Gone But Not Forgotten.....When someone you care about becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.
Share a memory about a classmate who is gone but not forgotten.
The web team has created a memorial book of obituaries of classmates that passed before us. This book will be at the website table for your viewing at the Saturday Banquet. We will from this point on, keep the book current. Website Team...
I unexpectedly was able to attend 2019's mini-reunion. Even more unexpected I found myself sitting at a table with Mike Wipf for (maybe) 30 minutes. Mike and I had been in Boy Scouts together well over 50 years ago, but that's not what we talked about.
I recalled from his thumbnail bio on this website that he had worked for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad and asked him about his experience. He'd been a conductor and had driven coal unit trains. I know a little about that job based on my professional experience with an association that contracted with BNSF for delivery of about a billion tons of coal per year, most of it from the Powder River Basin (Gillette area) where Mike worked. I've ridden a coal train and been in the cab when the emergency brakes were applied to avoid a collision with a pickup truck on the tracks ahead.
One story of his dovetailed into another of mine and, of course, he always had the better one because he'd actually done that work in all kinds of weather and with all manner of personalities in his crew. He also told me about driving one of those buses that takes coal mine workers out from town to the mines farthest away -- again, in all kinds of weather. He had a particularly harrowing story about driving a busful of coal miners on black ice.
Ours was an unanticipated conversation and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was surprised and grieved to learn of Mike's death just a few weeks later. There are hundreds of such potential encounters during a class reunion, yet fewer possible year-by-year. I encourage my classmates to attend these gatherings, not with any particular conversation-to-have in mind, but simply to experience chance encounters and conversations. After my heart attack in August, I am much more mindful of my own mortality. Get togethers like these, from my perspective, are worth the expense of time and effort to get there if for no other reason than a conversation such as I experienced with Mike.
This is the bittersweet chapter of reconnecting with classmates. I wish Paula and I had continued our friendship over the years. I lost track of her many years ago. Even if I'd known how to contact her when I was in Rapid for the 50 year reunion, it would have been too late. Of course that fact makes me sad. She and I both worked as sales clerks at the Kresge's store during high school. My parents rented my room to her while I was in college at Chadron, NE. For her first wedding I was bridesmaid in my parents' backyard with her 2 sisters Linda and Terry. I'm posting the only picture I've found of the event. It's a picture of the wedding party, but not of the bride and groom. I remember one picture of her opening a present of a rolling pin and shaking it at her husband in jest. I'll post it later if I find it. I have fond memories of this friend. Rest in peace, Pauletta.
While students at SDSM&T, Ron lived next door to us. We often shared meals and became great friends. I always thought he was one of the nicest guys I knew. It's sad to hear that he died of cancer. I will never forget him.
At Rick's Celebration of Life, his daughter Alice had his friends sign his guitar instead of a book that would be forgoten about in the future. Very heart warming way to remember him, a special treasure. In high school Rick played in a band named "The villagers". He liked to refer to his band as "The only surfing band in South Dakota". Rick will be missed.
John attended SDSM&T for a year before enlisting in the Army. After a year of electronics school, coming home to marry Rhonda Lehmann (class of 1969) in 1970, he headed to Germany for two years. On his return he joined the SD National Guard and retired after 20 years. He moved to Bellevue, NE, in 1995 for Rhonda's job change. In 2000 he graduated from Metropolitan Community College with a degree in computer technology. He worked for the Papillion/LaVista School district for 5 years before moving back to Rapid City where Rhonda had a job at Ellsworth AFB. He loved being back in the Black Hills. John died suddenly in July 2013 from a heart attack. His interests were riding his motorcycles, fishing, cooking, helping others and spending time with his grandchildren. He had two sons and 6 grandchildren.
Fred attended SDSU in Brookings and then spent 5 years in the US Air Force. He marrried Cheri Heumiller in 1971 and settled in Sioux Falls, SD. He graduated from Southeast Area Vocational Tech and then worked for Hutchinson Technology for 14 years. He passed away in 2008 due to a stroke. Fred had a daughter, two sons, and four grandchildren. His interests included Bible study, amateur radio, collecting and repairing antique electronics and spending time with his grandchildren.
I have many good memories of Ron Oney over the years I knew him. I knew him as a friend in high school and developed a closer friendship in college at SD Tech. We both started in Chemical Engineering, then Electrical Engineering, and finally Mathematics in our sophomore year. (Too much time in labs cramped our style, I guess!)
We were partners on the Tech debate team and traveled throughout South Dakota and one trip to the University of Colorado at Boulder. Ron won a superior in the Discussion competition at that tournament. His speaking and more importantly, listening skills portended his eventual career in counseling. Any time you were talking to Ron, he devoted his full energy to you. At that time, no matter who was there, you were the only person in the room.
I could tell many stories of our good times in college. Ron was also a groomsman at my wedding. But I will focus on 2015. Ron was battling cancer, and he really looked forward to Tech's reunion. We had a good time with him and a number of friends at the reunion, but many were unable to attend.
