Daun Whetsel


Daun Whetsel, 90, of Mitchell, died Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2022, at Firesteel Healthcare Center in Mitchell. 

A memorial service honoring Daun’s life will be held at Bittner Funeral Chapel on Oct. 1 at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers or monetary donations, please donate to or

Marnys “Daun” Rodee Whetsel was born March 28, 1932, in Mitchell, to Floyd and R. Grace (Smith) Rodee. Daun was the second of three children. Daun graduated from Garden City High School in 1950.

Daun started at South Dakota State University in 1950 and graduated with a two-year degree in home economics and education in 1952. On July 20, 1952, she married her high school sweetheart, Roland Whetsel, of Garden City. Daun and Roland moved to Pierre, and she began her teaching career. Daun lived in several South Dakota towns, including Pierre, Platte, Wagner, Black Hawk, Sioux Falls, Hurley, and she retired in Artesian.

Daun was active in childhood education throughout her life. In 1973, she completed a BS at the University of South Dakota – Springfield, and in 1976, she completed a master’s degree in special education at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. Daun was a mother, grandmother, sister, teacher, education consultant, mentor, and active in church and civic organizations.

Daun is survived by her three children, Raleigh of Frederick, Colo., Heidi Dorsey of Mitchell, and Gretel (Rocco) Baird of Belvidere, Ill.; 11 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

Daun was preceded in death by her husband, Roland Whetsel; son, Cameron; infant son, Dirk; sister, Donna Rodee Steichen; brother, Burton Rodee; and both of her parents.

Jim Sandness


James “Jim” Harold Sandness, 76, of Woonsocket, passed away on Sept. 17, 2022, at his home, unexpectedly. 

Jim was born on Oct. 28, 1946, in Mitchell, to Evelyn (Jarding) Hjelm and Harold Sandness. He was raised on a farm south of Woonsocket in the Twin Lakes Area, the eldest sibling to four brothers and two sisters. At a young age, his father, Harold, passed away, and his mother remarried Duane Hjelm. Jim went to country school and completed his education in Woonsocket. After high school, he joined the United States National Guard. Jim met Mary K. Goebel, of Faulkton, in Mitchell at a corner pizza parlor. They were married on May 2, 1970, in the St. Wilfrid parish in Woonsocket. 

Jim’s interests and hobbies were family and farming. Jim and Mary purchased a farm south of Woonsocket, calling it Hilltop Dairy. His dairy operation consisted of a 125-cow herd from 1971-1989. His humble beginning of a five-stall grew to a ten-stall automatic parlor. Many memories were created with weekend gatherings and family fun. A highlight to wrap up the summer was always hauling the camper to the South Dakota State Fair in Huron. 

After semi retiring, Jim’s farm was still his sanctuary caring for all kinds of livestock. He looked forward to hosting the out-of-state hunters during pheasant season that developed into long lasting friendships over the past 25 years. In his daily routine, he could be found zipping around the farm in his tractor or ATV checking that season’s crop with his furry friend, Putter. Planting his annual pumpkin patch and watching them grow gave him lots of joy.

Jim was active in the local community, serving on the Woonsocket School Board, Knights of Columbus, American Legion, St. Wilfrid Church Choir, Twin Lake township board, and as a High School CCD mentor and 4-H Volunteer. 

Jim is survived by his wife, Mary; five children, Jen (Gary) Sandness of Rapid City, Amy (James) Hook of Griswold, Iowa, Steve (Amber) Sandness of Chester, Anne Sandness of Mt. Vernon, and Joe (Anna) Sandness of Rapid City; 11 grandchildren; his siblings, Bill (Deanna) Sandness of Sioux Falls, Evelyn Johnson of Sioux Falls, Mary (Randy) Schabot of Woonsocket, and David (Connie) Hjelm of Woonsocket; sisters-in-law, Carolyn Sandness of Sioux Falls and Agnes Goebel of Huron; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. 

He was preceded in death by his infant son, Thomas Richard; his parents, Harold Sandness and Evelyn Hjelm; in-laws, Raymond and Kathleen Goebel; brothers, John and Ted Sandness; stepfather, Duane Hjelm; and brother-in-law, Jim Goebel.

James “Jim” Sandness, 75, of rural Woonsocket, passed away on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, at his home. 

Visitation was held on Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. at St. Wilfrid Catholic Church in Woonsocket, with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. The funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22, at St. Wilfrid Catholic Church.

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