All posts by handhappenings

Lowell Droz

Lowell Droz, 87, of Miller, passed away Saturday, September 30, 2017 at the Good Samaritan Society in Miller.

Memorial service with military honors will be 2:00 p.m., Friday, October 6, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church, Miller. Burial will be at Hillcrest Cemetery, Miller. Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Thursday, October 5, 2017 at Reck Funeral Home, Miller.

Lowell was born May 4, 1930 in Miller to Les and Irene (Taylor) Droz. He attended Miller High School and worked for various electric companies in the Dakotas and Wyoming and as a lineman in Texas. He served as a Marine during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953. Upon honorable discharge, he returned to southern Hand county.

He married the love of his life, Donna Faye Johnson, February 18, 1954. To this union Jeanette, Sandra, and Greg were born. He ranched with his father in partnership for several years until he and Donna purchased a ranch. He took great pride in planting a field of arrow straight corn rows and putting up massive haystacks for another passion, the cattle he raised. His son, Greg joined him in the corporation in 1977. He was a treasurer of Pleasant Valley Township for many years and Hand County Commissioner for seven years. He was on the Draft Board, a member of the South Hand Fire Department, Good Will Acres and Marine Corps League. His hobby, when not farming or ranching, was racing a stock car and later became a flag man at the Central Speedway.

Lowell and Donna spent many winters in Mesa, AZ and retired from the ranch in 1999, moving to Miller in 2003.

Thankful to have shared his life are his wife, Donna; children: Jeanette Hastings, Sandra Holt and Greg (Shelly) Droz, all of Miller; the pride and joy of his life, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Harold (Renae) Hastings, Hayden and Hillary, Tera (Mike Eells) Holt, Aryan, Ariel, Merrit and Madalyn, Jared (Kimberly) Holt, Karri (Jon) Arey, Bryan Droz and son, Peyton, Nikki (Craig) Jones, Emry and Kash, Lora (Gene) Holt, Ryan and Zane, Taylor Droz and daughter, Nora, Logan Single and Shantel Single; a brother, Charles (Fern) Droz; sisters: Darlene (Jesse) Hammer and Carolyn (Marvin) Diede; beloved in-laws: Wallace and Darlene Johnson and Carroll Morford and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents; infant brother, Howard and brother, Gordon.

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


Francine (Fran) Gail Blair

Francine (Fran) Gail Blair, 63, of Miller, SD passed away on September 24, 2017 at the Avera Hand County Memorial Hospital in Miller, after a hard-fought battle with cancer.

There will be a Remembrance Celebration for family and friends to come and share fellowship with each other and celebrate Fran’s life from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, September 30, 2017 September at the Friendship Center in Miller, SD. Food and refreshments will be served throughout the afternoon.

Francine was born on October 5, 1953 in Huron, SD to Keith and Geraldine (Smith) Speirs. She married Stephen M. Blair on October 5, 1983 in Rapid City, SD.

Francine had a great love for animals, and in particular dogs. She and her husband raised Chinese Shar Pei’s for many years, while living in Gillette, Wy. She also had a love of travel. With her husband Steve, they traveled the world to such places like Africa, Yemen, Venezuela, and the United Arab Emirates. While traveling, she often did volunteer work, in some of these countries.

She is survived by her daughter, Valerie Peterson of Miller, SD; son-in-law, Joseph P. Koeck of Ree Heights, SD; Ten grandchildren: Gabrielle (Tyler), Alan (Deidee), Christian, Leanne, Ryan, Lisa, Julian, Alicia, Noah, and Seth; five great grandchildren: Aiyana, Zachariah, Evony, and Tyler Jr., and Colby; four brothers: Dennis (Terri) Lyftogt, Stephen (LaDonna) Speirs, William Speirs, Kevin (Lori) Speirs; one sister, Cindy Arland; and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Stephen M. Blair; parents, Keith and Geraldine Speirs; daughters, Jill Hunt and Tara Koeck; brother-in-law, John Arland; sister-in-law, Candie Blair; grandma, Alice Timm; and first husband, Scott Hunt.

