Obituary Details

Darrell "Dean" Hunter

(02/09/1931 - 08/13/2015)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 08/26/2015

Darrell "Dean" Hunter, 84, of Timber Lake, SD, and formerly of Ardmore, SD, passed away Thursday, August 13, at the Mobridge Regional Hospital.

He was born February 9, 1931, in Edgemont, SD, the son of John W. Hunter and Marjorie (Rineer) Hunter. During his youth he lived on his father's ranch near Ardmore, attending the Ardmore School until 7th grade. He finished his education in Custer while living with family friends and traveling home to Ardmore on weekends by passenger train. While in school he participated in band, football, basketball and track, but especially enjoyed playing football. He graduated from Custer High School in 1949 and returned to Ardmore to help out at the family ranch.

In November, 1951, he was drafted into the Marine Corps and after boot camp, was trained as a carpenter but then volunteered to be a fireman on the crash crew. He served on the crash crew in El Toro, CA, until his discharge in December, 1953. After his discharge he returned to Ardmore and became partners with his dad and brother on the family ranch.

On June 6, 1954, he married JoAnn Helsel in Edgemont and to this union three children were born. After the passing of his father in 1968 the ranch partnership ended and the ranch was split. Dean and JoAnn operated their ranch while raising their family and continued on until 2004 when JoAnn was found to be suffering from Alzheimer's. As JoAnn's illness progressed he found it necessary to care for her full time and in 2011 it was decided as a family it would be best to sell the Ardmore Ranch and purchase one at Timber Lake.

In Timber Lake, along with his two sons, he continued to care for JoAnn at home and operate the ranch. He marveled at the abundance and quality of water on the new ranch and how well the land produced. He was especially impressed with the quality of his new friends and neighbors. In February, 2014, he suffered a stroke. He continued to live at home while recovering and was still able to help out some with the care of JoAnn until his death.

He was a member of the American Legion, Stewards of the Range, and for many years he was a member of the Farm Bureau and Stockgrowers. While a member of Farm Bureau he served as a delegate at the state conventions and traveled to Washington, DC to represent South Dakota Farmers and Ranchers. He recorded weather data in the Ardmore area for the National Weather Service for 50 years. He was a member of the Ardmore Fire Department and was instrumental in the organization of the Ardmore Fire Protection District and served as President of the organization for over 25 years. He was a regular donator of blood.

He was very proud of his father and his accomplishments and tried to live to the same standards he felt his father lived by. He believed a man should be honest and that when you shook a man's hand it was your word. He always felt that you were a caretaker of your land and animals and that their care was your highest priority. He always felt it was better to give than receive. He looked back on his work with pride and was proud of his family's accomplishments. Although he didn't spend much time in the church, he felt the importance of a relationship with God and enjoyed hearing God's word. He had an appreciation for Hereford cattle, Quarter Horses and good horsemanship.

Survivors include his wife, JoAnn; and sons, Jerry Hunter, Craig (Deane) Hunter of Timber Lake; daughter, Lori Kehn of Alliance, NE; as well as numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. He also leaves behind the Hanson/Roiger family of which he loved as brothers and sisters and so enjoyed their company through the years.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, of which one died in infancy, and a son in law, Roger Kehn.

Graveside services will be at 3 PM, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, at Black Hills National Cemetery. Kesling Funeral Home of Mobridge is in charge of arrangements.

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