Arlene Wessel


Arlene Wessel, 89, of Huron, passed away Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, at Huron Regional Medical Center. 

Her funeral service will be 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, at the Riverview United Methodist Church, along with the funeral service of her husband, Irving Wessel. Her visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10 at the Riverview United Methodist Church, with her family present. A prayer service with a time of sharing will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday evening, Jan. 10.

Arlene Joyce (Hegg) Wessel was born on the Sanborn County family farm on Nov. 10, 1930, to Howard and Amy (Trow) Hegg. She graduated from Huron High School in 1948 as a Salutatorian. Arlene earned a Teaching Certificate at Northern State College and taught in a rural school in Clifton Township.

On Dec. 26, 1949, she married Irving (Brownie) Wessel in Huron. She and Irving owned and operated a diversified farm of hay, crops, and pastureland. They raised Hereford cattle, chickens and had a farrow to finish hog operation. They retired in 2005.

Arlene enjoyed gardening, canning and freezing food, sewing clothes, baking bread and cinnamon rolls, working on the farm and tax accounting. She was also a 4-H leader, Sunday school teacher, the chairman for the American Cancer Society Clifton Township and for the Heart Assocation, and a sports enthusiast. Arlene was involved as a secretary, in public relations and ultimately president of the Beadle County Farm Bureau. She became the first woman Director of the South Dakota Farm Bureau – 1987 – 1995. She was the Farm Bureau representative to the Huron Area Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee for many years. She served as President and Director for the South Dakota State Beef Industry Council, a member of CattleWomen and a member of AG in the Classroom.

Arlene served as a reporter, in public relations and President of the Beadle County Republican Women. She served as its Secretary for many years until the end of 2016. She also served as Treasurer, Vice President and President of the South Dakota Federation of Republican Women. Arlene was elected as a delegate to the South Dakota Republican Convention. She was a longtime member of the Owen Kunze Post American Legion Auxiliary. Arlene was appointed by Governor Mickelson to serve on the Governor’s River Cost Recovery Authority. She was a member of the Riverview United Methodist Church serving as Secretary to the Board of Trustees.

Arlene was named South Dakota Farm Bureau Woman of Achievement 1986 and South Dakota Farm and Ranch Woman 1988; she received the Ann Hunter Award for South Dakota Farm Bureau Volunteer, the 1995 Lusk Award for Agriculture Contributions, and she received the AAUW Award in agriculture. 

In 2014, Arlene was named Eminent Homemaker – 2014 by SDSU for a lifetime of service and accomplishments for agriculture. She even won a baking contest.

Arlene made birthdays and holidays special with her baking and cooking. She led her family in festive singing as she played the piano, making family times together joyous and memorable.

Arlene is survived by three daughters, Katherine Trummer of Tennessee, Sandra (Mark) Peters of Minnesota, and Laurie (Dave Fenske of South Dakota) Fenske of Arizona; a daughter-in-law, Teresa Wessel of South Dakota; eight grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren; a sister-in-law, Delores Wessel of South Dakota; two step-brothers, Stewart (friend, Gloria Soulek) Fleming of South Dakota and Harvie (Roberta) of Fleming, Iowa; loving family physician and friend, Dr. Robert Hohm; many nieces; nephews; cousins; and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 70 years, Irving Wessel on Oct. 28, 2019; parents, Amy and Howard Hegg; her only sister, Velma Raben; her son, Bruce Wessel; and grandson, Matthew Wessel.

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