The family is asking that in lieu of flowers, to please donate to one of the many organizations dedicated to fighting cancer.

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

Elizabeth Gertrude “Betty” Martinmaas Dalton

Elizabeth Gertrude “Betty” Dalton, 93, of Pierre, passed away peacefully Thursday, September 21, 2017 at The Pierre Care and Rehab Facility in Pierre.

Funeral Mass was held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Miller. Burial followed at St. Ann’s Cemetery, Miller.  Visitation was held from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Monday, September 25, 2017 with a 7:00 p.m., prayer service, all at the church.

Betty was born on March 22, 1924 in Polo, South Dakota to Gerhard and Josephine (Hemetsberger) Martinmaas. Betty graduated from Notre Dame Academy in Mitchell, SD in 1944. She continued her education by attending summer school and night classes at Northern State University, South Dakota State University, Augustana College and Huron College where she graduated in 1971 with a BA degree in Education. Betty married Forrest Dalton, her husband of 73 years on September 6, 1944. After moving to Highmore, SD, Betty began her teaching career. Over the next 16 years, the couple welcomed 8 children into their home and Betty set about teaching them her love of life. Betty’s children remember her as a kind and gentle mother who encouraged them to pursue their goals.

Betty was a dedicated teacher, spending 24 years teaching at country schools in Hand and Hyde Counties. Betty spent the next 17 years teaching in Mound City and Pollock, SD, retiring in 1988. She was a caring individual who loved children and who was passionate about educating students. She was especially proud and fond of her 16 grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren and 10 great great grandchildren. Betty was an accomplished organist who enjoyed playing for family and friends. She also enjoyed bowling, gardening and crafts. Betty was an active and dedicated member of Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Eureka, SD where she was an active member of the Altar Society.

Betty is survived by her husband, Forrest of Pierre; children: Patricia (Charles) Thell of Freeport, MN, Char (Larry) Morton of Laurel, MT, Lynette (Ron) Bousquet of Broken Arrow, OK, Forrest Jr. of Tulsa, OK, Cindy (Lawayne) Egeberg of Hazen, ND, Anita (Jim) Dornbusch of Pierre, and Tim of Eureka; 16 grandchildren; 29 great grandchildren; and 10 great-great grandchildren.

She is preceded in death by her parents; son, Terry Allen; two infant sons; a son-in-law, Ron Bousquet; grand-son, Mitch Morton; great grand-daughter, Rachel Morton; great-great granddaughter, Elizabeth VanCleave; and 8 brothers and sisters.

The family would like to thank the staff at The Pierre Care and Rehab Facility for the care and love they showed Betty for the last 6 years.

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

Arlene Templeton

Arlene Templeton, 86, of Rapid City and formerly of Miller, passed away Friday, September 22, 2017 at Regional Health Home and Hospice in Rapid City.

Memorial service will be 2:00 p.m., Saturday, September 30, 2017 at Reck Funeral Home, Miller with Rev. Dr. Brian Jones officiating. Burial will be at Hillcrest Cemetery, Miller.

Arlene was born March 28, 1931 to George and Ursula Melber at the family farm in St. Lawrence, S.D. She attended St. Lawrence High School and graduated in 1949. She married Robert Templeton on October 8, 1950 at the Methodist Church in Miller, S.D. They owned Templeton Plumbing in Miller, S.D. until 1976 when they moved to Spearfish, S.D. where Robert became employed by Black Hills State College.

She was a member of the Moose Lodge 1137, VFW 5860, National Federation of the Blind and Minneluzahn Senior Center. She enjoyed hunting, fishing, bowling, bingo and playing cards. But her favorite interest was watching her family in their sports activities.

