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Durward A. "Dud" Wheeler

Durward A. "Dud" Wheeler, age 82 of Philip, SD, died August 6, 2008, at the Rapid City Regional Hospital.

Funeral services were held Saturday, August 9, at the American Legion Hall in Philip, with Pastor Frezil Westerlund officiating.

Music was provided by Marilyn Millage, pianist, and Kim Kanable, vocalists.

Ushers were Ralph "Chip" Kemnitz and Dugan Stewart. Pallbearers were Miles Wheeler, Eric Stechmann, Justin Wheeler, Charles Ekstrum, David Stechmann and Darral Brooks.

Masonic graveside rites and interment with military honors by the Wheeler-Brooks American Legion Post #173 of Philip, was in the Masonic Cemetery, Philip.

Durward Albert "Dud" Wheeler was born May 27, 1926, the son of Arthur and Marie (Valet) Wheeler. He was raised on the family ranch southeast of Philip with his two brothers, George and Richard, and two sisters, Lillian and Ardene. He attended elementary school at Brady School near his house and graduated from Philip High School in 1945.

After graduation, he worked for the Western Cattle Company before joining the United States Army, where he proudly served his country in the Korean War. After his honorable discharge, he returned to the place he loved most to be, the ranch.

On November 6, 1957, he was joined in marriage to Helen Lorna Erickson Stechmann, and began a new life with his stepson, Eric Stechmann. His son, Miles, was born in August of 1959.

Dud's heart and soul was devoted to his two loves, his family and his ranch. He was blessed with three grandchildren, David, Rachel and Elise. They filled his life with joy.

He was a 60-year member of the Masonic Lodge and was on the administrative board of Philip's Masonic Cemetery until the time of his death. Dud was also a member of the Wheeler-Brooks American Legion Post and served in the South Dakota National Guard in the 1950s and 60s.

Dud is survived by his son, Miles Wheeler and his wife, Jessica, of Philip; his son, Eric Stechmann and his wife, Kathy, of Shoreview, MN; three grandchildren, David Stechmann of Seattle, WA, and Rachel and Elise Wheeler of Philip; one brother, George Wheeler of Philip; one sister, Ardene O'Connell and her husband, Jiggs, of Dickinson, ND; a dear friend, Belle Ravellette of Philip; and a host of relatives and friends.

Dud was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Lorna; his parents, Art and Marie Wheeler; one sister, Lillian Phillips; and one brother, Richard Wheeler.

A memorial is established.

Rush Funeral Home of Philip was in charge of arrangements. Online condolences can be made at www.rushfuneralhome.com