Monday, May 01, 2006

The Cruelest Month

A small collection of things that amused me from this month just ended:

You know you're getting old...

...when you start collecting obituaries. Lately, I seem to be doing just that. At least they're mostly not people of my generation...but that day will undoubtedly come. In the meantime, here are recent obits for our former next-door neighbor, Thelma Wickstrom, and a friend of my dad with whom I was friends also, Dick Blashill.

Sad to say, although she was our neighbor for several years, we did not know Thelma very well. By the time we moved in, health problems forced her to keep a pretty low profile. Still, she was a friendly and pleasant woman, and we were sorry when her health prompted her to sell her house and move into an assisted-living facility.

Thelma A. Wickstrom Thelma A. Wickstrom
(February 18, 1919 - April 25, 2006)

Sioux Falls- Thelma Wickstrom, 87, died, April 25, 2006 at the Good Samaritan Luther Manor Home.

Thelma A. Arne, daughter of John and Mary (Thompson) Arne, was born February 18, 1919 in a sod house near New England, ND. At just over three pounds her bed was a shoebox in an open dresser drawer. She graduated from Beresford High School and married Milton Wickstrom on April 9, 1939.

In addition to handling calls for her husband’s business, she played in the Plumber’s Auxiliary Korny Kitcheneer’s band that included dances and various fund raisers in the community. She was a Sunday school teacher for many years and active in her church circle. She became known as “MoMo” during her 25 years of providing daycare to many children as well as her own grandchildren and two oldest great-granddaughters. Until health problems arose, her retirement was filled with volunteer work at such places as the Library, Avera McKennan Prestige Plus, VFW Auxiliary, and the Bergland Center. She was active in the Solo Club, RSVP, Widow Awareness group, and helping friends and family when they needed care. She enjoyed many nights of socializing and dancing at the Senior Center, Odd Fellows, and VFW.

Grateful for having shared her life are her two daughters, Mary Lee (Don) Williams, Sioux Falls, and Sharon Zocco (Wendell Harms), Tea, SD; five grandchildren, Shane (Becky) Williams, Ames, IA; Brett Williams, Sioux Falls, Kim Hammers, Durango, CO, Tim (Suzie) Hammers, Lino Lakes, MN, Jason (Jodi) Hammers, Sioux Falls; and seven great-grandchildren. Special in her life have been a caring staff at the Home and two guardian angels and tablemates, Elsie and Yetta.

Thelma is preceded in death by her parents, infant son, Milton Wickstrom Jr.; her husband, one sister, Annetta Shuck; four brothers, Henry Arne, Arlie Arne, Juel Arne, and Lloyd Arne.

Visitation will begin at 11:00 AM on Thursday, April 27, 2006 at George Boom Funeral Home with the family present to greet friends from 7:00 to 8:00 PM. Funeral service will be at 11:00 AM on Friday, April 28 in the Christ The Victor Chapel at First Lutheran Church with burial to follow at Brooklyn Evangelical Free Church Cemetery near Beresford, SD.


Dick Blashill worked for the phone company. Yes, Virginia, there was a time when you could say that so-and-so works for "the phone company" and everyone knew what you meant since, for all practical purposes, there was but one phone company. Around these parts, that was Northwestern Bell Telephone Company, a component of the Bell System. My dad also worked for the phone company, and that's where I, as a kid, first met Dick. In more recent years, we renewed our acquaintance at his church, where my wife is a member and where Dick was a frequent usher. He always struck me as a friendly, genuine sort of fellow, and I'm sorry that I won't be seeing him on SUnday mornings anymore.

Richard E.  BlashillRichard E. Blashill
(May 9, 1928 - April 26, 2006)

U.S. Veteran Richard E. “Dick” Blashill, 77, of Sioux Falls, died Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at his residence.

Richard was born May 9, 1928 in Garden City, SD. He moved with his family to Wallace, SD at an early age, then to Castlewood, SD in 1935 where he grew up and received his education. He graduated from Castlewood High School in 1946. Upon graduating from high school, he began working for Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. He continued to live in Castlewood until he entered military service in March of 1951. Dick served in the US Army until receiving his honorable discharge in 1953.

On September 24, 1951, he married Ramona Krause in Clear Lake, SD. Upon his return from the military, he resumed his career with the phone company. He and Ramona lived in Watertown, SD from 1953 until moving to Sioux Falls in 1959. Ramona preceded him in death on December 6, 1966.

Dick was united in marriage with Evelyn L. Quinn on August 3, 1968 in Mason City, Iowa. He and Evelyn lived in Sioux Falls where he continued to work for the telephone company in various supervisory positions until his retirement on December 31, 1983.

He was a member of First Lutheran Church, the American Legion, the Moose Lodge, and Telephone Pioneers. For hobbies, Dick enjoyed hunting and fishing.

Grateful for having shared his life are his wife, Evelyn, of Sioux Falls; one daughter, Ann Marie Guernon and her husband, Tom, of Sugar Grove, IL; one grandson, Jacob Guernon, of Sugar Grove, IL; and a sister, Helen (Ronnie) Brown of Vermillion, SD. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Dick was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Donald Blashill.

Funeral services will be 1:30 pm Monday at First Lutheran Church. Interment will be in Woodlawn Cemetery. The family will be present to greet friends from 2:00 – 4:00 pm Sunday at Miller Funeral Home, Main Avenue location.