Obituaries for August 10

2004-08-09T23:00:00Z Obituaries for August 10 Rapid City Journal
August 09, 2004 11:00 pm

Tom John Blake George

HILL CITY - Tom John Blake George, 66, Hill City, died Friday, August 6, 2004, at home with his family.

Tom was born Oct. 7, 1937, in Rapid City to John and Guelda (Johnson) George. He attended school in Rapid City and graduated from Rapid City High School in 1955. He later attended USD, Vermillion, studying business, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. Following college he managed the State and Sioux Drive Inn Theaters.

On February 15, 1969, he married Joan Lemer in Rapid City. The couple lived in Rapid City until 1971, when they moved to the Rafter J Bar Ranch, Hill City. Since 1970, Tom has been the owner and operator of the Rafter J Bar Ranch Campground Resort. Throughout the years he worked side by side with his son Todd building the family business. Tom served as president of the South Dakota Campground Association and was also a member of the Black Hills and Badlands Association.

In his younger years, he took great pleasure flying with his father and soloed at the age of 17. He continued flying in recent years with his daughter. He loved his country, enjoyed hunting and golfing with his friends. He was completely dedicated and loving to his family and friends. His character, inspiration and laughter will be greatly missed.

Tom is survived by his wife, Joan Marie George; 1 son, Todd George, both of Hill City; 1 daughter, Laura Marie George, Gilbert, AZ; mother, Guelda George, Rapid City; 2 sisters, Johnna Grass, Rapid City, and Jeni and husband Jim Deis, Loveland, CO. He was preceded in death by his father, John George.

A memorial has been established to benefit Hospice of the Hills and the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Black Hills. Condolences may be conveyed to the family at

Visitation is scheduled for 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, August 10, 2004, at Behrens-Wilson Funeral Home. Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, August 11, 2004, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church with Father Kevin Achbach officiating; burial will follow at Pine Lawn Memorial Park. Arrangements are in the care of Behrens-Wilson Funeral Home.

Richard J. Raber

SPEARFISH - Richard J. Raber, 65, of Spearfish, passed away Sunday, August 8, 2004, at his daughter's home in Roscoe, SD, from cancer.

Visitation will be from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, August 11, 2004, at Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapel in Spearfish.

Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, August 12, 2004, at the United Methodist Church in Spearfish, with Rev. Kip Roozen officiating. Burial will follow at Rose Hill Cemetery, Spearfish.

Richard Raber was born September 15, 1938, in Belle Fourche, SD, to Gerald and Nellie (Waite) Raber. He graduated from Belle Fourche High School in 1956 and served in the U.S. Navy. He graduated from the University of South Dakota with degrees in Psychology and Philosophy. For the next 15 years he lived and worked in the San Francisco area before returning to the Black Hills.

On June 1, 1979, he married Linda Johnson in Lake Preston. They resided in Spearfish where he was employed by Safeway, and in 1984 moved to Rapid City where he was plant superintendent at Westhills Village until his retirement in 2000.

Richard enjoyed listening to music, driving his Lincoln, playing cards and being with his daughters.

Grateful for having shared his life are his daughters: Anna Marie (Nicholas) Meier of Roscoe, SD, and Sara Rose Raber of Brookings, SD; one granddaughter, Stella Rose Meier; his ex-wife, Linda Krause of Wilmot; one sister, Dixie (Bill) Evans of Spearfish; one brother, David (Sally) Raber of Pendleton, OR; several nieces and nephews; and one aunt, Josephine Kissack of Whitewood. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Arrangements have been placed in the care of Fidler- Isburg Funeral Chapel, Spearfish.

Douglas James Kuehn

RAPID CITY - Funeral services will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Trinity Lutheran Church for Douglas James Kuehn, 52, lifelong Black Hills resident who died Sunday, Aug. 8, 2004. Dr. LeRoy Flagstad will preside and burial will take place at Black Hills National Cemetery with military honors provided by Rushmore VFW Post 1273 and Ellsworth Air Force Base honor guards.

His family will greet friends and relatives from 4 to 6 p.m. today (Tuesday) at Osheim-Catron Funeral Home.

Doug's generosity, devotion to family traditions and ongoing interest in local current events were limited only by his physical disabilities. Hospitalization and confinement to a nursing home followed his collapse June 16.

Doug was born October 16, 1951, at St. John's Hospital in Rapid City. After entering first grade at Canyon Lake Elementary, he was assigned to the first class at the new Meadowbrook Elementary School, where he also was a Cub Scout. He went on to become a Life Scout in Boy Scout Troop 4 at Trinity Lutheran Church, participating in outings to the Big Horns, earning a Pro Deo award from the American Lutheran Church and camping one week at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.

Doug was in the last citywide senior class at Rapid City Central High School, where he graduated in 1969. He spent a semester at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and also was employed at Hardware Hank.

