Obituaries

Audrey Schimke

Wessington Springs

Audrey Schimke, 76, of Wessington Springs died Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, at her residence under hospice care after complications from a brief illness.

A private family service will be held Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, at the Basham Funeral Chapel in Wessington Springs. Burial will be in Prospect Hill Cemetery. Friends may call at the funeral home on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. A Celebration of Life will be held in the spring of 2021.

Audrey was born on Jan. 14, 1944, in Woonsocket to August and Elizabeth “Betty” (Renner) Klaas. She grew up in Woonsocket where she also attended high school.

On Jan. 31, 1961, Audrey was united in marriage to Terrence “Terry” Schimke. The couple made their home in rural Wessington Springs where they farmed until Terry’s passing in 2007. During these years, Audrey held various jobs including secretary at Bonynge Law Office, bookkeeper at the Co-op, and kitchen aid at Weskota Manor.

Audrey enjoyed crafts, especially crocheting, reading, computer games and playing cards. Audrey’s greatest joy came from spending time with her family and caring for all living creatures, especially dogs. Audrey was a member of the United Church of Christ.

Audrey is survived by her children, Donna (Lonnie) Wagner of Wessington Springs, Deb (Gary) Reff of Huron, Dawn (Kevin) Morris of Watertown, and Terry “Lee” (Nicole) Schimke of Rapid City; five grandchildren; brother and sister-in-law, Gerald “Jerry” and Gloria Klaas of Woonsocket; sisters-in-law, Verneil Knigge, Kay (Gaylord) Brandenburg, Laurel Lee (Tom) Hinrichs, and Minette (Dave) Tyler; many cousins, nieces and nephews; and her special pup, Walter.

Audrey was preceded in death by her husband, Terry; her parents, August and Betty Klaas; her mother- and father-in-law, Edwin and Hazel Schimke; and her brother-in-law, Roger Schimke.

Merle Swenson

Rapid City

Merle Dean Swenson, 85, of Rapid City, died Dec. 19, 2020, after a brief illness.

Funeral services were held Saturday, Dec. 26, at Calvary Lutheran Church in Rapid City. Online condolences can be left at www.osheimschmidt.com. A celebration of Merle’s life will be held at a later date.

Merle was born to Theodore and Amy (Bard) Swenson in Lane on Aug. 5, 1935. He graduated from Lane High School in 1953.

On a blind date in Huron in 1955, Merle met Carol Ellison. The couple was married on July 28, 1956, in a small country church near Vermillion that Carol’s grandparents helped build.

The Swensons spent a short while in Huron before moving to Rapid City so Merle could pursue a degree at the School of Mines and Technology. Two years into his studies, the couple started a family, and Merle put his education on hold. Merle frequently worked two jobs to make ends meet and the family moved several times as he accepted better career opportunities. The Swensons lived in the South Dakota cities of Huron, Canton, Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City.

Merle worked for the State of South Dakota for 32 years. He was a registered land surveyor and was employed as an engineer for the Department of Transportation (DOT). He worked for the state on land surveying crews in the Black Hills. Merle helped install and integrate the state’s first CAD (computer aided design) software and the first GPS technology in the state. His final job title was Director of Surveys and Photogrammetry. He served an additional 10 years with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after he retired from the state.

Merle was a volunteer with the Journey Museum, Optimist International and other professional and social organizations. He also enjoyed golfing, travel, visiting his family and reading. He was a member of Calvary Lutheran Church in Rapid City.

Merle is survived by his wife of 64 years, Carol; children, Pam Sheperd, of Portland, Ore., Vicki (Ron) Dutenhoffer, of Frederick, Michael Swenson, of Rapid City, and Amy (Matt) Einspahr, of Brookings; 11 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings, Lowell, Marvin and Dorothy (Mueller) Swenson; two sisters in childhood, Florence and a baby; and three nephews.

Lois Buccinio

Vallejo, Calif.

Lois Jean (Johnson) Buccinio, 84, died Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, at Vallejo, Calif.

Lois was laid to rest at Sacramento Valley National Cemetery.

She was born May 4, 1936, near Artesian, the fourth child of Russell and Agnes Johnson. After graduating from Huron High School in 1954, she joined the work force.

While at Prudential in Minneapolis, Minn., she met Carl Buccinio, and they married in 1964. After traveling and living throughout most of the United States, they settled down in Vallejo in 1994 where Lois lived with Carl until her death.

Lois was a devoted wife and homemaker, played the piano, sang in the church choir, sewed, and did needlepoint.

She is survived by her husband, Carl; son, Lee (Kathy); three grandchildren; sister, Shirley (Rollie); and two nieces and two nephews.

Lois was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Harlan Johnson; and sister, Joyce Bascombe.

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