John J. Stiefvater |

John J. Stiefvater

John Stiefvater, 76, of Salem, SD, died Thursday, March 26, 2009 in the Golden Living Center in Salem.

John was born to Joseph and Elizabeth (Feterl) Stiefvater in Mitchell, SD on November 28, 1932. He resided in the Salem area throughout his life, where he graduated from St. Mary’s High School. On April 27, 1957, he married Elizabeth Hill in Alexandria, SD.

John was self-employed as a beef, pork and grain producer. His support of agriculture led him to be a founding member of the McCook County Chapter of the SD Cattlemen’s Association in 1973. He was elected SD Cattlemen’s Association state president in 1992. He further served on committees for the National Cattlemen’s Association as well as for the SD Beef Council and National Livestock and Meat Board. He also traveled extensively to promote SD agriculture in Mexico, China, Argentina and South Africa. He was honored as Outstanding Young Farmer in 1966, Cattleman of the Year in 1996 and Friend of the Beef Industry at the SDSU Beef Bowl in 1998. He was appointed by Gov. Dick Kneip to the Vocational Board of Education Advisory Council in 1974. Locally, John served his community as American Legion Post #140 Commander, President of the Salem Public School Board of Education, was a founding member of the McCook County Historical Society and the Salem Community Foundation. He was a lifelong member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, where he served as a lector and on parish council.

John’s primary hobby was golfing and he was a charter member of the McCook County Country Club. He recorded two official holes-in-one. He was a voracious reader of both fiction and non-fiction. John was also an avid hunter, maintaining a lifelong interest in big and small game hunting and the maintenance of natural habitat areas for wildlife. John and Liz also spent 13 years as “Winter Texans” in the Rio Grande Valley. Another joy in his life was spending time with his grandchildren.

Having happily shared his life was Elizabeth (Hill) Stiefvater. Their marriage produced 6 children; Monica (Tim) Campbell, Madison, SD, Jim (Lynne) Stiefvater, Chantilly, VA, Sara Stiefvater (Steve Koehl), Germantown, WI, Kurt (Kathy) Stiefvater, Salem, SD, Mike (Carie) Stiefvater, Salem, SD, Rita (Brad) Baker, Colorado Springs, CO; 14 grandchildren-Jenny (Ryan) Myers, Clay (Lindsay) Campbell, Kelsey Campbell, Amanda Stiefvater, Corey and Ian Burke, Lauren, Megan, and Karlie Stiefvater, Hadley, Ella, and Colton Stiefvater, and Lindsay and Claire Baker; and 2 great-grandchildren Miranda and Lucas Myers. He is further survived by his siblings: Eileen Riddle, Riverside, CA, Harold (Joan Mae) Stiefvater, Salem, SD, Doris (Jim) Schaffer, Mitchell, SD, Lou Ella Weber, Salem, SD, as well as many nieces, nephews, in-laws, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Funeral Mass was held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Salem. Interment followed at St. Mary’s Cemetery.

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