Arlene is survived by her sons, Bob Jr. (Connie) of Ree Heights and Kim (Lori) of Rapid City; grandsons: Dylan (Jenn) of Miller, and Adam (Kara) of Rapid City; granddaughters: Sarah Abrams (Mark) and Caitlin Templeton Humphries (Brian) both of Rapid City; great grandsons: Fischer Abrams and Finley and Grady Templeton of Rapid City; one brother, George (Donna) Melber of St. Lawrence; one sister, Eva Nissen of Minneapolis, MN, and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her loving, husband Robert; brother, Lloyd (Mickey) Melber; sisters: Rosine (Philip) Schwartz, Freida (Mike) Porter, Mary (Bud) Estes, Elsie (Charles) Love, and Louise (Homer) Reddix; one sister-in-law, Nancy Melber; and one brother-in-law, Alvin Nissen.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial gift may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to fund research in finding a cure to help her great grandson Fischer. Donations may be sent to directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 100 North 6th Street, #604A, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403 or online at

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

Loren Newell

Funeral service will be 9:00 a.m., Saturday, September 23, 2017 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Miller with Rev. Max Miller officiating. Burial with military honors will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery, Miller. Visitation will be 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., Friday, September 22, 2017 at Reck Funeral Home, Miller.

Loren was born on June 6, 1930 in Huron to George and Bernice (Bloodgood) Newell. Loren grew up in Miller and graduated from Miller High School in 1951. Loren enlisted in the National Guard; being the ninth person to join the Miller unit when it was established in 1948. He was stationed in Alaska on active duty during the Korean War, and retired in 1985 after 36 years of service.

On June 7, 1953, Loren married Marilyn R. Slunecka of Miller. Loren and Marilyn had three children and celebrated 52 years of marriage prior to Marilyn’s passing in 2005. Loren worked as a butcher at Melhoff’s and Tucker’s SuperValu in the meat department for 36 years before retiring. Loren and Marilyn also owned and operated the A&W and Loren’s Burger. Loren was an outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing, a master gardener, devoted husband, father, and grandfather, and generous friend.

Grateful for having shared Loren’s life are his three children: Debra (Michael) Cruickshank of Torrington, WY, Deanna (John) Wilber of Woodbine, IA, and Ted Newell of Sioux Falls; five grandchildren: Jodi (Ryan Risdal) Smith, Joshua Smith, TJ (Katie) Newell, Travis Newell, and Anthony (Erica) Newell; three step-grandchildren: Tiffany Wilber, Tamara (Matt) Burkhart, and Geoff (Macee) Wilber; eight great grandchildren: Lauren, Oliva, and Katherine Risdal; Liz, Kadence, and Eli Smith; Natalie and Ben Newell; brother-in-law, Gordon (Barbara) Slunecka; sister, Larraine Schimke; and many step-great grandchildren; nieces, nephews; and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Marilyn; and siblings: Evelyn, Alice, Joyce, Maxine, Marie, Harold, and William.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to the Salvation Army or Wounded Warrior Project.

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

Janet Fritzsche

Janet Fritzsche, 69, of Miller, passed away Sunday, September 17, 2017 at her home surrounded by her family.

Funeral service will be 11:00 a.m., Thursday, September 21, 2017 at the First Presbyterian Church, Miller with Rev. Dr. Brian Jones officiating. Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 20, 2017 with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service, all at the church.

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

Virginia Jenner

Virginia Jenner, 86, of Miller, passed away Sunday, September 17, 2017 at Avera Prince of Peace in Sioux Falls.

Funeral service will be 10:00 a.m., Friday, September 22, 2017 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Miller with Rev. Max Miller officiating. Burial will follow at G.A.R. Cemetery, Miller. Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Thursday, September 21, 2017 at Reck Funeral Home, Miller.

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

Victor Martinmaas

Victor Martinmaas, 93, of Polo, passed away Monday, August 28, 2017 at the Good Samaritan Society in Miller.

Funeral Mass will be 10:30 a.m., Friday, September 1, 2017 at St. Liborius Catholic Church, Polo with Father Christopher Hughes, celebrant. Burial will follow at Mount Calvary Cemetery, Polo. A wake and rosary service will be 7:00 p.m., Thursday, August 31, 2017 at the church with visitation one hour prior.