During the Vietnam War, Doug served in the U.S. Air Force from 1971 to 1975 at Shephard AFB, Wichita Falls, Texas, and Malmstrom AFB, Great Falls, Mont., where he worked as a helicopter mechanic. Returning to civilian life, he studied surveying at National College, was employed by the U.S. Forest Service and was an Emergency Medical Technician. He also spent a number of years as a federal employee at Ellsworth Air Force Base, where he received a commendation for his service.

In retirement, Doug became an active volunteer at Canyon Lake Senior Citizens Center, where he worked several years on the annual football pool project. His hobbies included reading, monitoring construction activity throughout the city, and relaying news tips to local media. He collected miniature construction machines and was current on local fire fighting equipment and manpower.

Doug was married to Joy Baker at Stanford, Mont., and later divorced. They had one son, Timothy James, who later was adopted by Larry Butterfield of Cheyenne, Wyo. Before his death, Doug was visited by Tim and his wife, Tracy, of Everett, Wash. Doug is also survived by his parents, James and Yvonne Kuehn of Rapid City, and two sisters, Deborah Kuehn of Rapid City and Diana Loucks and her husband, Kevin, and their children, Shae, Kiara and Aaron, all of Fort Collins, Colo.

A memorial has been established for the Pennington County Search and Rescue Team.

Vern L. Sitting Bear Sr.

PINE RIDGE - Vern L. Sitting Bear Sr., 62, Pine Ridge, died Saturday, Aug. 7, 2004, at Rapid City Regional Hospital.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Sitting Bear, Manderson; four sons, Waylon Sitting Bear, Canyon City, Colo., Winston Sitting Bear and Tommy Sitting Bear, both of Manderson, and Vern Sitting Bear Jr., Crowley, Colo.; two daughters, Veronica Sitting Bear, Manderson, and Corrina Sitting Bear, Aurora, Colo.; and six grandchildren.

A one-night wake will begin at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11, at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Kyle.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 12, at the church, with the Rev. Cordelia Red Owl officiating. Burial will be at St. Barnabas Episcopal Cemetery in Kyle.

Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge is in charge of arrangements.

Lorraine C. Brave Heart

RAPID CITY - Lorraine C. Brave Heart, 53, of Rapid City, died on Sun., Aug. 8, 2004, at Rapid City Regional Hospital.

Lorraine was born February 15, 1951, in Quinn, SD, to Frederick and Margaret (Brewer) Whiteface. She was one of six children born to this family.

Survivors include her loving husband of 24 years, Bill Brave Heart of Rapid City; five children, Tom Geraldsen of Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea; Terry Geraldsen of Fort Campbell, KY; Troy Geraldsen of Rapid City, SD; Lisa Jones of Port Orange, FL; Maggie Brave Heart of Seattle, WA; Francis Crow of Sioux Falls, SD; William Brave Heart and Michelle Brave Heart, both of Phoenix, AZ; one brother; four sisters; 18 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

She was preceded in death by her father and two children.

Visitation will be held on Tues., Aug. 10, 2004, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. with a Traditional Wake beginning at 7 p.m. at the Mother Butler Center. Traditional Services are scheduled for Wed., Aug. 11, at 10:00 a.m. at the Mother Butler Center with Basil Brave Heart as celebrant. Burial will follow at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Rapid City. Lorraine is in the care of Kirk Funeral Home of Rapid City.

If you would like to send condolences to the family, please send them to

Galen O. 'Gus' Davidson

HILL CITY - Galen O. "Gus" Davidson, 79, an Honorable man of Hill City, passed away in his home surrounded by family on Sun., Aug. 8, 2004.

Gus was born February 8, 1925, to Arden and Anna Davidson of Canistota, SD, and raised by his grandparents, Emma and Jay Davidson of Parker, SD. On June 19, 1944, Gus married his high school sweetheart, Mary "Miriam" Purcell. This love was recently celebrated during their 60th wedding anniversary together. Gus and Mary had three children, Dave, Peggy, Ken and Sharon Langness, who came to Gus and Mary as a teenager and has remained part of the family.

Gus was a member of the Navy for five years. He then worked at the old Post Office in Rapid City. Gus also sold life insurance for Lincoln National Life. During this time, Gus enlisted in the National Guard. With the love for his country in his heart, Gus enlisted full-time Army National Guard until his retirement as Sergeant Major in 1981. During his life Gus participated in several community organizations and gave his time to several events and charitable services.

Gus enjoyed his retirement life to the fullest. He traveled and camped with Mary all over the United States, taking in the beauty while visiting friends and family. Gus added to his quality of life by wintering in Mission, Texas, and summering in Hill City. With this arrangement he could experience the best of both worlds.

