RAPID CITY | Barbara Clare (Wyant) Wyatt passed away peacefully on Aug. 30, 2019, at age 91. She was residing in memory care at Peaceful Pines at the time.
She is survived by her husband of 48 years, William R. Wyatt; and by her children, Zenya Wild (nee Catherine Ann Deeringer) of Sherborn, Massachusetts, James L. Deeringer of Sacramento, California, Margaret Ellen Deeringer of San Jose, California, and Susan Carol Deeringer of Cedar Park, Texas. She is also survived by six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Barbara was born on Nov. 25, 1927, in Newman Grove, Nebraska, to Paul Walter Wyant and Marjorie Cowan Wyant. She attended high school in Tecumseh, Nebraska, and completed one year at Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri, before leaving to give birth to her first child.
Barbara was predeceased by her former husband, Richard Lee Deeringer, to whom she was married for over 20 years. After they settled in Sioux Falls, Barbara completed her college education at Augustana College (now Augustana University) double majoring in history and English.
In 1970, Barbara moved to Rapid City, where she taught school at Ellsworth Air Force Base. The following year, she married William R. "Bill" Wyatt, who had recently retired from teaching history at Augustana College.
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Barbara and Bill had a strong, shared interest in the history of the West, and of South Dakota and Montana in particular. They collaborated on numerous studies for the South Dakota Historical Society and the American Oral History Association, with Barbara doing a great deal of the writing. Barbara also wrote grant proposals and otherwise assisted Bill in his work with Western Health relating to rural health delivery. They brought out the best in each other, and their long marriage was a fruitful and loving partnership.
In the late 1970s, Barbara opened The Colonial Shoppe, a traditional furniture and furnishings store in downtown Rapid City, which she ran for several years (eventually at a small profit) before selling it.
Barbara remained intellectually curious and active her entire life. She became an excellent cook and either won or placed high in state, regional, and national beef cook-off competitions numerous times; she sang in the Sweet Adelines female barbershop harmony group; she volunteered at the Rapid City Regional Hospital; she took dance lessons; and she enjoyed writing poetry and continued playing piano and producing art well into her 80s.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Any donations in Barbara’s honor may be made to the South Dakota State Historical Society.