Obituaries for Sunday, July 26, 2009

2009-07-24T23:00:00Z Obituaries for Sunday, July 26, 2009 Rapid City Journal
July 24, 2009 11:00 pm

Lawrence 'Larry' E. Ausman

HILL CITY - Lawrence (Larry) E. Ausman, 62, passed away Wednesday morning, July 22, 2009, at his home.

Larry was born in Cheyenne, Wyo., on November 3, 1946, to James O. and Ina J. (Brown) Ausman. His elementary school years were spent in Cheyenne, Wyo. In junior high school he moved with his parents and siblings to Wiesbaden, Germany, for his father's job. After returning to the States, his family moved to Riverside, Calif., where he completed high school and received his Associate of Arts degree at Riverside City College.

He met his wife, Pat, in Riverside, Calif., and they were married at the First Congregational Church in Rapid City, S.D., July 20, 1968. They lived in California for many of their married years, but returned to Rapid City in 1985 and opened Prime Time Video. After holding various jobs, Larry found his calling in the alternative health field.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia Ausman, Hill City; daughter Angela (David) Maas, Rapid City; sister Debbie (Mike) Ausman-Haskins, Riverside, Calif.; brother James O. Ausman III, Riverside Calif.; stepbrother Richard Bayne, Riverside, Calif.; two beautiful grandchildren Meghan and Max Maas; two nieces, four nephews, numerous great-nieces and nephews and the many people who were blessed enough to have crossed his life's path.

He was preceded in death by both parents and an infant sister.

A memorial service will be held at Behrens Wilson Funeral Home, Thursday, July 30, 2009, at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Ray Schatz officiating. As per his wishes, he will be cremated.

Myrna O. Coyle

AUSTIN, Texas - Myrna O. Coyle, 95, Austin, Texas, died, Saturday, July 25, 2009, at The Summit At Westlake Hills Retirement Community in Austin.

Survivors include John "Buddy" Coyle and Sharon Coyle, both of Philip, S.D.; Mary Lou Coyle, Belle Fourche, S.D.; and Dorothy Heidler, Faith, S.D.

Services are pending with Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home of Rapid City, S.D.

Dana Jennings

WAGNER - Dana Close Jennings, 86, Wagner, died Tuesday, July 21, 2009, at home after a prolonged illness.

Dana was born Jan. 24, 1923, in Topeka, Kan., to Dana T. and Mary (Close) Jennings.

Dana's early years were in Kansas and Texas. He graduated from high school at Cassoday, Kan.

He served in the U.S. Navy during WWII.

Dana completed his bachelor's degree at Manhattan, Kan., in agriculture and journalism. Dana's life work was as a photo-journalist. He authored Buffalo Marketing and Management, Cattle on a Thousand Hills, Where the Buffalo Roam Again, and Free Ice Water (on Wall Drug). A friend said, "He broke every rule of the English language and he did it beautifully!" He wrote for J.I. Case, Catholic Rural Life, SD School of Medicine and for several newspapers including The Madison Daily Leader. He taught journalism.

Dana married Sally Hill in Wisconsin in 1950. Six children were born to that union. He married Kay Reecy in 1972 in Madison, and they have one daughter.

Dana joined the Episcopal Church and served as a vestryman, lay reader and wrote a history of Emmanuel Episcopal, Rapid City. He had deep faith in God's loving care.

Dana is remembered by his wife, Kay of Wagner; and his children and their families, Dr. Sue Jennings, Roberta Barham, Fred Jennings, Greg Jennings, Mary Reynolds, Tony Jennings, and Liz Jennings Schaebethal. Dana will also be in the hearts of his two cousins, three nephews, one niece and many, many friends.

Dana was preceded in death by his sisters and a great host of beloved relatives.

Dana donated his remains to medical research.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, August 8, at the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church in Wagner.

Memorials in lieu of flowers will be directed to Episcopal Mission Churches of South Dakota.

Crosby-Jaeger Funeral Home of Wagner is in charge of arrangements.

Helen L. Kalmbach

LEAD - Helen L. Kalmbach, 89, Lead, died Saturday, July 25, 2009 at her home.

Survivors include her son John Kalmbach of Alaska and daughter Deb Heupel of Lead.

Services are pending with the Aldinger Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Spearfish.

Florence I. Keene

SPEARFISH - Florence I. Keene, 97, Spearfish and formerly of Deadwood, died Saturday, July 25, 2009, at David M. Dorsett Regional Senior Care.

Survivors include two sons, John Keene of Deadwood and Mike Keene of Billings, Mont.

Services are pending with the Aldinger Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Spearfish.

B. Eldora Licking

BUFFALO - B. Eldora Licking, 91, Buffalo, died Saturday, July 25, 2009, at home.

Survivors include three sons, Larry of Camp Crook, Leonard of Newell, and Gary of Buffalo; two grandchildren; four stepgrandchildren; six great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; and two sisters, Florence Howard of Custer, and Ora Lee Ackerman of Fredrick, Md.