More than anything, Gus held two things close to his heart, the love for his country and the love for his family. He is survived by his wife, Mary Davidson of Hill City; three children, Dave Davidson of Harker Heights, TX, Peggy Hieb and husband, Clayton of Rapid City; Ken Davidson and wife Sue of Corvallis, Oregon; and the Sharon Langness family of Salisbury, NC; four grandchildren; and four great-grandsons, Leslie Hartwell and husband, Sony of Black Hawk, SD; Gaye Lynn Schott and husband, Bobby with their son Tucker of Gordon, NE; Corrie Tjaden and her husband, Jarod with their sons, Cody, Kobe, and Caleb of St. Paul, NE; and Matthew Davidson of Sioux Falls, SD; two brothers and two sisters, Lillian Thompson and husband, Bud of Mankato, MN; Edwin VerHey and his wife Nancy of Hollendale, MN; Cornelius VerHey and his wife Dode of Albert Lea, MN; Shirley Stanley and husband, Gordon of Apple Valley, MN; one sister-in-law, Jackie Thomas, along with many nieces and nephews.

Preceding Gus in death are his parents, grandparents, and brother, Orlan Thomas.

Whether as a son, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, distant relative, or close friend, Gus Davidson will be missed. His memories will be smiled upon, cried for, and held dearly for all those touched by him.

Visitation will be on Wed., Aug. 11, 2004, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and one hour before services on Thurs. at Kirk Funeral Home. Funeral Services are scheduled for Thurs. at 2:00 p.m. at Kirk's Chapel of Light in Rapid City with Rev. Dwayne Snell officiating. Interment will follow at Pine Lawn Memorial Park with military honors presented by the VFW Post 1273 of Rapid City.

A memorial has been established for Hospice of the Hills. Friends may sign Gus's guestbook at

Margot Olive Olson

RENO, Nev. - Margot Olive Olson of Reno, Nevada, left the ones she loved on August 5, 2004, at Washoe Medical Center in Reno. She was 69. She was born on July 25, 1935, in Graceville, Minnesota, to Earl and Alice Boettcher. She moved to this area from Sturgis, South Dakota, 16 years ago. She was a registered nurse for 50 years.

Margot was raised in Vallejo, California. As a young adult she moved to Anchorage, Alaska, to begin her nursing career, and start her family. After leaving Anchorage she lived in California, North Dakota, South Dakota and Reno.

She enjoyed fishing in South Dakota, spending weekends on the Oregon coast, and traveling with her husband and family. Margot had an unbelievable love for the water, whether it was fishing with her husband, water skiing with her son, swimming with her grandchildren, snorkeling in the Pacific or rafting the Colorado river with her daughter.

Margot's nursing career was long and diverse. Her areas of expertise included OB/GYN nursing, Psych nursing and Hospice nursing. Helping others was always Margot's calling and she derived so much happiness from this.

She was preceded in death by her son Jay Thompson, parents Earl and Alice Boettcher and her two brothers, Jerome and Justin Boettcher. Surviving is her husband Gerald, son Barry Thompson and daughter Jan Kellogg, her stepdaughters Tammy Taylor and Talona Fryar, grandchildren Amanda with her son Kaden, Derrick, Olivia, Sophia, Nicole, Zachary, Laura, BreiAnn and numerous nieces and nephews.

There will be a service at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, August 10, at First Congregational Church, 627 Sunnyside Drive in Reno. Ross, Burke & Knobel Mortuary of Reno is handling the funeral arrangements.

Robert C. Walker

FORT YATES, N.D. - Robert C. Walker, 56, Fort Yates, died Saturday, Aug. 7, 2004, at MedCenter One in Bismarck.

Survivors include his wife, Annie; one son, Frank Walker; two sisters, Cheryl Taken Alive, McLaughlin, S.D., and Wanda Harris, San Antonio; three brothers, Ralph Walker, McLaughlin, and Arnold Walker and Martin Walker, both of Fort Yates; four stepchildren, Brooke, Rikki Lynn, Erica and Neil; and three stepgrandchildren.

Visitation will be Friday, Aug. 13, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Perry Funeral Home in Mandan, and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a 7 p.m. rosary, at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Fort Yates.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, at the church, with the Rev. William Rushford officiating. Burial will be at Crazy Walking Cemetery in rural Fort Yates.

Cynthia 'Ruby' LaPointe-Swift Bird

PINE RIDGE - Cynthia "Ruby" LaPointe-Swift Bird, 77, Pine Ridge, died Friday, Aug. 6, 2004, at Beverly Care Center in Rapid City.

Survivors include two sons, Louis Swift Bird Jr., Billings, Mont., and Joseph Swift Bird, Bismarck, N.D.; two daughters, Wanda Barrett, Pine Ridge, and Julia Little Hawk, Tahlequah, Okla.; 15 grandchildren; and 23 great-grandchildren.

A one-night wake will begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11, at Billy Mills Hall in Pine Ridge.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 12, at Billy Mills Hall, with the Rev. Ben Tyon officiating. Burial will be at Holy Cross Episcopal Cemetery in Pine Ridge.

Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge is in charge of arrangements.

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