John Hippen |

John Hippen

John H. Hippen, 78, Sturgis, SD, died Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010, at Sturgis Regional Hospital.

Visitation was held Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010 from noon until 9 p.m. at Kinkade Funeral Chapel.

Funeral services were held Friday, Dec. 31, 2010, at 1 p.m. at the First Wesleyan Church in Sturgis with Pastor Harold Delbridge officiating.

John was born on the homestead east of Dalton, NE, March 28, 1932, the last child of German immigrant Harm and Hannah Hippen. After five wonderful daughters, they finally had their son to carry on the Hippen name.

He grew up on the family farm and graduated Bridgeport High School in 1949. He attended one year at Colorado A&M. He met and dated Ruby Jessen from Lodgepole, NE. Entertainment in those days meant many a barn dance and they became great dance partners. They married in 1955 with a honeymoon in Cuba then moved to the Martin, SD, area to become “wheat growers.” They built a farm and grew a family with Tom born in 1956, Tim in 1957 and Cindy in 1961.

Success in farming led to John’s other true love, that of ranching, when they purchased the land in the Sandhills near Cody, NE, in the early 1970s called Hay Valley Ranch. He ranched as hard as he farmed, with a passion to break a good horse, put up perfect hay and to raise good cattle. There was always time for rodeo and roping, coyote hunting with the neighbors and never passing a blowout without a little arrowhead hunting.

Retirement meant moving to Sturgis, SD, in the 1990s, but that didn’t really mean John couldn’t find other things to do. He farmed lease ground around the Dupree, SD area, rodeoed, ran a feedlot, trapped, and ranched and farmed in the Alzada, MT, area until this year.

John was a loving husband of 55 years, a caring father, and a great friend to many. He loved his grandkids and his great-grandsons were his joy. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends, whether it be sitting around the kitchen table, at a rodeo or a fishing hole. No matter where he was or what he was busy doing, he made the most of his time with us. Living life to its fullest and enjoying every special moment was reflected in his laugh. His laugh, so bold and recognizable, there was no hiding the fact that he was having a good time. That laugh will stick with us forever and have a special place in all our hearts.

When you were with John Hippen, you couldn’t help but feel you were part of something “bigger.” You never knew if you were going to hear one of his many great stories or if maybe by chance you might just be involved in the creation of that next great story.

He is survived by his wife, Ruby, of Sturgis; his sons, Tom and wife, Connie, of Hulett, WY, and Tim of Cody, NE; daughter, Cindy of Belle Fourche; grandchildren, Jason Hippen of Hulett, WY, Tyler and wife, Desire, of Gilette, WY, Dusti Hippen of Roesbud, SD, Morgan Hippen of Newell, SD and Abby DeRidder of Primghar, IA; and four great-grandsons, James West, John Wyatt, Payton Boyd and Colton Ryon.

John was preceded in death by his parents; his five sisters, Helen, Ruth, Dorothy, Maxine and Jean; one son; and one granddaughter.

A memorial has been established.

Condolences may be sent to the family at


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