Arrangements are pending with Funeral Home of the Northern Hills in Belle Fourche.

Shane L. Mulkey

ALZADA, Mont. - Shane L. Mulkey, 42, Alzada and formerly of Ekalaka and Camp Crook, S.D., died Thursday, July 23, 2009, in Albion.

Survivors include his mother, Darlene Nies Tafoya, Thornton, Colo.; a son, Dylan Mulkey, Ekalaka; a brother, Cliff Mulkey, Broomfield, Colo.; and his maternal grandmother, Fran Nies, Ekalaka.

A celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, July 27, at the Chapel of Stevenson Funeral Home in Ekalaka, with Tom Stieg officiating.

Burial will be at a later date in the Beaver Lodge Cemetery at Ekalaka.

An online guestbook is available at

Dr. Eji Suyama

SEBASTOPOL, Calif. - Dr. Eji Suyama, 89, of Ellsworth, Maine, Sturgis, S.D., and most recently Sebastopol, Calif., left on his final journey of this earth Monday, June 8, 2009, with loved ones bidding him farewell, best wishes and thanks for the many contributions to family, friends and country. We will all miss him.

Eji was born Feb. 4, 1920, in Seattle, Wash., and moved west into the Yakima Valley to Wapato, Wash. The son of hardworking Japanese immigrants Shioichi and Aya Suyama, Eji had a relatively pleasant childhood and enjoyed the normal simple pleasures of youth. At age 12 he helped out his family by working during the depression era. Later Eji attended the University of Washington, graduated and anticipating the coming war, joined the U.S. Army. Before he left, his parents simply said "Be careful"…because they loved him. He was an individual in the Nisei (First Japanese-American) generation, whose triumph over adversity is an inspiration for us all. He served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team comprised entirely of Japanese-Americans, distinguished himself in combat in Italy and France and was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action. Along the way he also gained status as an honorary Texan for helping rescue the "Lost Battalion," a surrounded Texas battalion, in one of the costliest, in terms of percentage of casualties, military encounters in U.S. history. His company unit sustained nearly unbelievable losses by directly and ceaselessly engaging the enemy in close combat for five days until a breakthrough was achieved. Fortunately for his spouse Virginia Ruth Hobbs Suyama and future children, he was one who made it through this and the rest of the war and found himself attending the University of Chicago School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree with honors in 1950. After internship and a surgical residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a stop in Syracuse as the Assistant Chief of Surgery and Instructor of Surgery, he landed a position in 1956 at the Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth, Maine, where he was chief of surgery for many years. During this time, he gained the trust and respect of those he served and his skill in "stitching" people back together was nearly legendary. "I'd let him cut my head off and sew it back on" said one lobsterman after showing how his reattached thumb could wiggle and flex "good as new."

Meanwhile, Eji and Virginia thought they would fill in their free time by raising six, well-meaning children. His untimely death at 89 was no doubt caused by this unexpectedly rash decision. Regardless, his children did in fact, turn out to be well-meaning, and are forever grateful to him. (Was it mentioned that he was sometimes a patient man?) His son recalls doing volunteer work in his father's office and being told when tasked with checking patient's billing records: "Throw away any unpaid bills that are over a year old, if they could have paid by now they would have." You could almost hear the Hospital Administrators groaning: "Damn. He's going to spoil this racket some day!" Doctor Suyama always held a great affection for the "salt of the earth" and their practical wisdom and good-heartedness, for he also was the salt of the earth, (Albeit a bit too-smart-for-his-own-good) and he held a great disdain, contempt, scorn for those who would mistreat another person for their own gain.

During his many years of community service in Ellsworth he sometimes provided medical service once a week, 60 miles away in Cherryfield, Maine. After his dedicated service to the Hospital and area that he loved, he "retired" in 1994 to Fort Meade near Sturgis, S.D., where he worked at the Veteran's Hospital until his second retirement in 2008. An interviewer once queried "Wasn't Fort Meade the final post of General Custer?" to which he replied, "Well, actually, he never made it back."

Dad, Eji, Doctor Suyama, "You So-and-So," will be sorely missed by those whose lives he touched. Thanks for it all. Not a perfect man by his own admission, but one of conviction, devotion to duty, a champion for the little man and underdog, no tolerance for excuses, an insatiable appetite for knowledge, a lover of music, art and literature, a fantastic cook and a pretty damn good fly-fisherman…as you know.

As I know, my father would want to say thank you and make everyone understand how much he appreciates all of you who enriched his life and that he will miss you.

In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in Eji's name to a charity of your choice: the Ellsworth High School College Scholarship Fund; Trout Unlimited; DAV; Doctors Without Borders; Southern Poverty Law Center; Pierre Monteux Memorial Foundation; Audubon Society; World Wildlife Fund; or Sierra Club.

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