in November 23, 1933 to the parents of George and Bessie Hargens in Hand County, SD. He attended a rural county school and joined the US Air Navy in 1955. Marvin married Donna (McCue) on January 26th, 1962. The couple farmed for 50 years north of St. Lawrence and raised four children. Marvin foremost was a farmer; he also worked for Community Oil, Hand County Implement, owned D&M Liquors, and baled hay for several farmers in the area. Marvin left the farm in August 2013 to resided in his home in Miller, SD.

Marvin loved his dogs (he had several over the years), his most recent companion “Sprout”. He enjoyed the daily newspapers, and was a master at SUDOKO.  Marvin loved his morning grapefruit, a good steak and an occasional trip to the casino. His mind was sharp and he was a great historian.

He is survived by his children: Robert (Patsy) LeGrand of St. Lawrence, Susan (Brad) Mareska of Mobridge, Yvonne “Vonnie” (Galen) Tapio of Rapid City, and Connie (Bill) Martinmaas of Reno NV; eight grandchildren; nine great grandchildren; brothers: Charles (Joyce) Hargens, Richard Hargens, Lester (Carolyn) Hargens, all of Miller, Raymond (Linda) Hargens of Idaho; sister: Hazel Clement of Miller; sisters-in-law: Lois Hargens, Charlene Hargens, Katherine McCue, and Pam (Dale) Weeder; along with several nieces and nephews.

Marvin was preceded in death by wife, Donna McCue; his parents: George and Bessie Hargens; grandson, Talis Tapio; two sisters: Mable Holt and Eileen Stender; two brothers: George Hargens and Edward (Decan) Hargens.

Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Marvin’s arrangements

Roger John Venjohn

Roger John Venjohn, 75, of Vayland, SD, passed away Thursday, March 8, 2018 at his home.

Funeral Mass will be 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Miller with Father Paul T. Josten, celebrant. Burial will be at Mount Calvary Cemetery, Polo with military honors. Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 13, 2018 with a 7:00 p.m. rosary and prayer service, all at the church.

Roger was born to Wilbert Xavier and Dorine Gertrude (Schaefers) Venjohn on November 28, 1942 in Faulkton, South Dakota. He grew up on the family farm South of Polo, attending St. Liborius Church and Catholic School, until he graduated 8th Grade. After graduation he began his life working for Ralph Wernsmann and helping on the family farm.

Roger was a Field Wireman with the South Dakota Nation Guard and was noted as an expert marksman. Roger married Sharlene Mary Eschenbaum on September 30, 1966 and to this 27-year union were born four children: Timothy, Tammy, Todd and Tonja. Shortly after, he began work with a construction crew building Hwy 14, moving to Ellendale, MN. Once that project ended he began work at a local butter factory. Since he continued serving monthly with the Miller NG Unit, that brought them back to the Miller, Ree Heights, St. Lawrence area. After moving back he found employment with Sheldon Holt, Ree Heights Implement, Joe Beaner Trucking and Miller Fencing. While living in St. Lawrence, his love of collecting iron began. This also marked the beginning of a 30 year career with REA (Dakota Energy). Roger’s strong work ethic showed as he continued to serve as a linesman and began a small family farm NW of Miller. This was when Venjohn Wrecking and Salvage was established and the collection grew (and grew and grew…) to include iron, cars, implements, etc. Roger and the family moved to Vayland in October 1982, where he continued with his passion for salvage and restoration. Roger and Sharlene took separate paths in 1993 but were able to keep open lines of communication because of the love of their children.

Roger was blessed to find love again and married Lora B. Karinen on March 16, 1995. With this union he gained two stepdaughters: Jamie and Jessica. Roger and Lora were days away from celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary. During this time Roger’s faith life grew along with his ‘hobbies’. Roger and Lora found themselves with a new business; Building Moving. Oh, the adventures and stories this brought! Roger took great pride in repurposing the Greenleaf Church into a guesthouse for all the friends and family to come stay. They also enjoyed attending area auctions, car and implement shows, community gatherings or fundraisers. Roger was always happy to help neighbors or offer advice to anyone who needed it, he enjoyed connecting with people, playing cards, laughing and sharing stories. Roger continually worked on various projects and could be found tinkering around the yard, as he was a jack of all trades.  Throughout Roger’s life, he was not held back by a genetic heart condition but instead was always making new plans and was an optimist for the future.

His life motto was to work hard and to make the best of any and all circumstances. He will be sorely missed by his large family and countless friends.

Roger is survived by his wife, Lora; children: Tim (Marjean) Venjohn & children: Victor, John & Lauren of Whispering, Tammy (John) Mewes & children: Paxton, Morgan, Jordyn & Colton, Todd (Tina) Venjohn & children: Kristina & Kayla, and Tonja (Steve) Jessen & children: Gideon, Velvet, Letha & Ervin; stepchildren: Jamie (Bryan) Brost & child: Allison of Canistota, SD, and Jessica (Dan) Mertz & children: Zachary, Gabrielle, & Isabelle; 10 siblings: Marilyn Hanson, Cil (Les) Larson, Ron (Kathy) Venjohn, Diane Venjohn, Phyllis (Gary) Yearous, Miller, Gary Venjohn, Mesa, AZ; Jim (Nina) Venjohn, Ray (Yuri) Venjohn; Dan Venjohn; & Dave (Kelli) Venjohn; sister-in-law, Deb Venjohn; 27 nieces and nephews; and other extended family and friends.

Roger joined the saints and those who have passed before him. He is preceded in death by his parents, Dorine and Wilbert Venjohn; brother, Patrick Venjohn; and sister-in-law Vicki Venjohn.