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Richard G. "Dick" Kjerstad

Richard G. "Dick" Kjerstad, age 61, of Wall, died Tuesday, June 15, 2004, at the Rapid City Regional Hospital.

Funeral services were held Saturday, June 19, at the Wall High School gym with Pastor Jim Cissell officiating.

Music was provided by Dawna Rae Tsitrian, pianist, and congregational hymns. Speakers were Lyndell Peterson, former Pennington Co. Extension Agent and lifelong friend, and Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau Federation President.

Ushers were Troy Schulz, Andy Moon, Justin Schreiber, Mike Held, Stan Mettler, Justin and Larry Eisenbraun, and George Strandell. Pallbearers were Norbert Sebade, Rodney Renner, Ron Seidel, Stan Anderson, Dave LaFee, Gary Keyser, Dennis Anderson, and Don Kelly. Honorary pallbearers were Dick’s grandchildren: Lois, Elliot, Dillon, Ryan, Brittany, Krysta, Quincy, Natasha, Katrina, Tiana, Lauren, Gillian, and Blake.

Interment with Masonic Rites and the Western South Dakota Buckaroos escort was at the Wall Cemetery. Rush Funeral Chapel of Wall was in charge of arrangements.

Richard G. Kjerstad, better known as "Dick" by his family and friends, was born March 21, 1943 at his parents’ ranch northeast of Quinn, South Dakota, the son of Elnoris and Ila (Bean) Kjerstad. He grew up on the ranch and attended country school in that area. Dick then attended Wall High School graduating in 1960. After graduation he remained on the farm-ranch.

Dick was united in marriage to Patricia Ann Crown on March 2, 1961 in Rapid City. They made their home on the ranch where they raised their four sons, Kem, Jem, Kent and Kevin. Dick farmed and ranched all his life and took great pride that he passed down the opportunity for his children to return to the ranch, as his father had.

He was very proud of having all his sons involved in the family operations. He gave his sons responsibility, early and often. He did not expect success but he knew it would come, because he advised them not to be afraid of failure, but to learn from it. His greatest reward in life was watching his grandchildren grow and knowing that they will continue his legacy.

The deep love he had for his family, community, and land led him to become involved in and lead many organizations that contributed to the opportunity in and the advancement of agriculture and rural America. He was an instrumental member of numerous organizations throughout his life. They include 4-H, where he served as a leader, the Western Junior Livestock Board where he served as a member and President, the Central States Fair Board, the Jaycees, and the Masonic Lodge. He was also a board member of Golden West Telecommunications, and serves as president of Golden West Communications. He was a 35-year member of the Western South Dakota Buckaroos. Dick was awarded the Farm Bureau Outstanding Young Farmer in 1972, the Ag Producer of the Year in 2001, and the SDSU Beef Bowl "Friend of the Beef Industry" award for 2001. Dick was a very instrumental part of the construction of the West River Agriculture Research Center. He was a founding member of the First Western Greater Wall Foundation.

The generosity that Dick possessed can also be seen by his involvement on the Wall School Board, the South Dakota State University Foundation Board, the National Grasslands Coalition, the South Dakota Ag Producer Ventures, and served on the board of the Wall Golf Course, where he was a lifetime member. Dick was also very active with Farm Bureau, serving on the American Farm Bureau Federation Board, and FBL Financial Services Group Board, as well as South Dakota Farm Bureau Vice President from 1988-1995 and is currently President, a position he has held since 1995. Dick was also a member of the United Methodist Church in Wall.

Grateful for having shared his life is his wife, Patty; four sons, Kem Kjerstad and his wife, Mary, of Rapid City, Jem Kjerstad and his wife, Kelly, of Quinn, Kent Kjerstad and his wife, Stephanie, of Quinn, and Kevin Kjerstad and his wife, Melissa, of Wall; 10 grandchildren, Louis, Elliot, Dillon, Ryan, Brittany, Krysta, Quincy, Natasha, Katrina and Tiana; three step-grandchildren, Lauren, Gillian and Blake; his parents, Elnoris and Ila Kjerstad of Quinn; a brother, Jerald Kjerstad and his wife, Margy, of Piedmont; special members of the family, Gary and Judy Yocum of Wall; several nieces and nephews; and a host of other relatives and friends.

Dick was preceded in death by maternal and paternal grandparents and a daughter-in-law, Rose Mary.

The family requests memorials be directed to the Richard Kjerstad Memorial Fund, c/o First Western Bank, PO Box 402, Wall, SD 57790.