Don Schwemle


Don Schwemle, 74, of Forestburg, passed away Dec. 24, 2022, at Firesteel Healthcare Center in Mitchell. 

Services were held at Forestburg Lutheran Church, Saturday, Dec. 31, and viewing began one hour prior.

Donald Keith Schwemle was born in Mitchell on May 24, 1948, to Carl and Blanche Schwemle of Forestburg. He attended school at Forestburg High School and graduated valedictorian in 1966. Promptly following graduation, he moved to Rapid City to attend college at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, studying electrical engineering. In 1973, Don went to work for Control Data; one of his greatest accomplishments there was designing and programming machines to assemble circuit boards. In 1989, Don moved back across the state to work in Mitchell at Martin and Associates as lead software designer for telephone companies.  When he left that position in 2002, Don and his associates formed Firesteel Technologies in Mitchell, where he worked until 2019. 

Don was active in Forestburg Lutheran Church. He functioned as a deacon and trustee. Don also incorporated the Silver Creek Cemetery and served as its president through 2021.

Don’s greatest passion was amateur radio. He held the call sign AA0F with Extra Class license (highest FCC class). He was active in the Black Hills Amateur Radio Club through the 1980s and organized several HAM-fests. He also designed and built repeaters in the area and used these to help aid in disaster relief. In 1991, Don and some friends worked to form the South Dakota Amateur Radio Council (SDARC). This resulted in the construction of a linked VHF repeater system across South Dakota. Don was also instrumental in building a remote-controlled amateur station at Wessington Springs and maintaining several other stations in East-River South Dakota.

Don is survived by his brother, David Schwemle; four nieces; one nephew; and several grand nieces and nephews.

Don was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Blanche Schwemle; infant brother; and his sisters, Clara Schmidt and Phyllis Manke.

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