Wilma G. Swan | TSLN.com

Wilma G. Swan

Wilma G. Swan, 85, Spearfish, longtime Newell resident, passed away on March 13, 2010, after a short illness, her sweetheart of 67 years by her side.

Wilma was born January 20, 1925 at Deer Trail, Colorado, to William and Valley (Hesse) Pisel, one of six children. She grew up in the Deer Trail/ Hugo, Colorado area and graduated as Valedictorian of her class in 1943 with a 98.48 GPA, which still stands today.

She started dating Bill in January of 1943, waited for his return from the Pacific, post WWII, and they married at Hugo, CO, October 6, 1946. They lived on the Swan Ranch south of Hugo until moving to Kansas the fall of 1948, then to DeRidder, Louisiana after the ranch sold. They moved to the Newell, South Dakota area July 1949. They moved to the ranch on Jug Creek east of Newell May 7, 1954 and lived there until November, 2001, when they retired and moved to their home near Spearfish, SD.

Wilma and Bill had a family of six children that were raised on the ranch and learned to ride and work on the ranch and love the prairie. Wilma always raised a huge garden to feed her family, plus had beautiful flowers in her yard. Wilma sewed many of their clothes and won ribbons at the county fair with her creations. She also knitted and crocheted for her family. No one ever came to the ranch near mealtime without being fed and Wilma was known for her great cooking and baking, besides the warm welcome.

After her family was grown, Wilma started her oil painting years. A prolific artist, she painted beautiful landscapes, wildlife, flowers, and ranch scenes. Many were from photos taken during their travels on vacations all over the west. Their last big trip was to the northeastern part of the country to view the fall colors. Their travels also included many back roads, some dead-ends that just looked interesting.

Involved parents became very involved grandparents, as they traveled to many activities that their many grandkids were in. They watched all the ball games and rodeos that they could get to, plus many other academic achievements. A little thing like a blizzard or a freezing rain never deterred them from attending.

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Wilma was a voracious reader, and instilled the love of reading and learning in her whole family, children and grandchildren. “It was never WHETHER you were going to college, but WHERE, and WHAT were you going to be?” Her pride in their achievements was always evident to all.

Wilma also enjoyed crocheting, jigsaw puzzles, flowers, crossword puzzles (in pen, no less), beating her grandkids at Chinese checkers during holiday family gatherings. Spending time with her best friend and sweetheart, Bill, was still her favorite pass time.

Wilma was a member of the Newell Christian Fellowship Church, a Sunday school teacher, founding member of Circle II. She was very involved with the Black Hills Art Association and enjoyed her friendship with the other artists.

Survivors include her husband of 63 years, Bill Swan, Spearfish; Steve and Billie Swan, Newell, SD, Kathy and Bob Burke, Sundance, Wyoming, Dave Swan and Mary Weltsch, Los Angeles, CA, Linda Swan and Brett Engelson, Rapid City, SD, Bob and Christy Swan, Belle Fourche, SD, and Jan and Bill Wood, Newell, SD; 14 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren; sister Myrna and Dale Ashcraft, Matheson, CO; brother-and- sister-in-law Keith and Lois Swan, Newell, SD; sister-in-law Jean and Hank Langeman, Wenatchee, WA; sister-in-law Dorothy Pisel, Deer Trail, CO, brother-in-law Jack Walden, Limon, CO; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Katie Howe, Arlene Howe, and Margie Walden, brother Zary Pisel, her beloved in-laws, W.H.C. and Elsie Swan, and grandson Carson Gifford.

Visitation will be noon until 9 p.m. on Wednesday at the Kinkade Funeral Chapel in Sturgis.

Services will be 10 a.m. Thursday, March 18, 2010 at the Newell Christian Fellowship Church with Pastor Sean Carney officiating. Burial will be 2 p.m. on Thursday at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

A memorial has been established to the Newell Christian Fellowship Church Building Fund.

Condolences may be sent to the family at http://www.kinkadefunerals.com.

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