Hellen Uhlir, age 88

Hellen L. Uhlir

Hellen Uhlir was given her angel wings as she passed away peacefully Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, at the Kadoka Care Center where she had resided for two years due to failing health. She was 88.
Hellen Louise McCaskell was born May 18, 1929, in De Smet, the only daughter of James and Francis (Shearer) McCaskell. At the age of six, she moved with her parents to Kadoka, where she grew up and received her education, graduating from Kadoka High School in 1947 and later from Black Hills State University with a major in English.
Hellen married the love of her life, Vernon Uhlir, on June 18, 1950, and they were blessed with the birth of their three children, Pam, Laurie and Greg. While Vern was in the service, Hellen stayed in Kadoka and helped her dad with the Silver Court cabins. Hellen then joined Vernon in Biloxi, Miss., where they lived until Vernon's discharge from the service in 1953. They lived one year in Newcastle, Wyo., where Vern taught school and then returned to Kadoka to help run the family businesses of Silver Court and the H& H Cafe.
Hellen was very active in the community, serving on the Kadoka school board, the Legion Auxiliary, Kadoka Community Betterment Association, and Kadoka Presbyterian Church.  She also was a member of the South Dakota Restaurant Association, on which she served as president, and was very proud of winning the Restaurant of the Year Golden Plate.
During her 20 plus years of involvement in managing the H&H Cafe, she taught many people the art of customer service and the value of personal relationships and of serving and helping others. Hellen always saw the best in life and never complained even when she had to enter the nursing home in 2015. Her family's nickname for her was Aunt Bee as she was always caring for others. Meeting and visiting with people was one of her greatest joys as was watching her grandchildren in their sporting and school events. She also enjoyed reading, watching Jeopardy, and checking out the tourist status in town.
Grateful for sharing her life are her husband of 67 years, Vernon Uhlir, Kadoka; three children, Pam Bonenberger and her husband, Keith, Kadoka, Laurie Pettyjohn and her husband, Ted, Rapid City, and Greg Uhlir and his wife, Lisa, Sioux Falls; five grandchildren, Jason (Sarah) Pettyjohn, Rapid City, Jared (Katie) Pettyjohn, Denver, Colo., Alisha (Brandon) Lockhart, Mitchell, Brett (Nikki) Bonenberger, Belvidere, and Kade (Kala) Bonenberger, Kadoka; eight great-grandchildren, Wyatt and Morgan Pettyjohn, Makaylan, McCoy and McKey Bonenberger, Joslin Sommerville, Brice Lockhart and Berkley Bonenberger; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Hellen was preceded in death by her parents, six brothers-in-law, and several uncles and aunts.
Celebration of Life service was held Wednesday, Nov. 8, at the Presbyterian Church in Kadoka, with Pastor Gary McCubbin officiating.
Interment was at the Kadoka Cemetery.
A memorial has been established to the Kadoka Nursing Home and the new Kadoka School Gym.
Arrangements were with the Rush Funeral Chapel of Kadoka.

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