Ron decided to organize a reunion of the OES (Origin of the Earth Society) members, a group of us who attempted to discover the origin of the earth through various caving, hiking, and other expeditions. We convened on September 26-27 at Camp Remington, the Episcopal camp close to the Needles, where Ron and Sharon were married. Camp Remington is very rustic: no electricity or potable water. Nancy and I brought our camper, Gary and Pat Hamilton brought theirs. Friends from near and far showed up: the Hamilton's and us, Dave and Rhonda Olson, Stu Calhoun, Paul Crosmer, Clair Menning, Ron & Nita Eikenberry, Don Rivers, Pete Oslund, and Jim Quinn. It was an epic weekend with good food, drink, and memories. My point in sharing this is to highlight Ron's courage in his fight against cancer and to share what he meant to so many people. His motto, "It's all good!" was a theme at Camp Remington and at his memorial.Tom Callan
I remember him well. He was a good fellow and fixed a lot of radiators for us on the ranch near Wall for many years. He worked for his uncle at Ace Radiator while in high school and purchased the shop in 1972. He always did a good job at a reasonable price with a great smile and a friendly manner. He enjoyed cars and racing.
I am glad he has not been forgotten after 50 years! I just remember the first party I went to was at his house and I was so excited to be invited. It was a lot of fun! I can still remember the inside of his place. We always remember the first time we do something or go somewhere. Now I feel he is where he belongs, here with us! I am glad others are remembering him now. He is buried (as a minor child) with his parents at Black Hills National Cemetery.
I met Greg when I answered a newspaper ad about a spelunking club. I think it was in Gate City Guide - was that the name of it? Anyway, I believe it was the summer before our Junior year. When two teenage boys showed up at our house, Mom said to me, "NO cave-crawling with them." He worked at Wildcat Caverns. We became friends. He picked me up for school one winter day. After he opened my door (a gentleman!) he went to the driver's side. I stepped off the curb onto a patch of ice and slid under his car. He was surprised and wondered where I went. After I got over being embarassed and brushed myself off we went to school. He was always nice to me, but we didn't have any classes together so I didn't see him much. The last time was on graduation day.
It was a most pleasent experience to re-connect with Ron Oney. We were good friends in Junior High school, friendly in RCHS and together in DeMolay (see RCHS stories). Talking to him was as if time hadn't gone. We had breakfast at McDonalds late January of 2016 where he told me he had pancreas cancer and had gotten by for nearly a year and a half. A short time later we talked and the cancer had returned. Not long before he died I was fortunate to spend an hour talking with him on "one of his better days", simply talking about life. Ron had a degree from SDSM&T in Mathematics and in Civil Engineering but set that aside in 1991 for a Masters in Counseling. That was his real calling he said, and one could sense and understand the good that helping others did for Ron. Ron died in March of 2016. His memorial service was large with the many friends his life so positively influenced. Paul Jensen
What I remember most about Keith was his love for bowling that continued for 30 some years. He started a Kids Saturday Morning Bowling program. It was perfect for my daughter Tara because she was small and size was not an issue in this activity. She had her own ball, which was mostly made of cork and they drilled the smallest finger holes possible. I thanked Keith because it was better than being at home watching Saturday morning cartoons. The only problem was Meadowood Bowling Alley served delicious french fries! I told Tara she had to eat them with her left hand and her right hand was for rolling the ball.
I was very fortunate to have gotten to talk with Lindy Stevens before his passing on 1/7/13. I had searched for Lindy to let him know how much everyone would love to see him at our next class Reunion. Lindy was living in Absarokee, Montana where he and his wife owned the Chrome Bar (website on Internet) ....Didn't get to talk as often as I would have liked as Lindy died suddenly of a heart attack about a month after our initial conversation (shows how fleeting life can be).... I told Lindy that many fellow grads had asked about him and wished he would come to our next reunion. He said he would try and make it. It would have been great to have seen him again.
I was also very fortunate to have gotten to talk with Jon Lund before his passing 12/26/15. Again, I had searched for Jon to let him know how much everyone would love to see them at our next Reunion. I reached Jon by email and though the conversation was brief Jon sounded good and was teaching medicine at a college in Amarillo....As with Lindy told him that many fellow grads had asked about him at prior reunions and would be great if he could make the 50th....He said he would try....Many great memories of Jon...Wish I could have seen him once more.....
That's Dave is the name of this book! The book is about the life of classmate Dave Rieger-Richards, who had cystic fibrosis. If you do not know much about cystic fibrosis, google it! The book is an inspiring story of his journey and how he lived life to the fullest. He accomplished more than most, and did not let the disease define who he was. He wanted to enter medical school but was turned down because of cystic fibrosis. He did go to college and achieved master degrees in medical technology and civil engineering. I accidently saw this book in a book store in 1990, I was looking for a book about finding happiness and this book was on display. The picture caught my attention, I know that Dave. I realize after reading the book, how truly lucky I am. If someone in RC would like to read the book, email me and I will loan it to you? Dave's mother has signed our guestbook and would love to hear from his friends.
Mary Beth Johnson (Howe)