Vivian Jeanette Minard

Vivian Jeanette Minard, a resident of Philip for over 60 years, died of natural causes on Thursday, June 30, 2011, at the Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital in Philip.

Born in Oldham, S.D., on June 4, 1908, she always hoped she would live into this millennium, and she exceeded her hopes by several years, having celebrated her 103rd birthday just a few weeks ago.

As a child, she spent several years living on homesteaded land near Miles City, Mont., but her parents decided to move back to South Dakota, one reason being that Vivian would have access to better schooling. Her father bought a store near Aberdeen and Vivian, living for a time with her grandmother, attended school in Madison. She fortunately was not there on a day in 1921 when her mother was a witness to the murder of her father by three young gunmen. After this tragic event, Vivian and her mother settled in Howard, where Vivian graduated form Howard High School, the valedictorian of her class.

She attended what is now Dakota State University in Madison for two years, and then taught in elementary schools for several years, both in Onida and Redfield, where she met her future husband, George.

They married in 1936 and moved to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, where their daughters, Janet and Julie, were born. In 1949, George and Vivian purchased the Philip Pharmacy and the family moved to Philip. Their first home in Philip was the Senechal Hotel - from which they were asked to move. "We don't let children live here," was the explanation. (But they had!) The second home was a two-room "apartment" overlooking the drugstore! By Thanksgiving, they had a rented house. In 1953, they built a home on High Street, which remains the Minard family headquarters to this day.

During the years in which her daughters were growing up, Vivian became active in the community with membership in the Philip Women's Club and Methodist Ladies' Aid. She helped raise money for the March of Dimes - lots of dimes. In 1957, her basement became a fashion storehouse for costumes modeled in the historical style show presented as part of Philip's 50th birthday.

Vivian occasionally substitute taught in Philip's grade and high schools. She could always be counted on to provide rides to and from out-of-town music, speech and sporting events that her daughters and their pals were attending or competing in.

In her home or yard, one could often see the results of Vivian's flair for creating. The long-time owner of the local hardware store told Julie that Vivian was the best spray paint customer he'd ever had! She either spray-painted or covered things with Contact Paper that needed rehabilitating - including the Christmas tree one year. To this day you will find her expertly painted (not spray) figurines or painted (spray) arrangements of yucca pods in her home.

Traveling was something Vivian enjoyed throughout her life. She visited all 50 states, as well as Canada, Mexico, Ireland and Japan. Unfortunately, she never made it to Norway, her ancestral home.

Over the years, she and George made many trips to California and Oregon to spend time with their daughters. They became very reliable cat sitters for Janet and her husband, Bob. Vivian developed a special relationship with Sparky, who - while a cat - reminded Vivian in some way of another Sparky, a beloved dog from her Montana childhood.

After George sold the Philip Pharmacy and retired, they spent several months each winter in either Texas or Arizona, finally buying a townhouse in Sun City, which they were able to enjoy for several years.

Vivian's last decade was spent in Silverleaf and the Philip Nursing Home. Although her hearing faded and her eyesight dimmed so she could no longer read her beloved books, she remained mentally quite lucid and feisty until her health began to fail in the last five months. Her family and friends are thankful that her death - when it came - came peacefully.

Vivian was preceded in death by her parents, Clarence and Julia Hetland, and her husband George.

Surviving her are her daughters, Alice Janet (and her husband Robert Schnyder) of Buena Park, Calif., Julien Lee of Long Beach, Calif.; and her only grandson, Erik, of Saratoga, Calif.

A gathering in Vivian's honor will take place from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m., Friday, July 8, at the Lake Waggoner Golf Course. The family believes this setting to be "doubly appropriate" since Vivian took many neighborhood children swimming there in the 1950s and her late husband, George, was quite a golf enthusiast.

Arrangements are with the Rush Funeral Home of Philip.

Her online guestbook is available at www.rushfuneralhome.com