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Dakota L. Hildebrandt Nelson

Dakota Lorraine (Threadgold) Hildebrandt Nelson, age 83, of Sturgis, formerly of Wall, died Tuesday, April 26, 2005, at the Sturgis Community Healthcare Center.

Visitation will be held 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 29, at the Rush Funeral Chapel in Wall, and one hour preceding the services at the church on Saturday.

Services will be held 10:00 a.m. Saturday, April 30, at the United Methodist Church in Wall, with Pastor Jim Cissell officiating.

Interment with Eastern Star services will be held at the Wall Cemetery.

Dakota Lorraine Threadgold Hildebrandt Nelson was born November 25, 1921, at Artesian, SD, the daughter of Harvey and Gertrude (Scott) Threadgold. She was the eldest of six children. She graduated from Artesian High School Class of 1939 and attended Dakota Wesleyan University at Mitchell, SD. She taught at Roswell, Raymond and Fedora, SD.

After World War II, she married her college sweetheart, Vernice Hildebrandt, and moved to his ranch north of Quinn, SD. To this union were born three children, Wayne, Wanita and Scott. That they might have better access to school, the Hildebrandts taught school. Dakota taught the next 25 years in the Quinn, Wall, and Wasta schools. By attending summer school sessions and night classes at Ellsworth Air Force Base, she earned her Bachelors Degree in Education. She continued to be active in the Methodist churches, teaching Sunday School, directing the choir and belonging to the United Methodist Women, where for many years was Chairman of Missions. She was a charter member of Church Response in Wall, which helps the local needy as well as the traveling needy. She was a 4-H leader and belonged to an Extension Club. She was a 50-year member of Eastern Star, a charter member of Wonderland Chapter #168 of Wall, and now a member of Philip Chapter #100. She has served as a correspondent for both the Mitchell Daily Republic and Pennington County Courant.

Dakota was named Senator Larry Pressler's Senior Citizen Intern for a week's study of legislation for the elderly in Washington, D.C. in May 1984. As a result of that study, Dakota came home to Wall, determined to have a bus to provide transportation for the elderly and handicapped in Eastern Pennington County. That dream was realized in April 1986 with the help of good friends in the communities. She acted as Project Director of the Eastern Pennington County Transit, helping folks get to their medical and business appointments and arranging fun trips to the Badlands, Black Hills and Missouri River areas to help brighten their days.

After retiring from teaching, she worked at Wall Drug for 15 years, continued to live in Wall enjoying helping her neighbors. The Catalyst Club honored Dakota on April 9, 1988, with a hand-carved bust of herself as a "Good Neighbor" award.

Her husband, Vernice Hildebrandt died April 25, 1983. On September 29, 1990, Dakota married Cecil Nelson, formerly of Artesian, SD. They have made their home in Sturgis, SD.

She leaves to mourn her passing, her husband, Cecil Nelson, of Sturgis; two sons, Wayne (Linda) Hildebrandt of Maywood, NE, and Scott Hildebrandt of St. Paul, MN; one daughter, Wanita Gravatt of Rapid City; and three step-children, Shirley (Alan) Raby of Atlanta, GA, Sharon (John) Narem of Lead, and David (Linda) Nelson of Golden, CO. Also, she leaves seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; five step-grandchildren; five step-great-grandchildren; one brother, Harlyn (Audrey) Threadgold of Brandon, SD; two sisters, Phyllis (Jim) William of Sun City, AZ, and Dawna (Ray) Felix of Visalia, CA; two step-brothers Dennis (Diane)

Rubida and Darrel (Loretta) Rubida, of Gilroy, California; and one sister-in-law, Doris Threadgold of Mitchell, SD.

In addition to her first husband, Vernice, Dakota was preceded in death by her parents; a sister, Betty Fitzgerald; and a brother, Robert Threadgold.

A memorial is established to the Hildebrandt Scholarship Fund at the Wall High School.

Written tributes may be made at www.rushfuneralhome.com