Stella Ptak, age 97, of Pierre, S.D., formerly of Philip, died Tuesday morning, May 8, 2012, at the Maryhouse Nursing Home in Pierre.
Stella Ann Cihak was born April 24, 1915, on the family farm home in rural Dante, the daughter of Frank and Elizabeth (Rada) Cihak. She grew up in Dante on the farm and attended grade school there. When she started school she did not know any English for they were allowed to speak only Bohemian at home. Stella attended high school in Wagner and attended cosmetology school in Des Moines, Iowa. During WWII, she worked in an ammunition factory in Ankeny, Iowa, where her job was the “second draw” for tracer bullets for airplanes.
Her high school sweetheart returned from service in WWII in 1945, and they were married a month later in the Dante Catholic church, the same church she was baptized and confirmed in. When they were first married, Ed ran Ed’s Bar in downtown Dante and Stella helped him. They raised three children.
In 1962, after Ed finished his college degree, the family moved to Philip where Ed took a teaching job. Stella began working as a nurse’s aide at the Philip hospital, a job she continued into her 80s.
When Ed retired, they started going south for the winters and spent the cold months as snowbirds in Mission, Texas. They would return in the summers where Ed would work for the Philip Ambulance Service and Stella as a nurse’s aide at the hospital.
Ed passed away on May 20, 2008, and Stella moved into Maryhouse Nursing Home where she has been lovingly cared for since then.
She loved her family and her church, attending daily mass. She also enjoyed bingo, Duke University men’s basketball, and talking about “old times”, growing up on the Choteau Creek in Charles Mix County.
Stella was a lifetime member of the Catholic Daughters of America and VFW Auxiliary.
Thankful for having shared her life are her three children, daughter Barb Joy and her husband, Larry, of Pierre; two sons, Tim Ptak and his wife, Trudy, of Minot, N.D., and John Ptak and his fiancée, Karolea, of Central City; grandchildren, TJ Ptak and family of Kalamazoo, Mich., Tonia Kirk and her family of Minot, N.D., Jaremy Joy of Minneapolis, Minn., and Josh Joy and family of Fargo, N.D.; and a host of other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Ed; three sisters, Rose Novak, Clara Cihak, and Ann Sykora; and two brothers, Jim and Bob.
A prayer service will be held 7:00 p.m. CDT, on Thursday, May 10, at the Maryhouse Chapel in Pierre.
Mass of Christian burial will be held 10:00 a.m. MDT on Friday, May 11, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Philip.
Interment will be held 3:00 p.m. MDT Friday at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.
A memorial is established to the Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital.
Arrangements are with the Rush Funeral Home of Philip.
Her online guestbook is available at www.rushfuneralhome.com