Jackie Johnson

Wessington Springs

Jacklyn Kay Johnson, 56, made the journey to her heavenly home on Saturday morning, Nov. 9, 2019, surrounded by family. She passed away in her home after a courageous 10-year battle with cancer.

Jackie’s Celebration of Life service was held Wednesday, Nov. 13 at the United Methodist Church in Wessington Springs. The burial service followed at Prospect Hill Cemetery. Visitation and prayer services were held on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019 at the United Methodist Church.

Jackie was born on May 4, 1963, in Wessington Springs to Paul and Karen (Simmons) Messmer. She was raised on the family farm. Jackie attended Schubert Country School through the seventh grade and finished her high school education at Wessington Springs High School. She attended Nettleton College of Business. She returned home to Wessington Springs where she worked at Bridgman and Adel Law Office and American Bank & Trust. Jackie married Lee Johnson in 1982. They raised their family in Wessington Springs.

Jackie loved watching and supporting her three children, whether it was in the gym or throughout the community. She also enjoyed being able to support her nephews and niece in their activities. Most recently, her pride and joy became her five grandchildren. Over the years, Jackie was involved in many groups in the community including Natural High, 4-H, Community Choir, P.E.O., Eastern Star, Fellowship, and the Wessington Springs Development Project to name a few. She loved music, whether she was watching or performing. Jackie was an inspiration to many. Her incredible hope and faith throughout her battles were an example for all.

Jackie is survived by her husband of 37 years, Lee; their three children, Lacey (Bobby) Babich, Laura (Jamie) Parish, and Andy (Shelby) Johnson of Woonsocket; their five grandchildren; her mother, Karen (Simmons) Messmer; her brother, Jeff (Tricia) Messmer; as well as many nieces and nephews. 

She was preceded in death by her father, Paul Messmer; her brother, Allan Messmer; and her grandparents.

Joseph Gillen

Sioux Falls

Joseph Gillen, 82, of Sioux Falls, died Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, at his home.

Funeral services were held Tuesday, Nov. 12, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in White Lake. Burial was at the St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery. Visitation was one hour prior to the funeral. Arrangements were by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

Joseph William Gillen was born June 14, 1937, in Mitchell to Peter and Margaret Elvira Gillen. Joe grew up in White Lake. He attended and boarded at St. Wilfrid’s Grade School in Woonsocket and St. Mary’s High School in Salem. Joe then attended St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., for two years, and later transferred to South Dakota State University to earn a degree in Civil Engineering. Joe worked in Sioux Falls for the South Dakota Department of Transportation and for the City of Sioux Falls City Engineers Office.

Joe married Audrey Ann Clark in St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Sioux Falls on May 27, 1961. In 1966, Joe was appointed as City Engineer for the City of Vermillion. He retired from that position in 1998. Joe and Audrey owned and operated Gillen Land Surveying until 2012. Joe served his country as a member of the South Dakota Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve for 32 years, retiring as Lt. Colonel.

Joe was active in St. Agnes Catholic Church, building committee, Eucharistic minister, Fairview Catholic Cemetery, St. Peter’s Cemetery in White Lake, Vermillion Federal Credit Union Board, American Public Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, Society of Professional Land Surveyors and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Joe is survived by his wife of 58 years, Audrey; his children Jay (Cheryl), Jeffrey (Cheri), Mary (Mike) and Chad (Heidi); 10 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; five brothers, James, Donald, Leo, Norbert, Peter; two infant sisters, Mary Louise and Rose Ann; and nieces and nephew, Teresa, Lynn and David.

Eileen Tobin


Eileen Tobin, 96, of Plankinton, died Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019.

Funeral services were held Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the United Methodist Church in Plankinton. Burial was at Graceland Cemetery in Mitchell. Visitation was Tuesday, Oct. 29, at the United Methodist Church in Plankinton, with a prayer service. Arrangements were under the direction of Bittner Funeral Chapel in Mitchell.

Eileen June Tobin was born to Peter and Darlene (Hunter) Thompson on July 29, 1923, at the Methodist Hospital in Mitchell. She grew up on her parents’ farm north of Storla. Eileen attended Sunday school and was enrolled in Thompson School in Belford Township for eight years and graduated from Letcher High School in 1941.

Eileen married Clinton Darwin Tobin on Feb. 2, 1947, at Storla Lutheran Church. Clinton and Eileen moved their family farm in 1955 where she resided until 2013 when she moved to Plankinton. Clinton and Eileen were blessed with four children: Ronnie, Sherry, Perry and Rick.

Eileen had an exceptional gift to recall all of the people and moments that formed her life and loved to share her stories with those around her. She worked at Mitchell National Bank for three years before taking on the full-time job of farm wife and mom. Eileen was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary 6554 of Plankinton, as well as a member of the Plankinton Senior Citizens. She enjoyed visiting with friends, family, and neighbors. She also enjoyed playing Bingo, watching Fox News, and listening to music by John Rex Reeves. Her commitment to religion was important to Eileen.

Eileen is survived by her four children, Ronnie (Sandy) Tobin of Plankinton, Sherry (Joe) Staller of Plankinton, Perry Tobin of Wessington Springs, and Rick (Deb) Tobin of Woonsocket; 12 grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; 10 step great-grandchildren; one step great-great-grandchild; brother, Norman (Betty) Thompson of Plankinton; two sisters-in-law, Margene Thompson of Letcher and Margaret Tobin of Ethan; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Clinton; brothers, Alvin and Denton; sisters-in-law, Katherine and Janet; great-grandchild, Shandra Marie Tobin; a nephew; a great-nephew; and a great-niece.