Victor was born February 21, 1924, the eldest son of Werner and Mary (Schaefers) Martinmaas at their home six miles west and one and a half miles north of Polo. Vic attended St. Liborius Parochial School in Polo. He married Marion Kolda of Polo and they established a farm home four miles west and one and a half miles south of Polo. Vic loved the land and through his example of stewardship, he passed on to his children and grandchildren a deep respect for nature. Vic loved farming, ranching, angus cattle, and treasured the hours spent in his gravel pit. Victor will be remembered as a gentle and quiet man, inventive, resourceful, compassionate, generous, and spiritual as well as fun loving and adventurous. His wisdom, integrity, and sense of humor inspired others to always look for the good in any situation and make the best of it.

Vic was a loyal member of the Polo-Orient Knights of Columbus and Tri-State Good Sam camping group. He served on the St. Liborius Parish Council and was instrumental in various parish building projects. Vic’s hobbies included woodworking, dancing, fishing, camping, card playing (especially sheepshead), and spending time with family and friends.

His memory will be cherished by his wife of 71 years, Marion; their five children: Donna (LeRoy) Schaefers and their children: Anita Nelson, Darrell (April) Schaefers, Tony (Brenda) Schaefers, Jennifer (Scott) Gibson, Andrew (Angela) Schaefers, and Sarah (Tom) Schuster; Linda Leddy and her children: Andrea (John) Gerke, Paul (Jannel) Brueggeman, Amy (Matt) Douglas, and Dan (Liza) Brueggeman; Chuck (Rodey) Martinmaas and their children: Jared Martinmaas, Melissa (Tim) Quinn, and Curt Martinmaas; Marilyn Burckhard and her children: Shawn (Joy) Burckhard and Erin Burckhard; and Ken (Theresa) Martinmaas and their children: Andy (Rickkie) Martinmaas, Grant Martinmaas, and Weston Martinmaas; one brother, Ed (Delores) Martinmaas; one sister, Marge (Carl) Durfee; sisters-in-law: Celesta (Sally) Martinmaas and Bev Martinmaas; 18 grandchildren; and 31 great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Carol Naber; three brothers: Gerald Martinmaas, Werner (Muggs) Martinmaas, Jr., and Robert (Bob) Martinmaas; an infant son; sisters-in-law, Elfrieda Martinmaas and Lois Martinmaas; and two great grandchildren.

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

Velva E. Kopecky

Velva E. Kopecky, 92, of Aurora, CO and formerly of Miller, SD, passed into the Lord’s care on Friday, August 25, 2017 at The Medical Center of Aurora in Aurora, CO.

Funeral service will be 9:30 a.m., Friday, September 1, 2017 at Reck Funeral Home, Miller. Visitation will begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday. A reception will follow at the Miller Community Center. Burial will be at Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis.

Velva Hofer was born February 5, 1925 on the family farm east of Onida, South Dakota. She attended grade school in Blaine Township and graduated from high school in Onida. After graduation she completed training at Stewart Beauty School in Sioux Falls. She worked as a beautician until she met her husband. She married Roy Kopecky in her family home on January 31, 1953. They lived and worked on their farm seven miles west of Polo until 1968 when they moved to Miller. There she worked in the Miller Greenhouse for two summers and as a Certified Nurse’s Aide at the Good Samaritan Center for 14 years.

She loved to garden, can her bounty, decorate cakes, sew and quilt. One of Velva’s greatest joys was the summer visits of her grandchildren and hosting her “Grandma Day” at the end of the visit.

Velva will be missed by her children, Jean Kopecky, Joan Oligmueller, and James Kopecky; her grandchildren: Brook (Chris) Abbe, Cody Kopecky, Lacey (Andrew) Wicker, Jessica (Qwincy) Houston, and Matthew Kopecky; her great-grandchildren Aksel Wasmoen, Dietrich Wasmoen, Stiles Abbe, Weston Abbe, Grant Wicker, Emery Wicker, and Ariah Houston; and her sisters: Marcelleen Davis and Delia Mundt.

Velva was predeceased by her husband, Roy Kopecky; her parents, J.R. & Rebecca Hofer; and two brothers: Harry Hofer and infant George Hofer.

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