STURGIS | Yvonne M. Weyrich, 87, passed away peacefully on the morning of May 20, 2019. She had lived a rich and full life.
Yvonne was born to John (JJ) and Margaret (Rishor) Williams Sept. 1, 1931, in Miller, SD. Her family moved to Nisland, where she grew up after the great depression. Yvonne had three brothers and two sisters, so she was in a family of love and challenges.
After finishing high school, she walked with her father to the neighbors to borrow $200 to start her college pursuit. She convinced them and started college at Black Hills Teachers College. She worked up to three jobs simultaneously to pay for school. She wouldn’t stop until she graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Northern Colorado in Business Education in 1976. At this time, she was already teaching at Black Hills State College in Spearfish. She obtained full professor status and was bestowed Professor Emeritus after her medical demise in 1989.
Yvonne was a consummate teacher, trusted advisor, and master of graduate studies throughout her colorful career. She started teaching school in a one-room schoolhouse in east-central Meade County. She continued to the Wetz School and then to Vale, SD, High School. She taught typing, shorthand, and was a basketball and field hockey coach.
She taught, so she learned, completing her master’s degree in 1968 at BHSC in Spearfish. This was just in time to start teaching at the same institution upon the closing of Vale’s high school. She would drive through rain and snow, in sickness and health from the farm 50 miles away, east of Sturgis. Somewhere in there, she started on her doctoral studies and finally won a sabbatical for one full year of study in Greely, CO. She completed her thesis and graduated the same year her son did from high school. Her family recalls many of times when she was the catalyst to empower young women to go beyond the norms of the day. She encouraged them to be more than the secretaries in the times when it was the norm. She instructed early classes of computer programming using punch cards — well before the days of a PC. She led numerous professional organizations and advised students in collegiate academic organizations across the U.S. She would spend most of her summers traveling from one conference to the next convention.
Back in her early teaching years, she met her husband, Leo J. Weyrich, and they were married on Dec. 27, 1952. They begin residing on the Weyrich farm near Volunteer (east of Sturgis). Yvonne wasn’t a stranger to hard work. She milked the cows, slopped the hogs, and took care of the flock of chickens. She drove the tractors and put up hay and realized there was a better way. She taught night classes 110 miles away twice a week to pay for updated farm equipment.
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Her first son, Bruce, was born in 1956. Two years later, Robert came along in 1958. She was always about showing them how to do things and have fun. She worked hard but made sure they got in the car for a road trip from time to time to parts far away and a little fishing or visiting family.
She is survived by son, Bruce (Darci Steward) Weyrich of Sturgis; granddaughter, Dr. Laura Weyrich VanderBerg (Justin VanderBerg) and great-grandsons, Leo and Vernon of Adelaide, Australia; grandson, Keith Weyrich (Patricia Turbiville) and great-grandson, Dean of Sturgis; son, Bob (Jennifer Geddes) Weyrich of Rapid City; granddaughter, Krista Kirst (Joel Kirst) and great-granddaughters, Aubree and Everleigh of Rapid City; grandson, Nicholas Weyrich (Shantel Cryan) of Spearfish; and grandson, Taylor Weyrich (Mariah Mead) of Rapid City. She is also survived by her brother, Kenny Williams of Colorado; and sisters, Annette MacFarlane of Wisconsin and Yvette Dobyns of Illinois. She cherished other family and friends of past and present that shared her life, too many to list and too many to count.
Her parents and her husband, Leo, preceded her in death, as did her brothers, Keith Williams of Rapid City and John Williams of Ann Arbor, MI.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at Kinkade Funeral Chapel.
Funeral services will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 24, at the funeral chapel, with Pastor Herbert Cleveland officiating. Burial will follow at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.
Memorials have been established for South Dakota Public Broadcasting and Western Dakota Antique Club.