Ken Halligan: 1921-2014
Kenneth William Halligan was born Aug. 2, 1921 to Frank and Ethel (Rousch) Halligan at Cedar Butte, S.D. In 1931 they moved their family to Parmelee, S.D. Ken attended school at Running Bird for the first four years and transferred to Parmelee School after the move, remaining there through the 11th grade. His senior year was spent at Curtis, Neb., attending the Nebraska School of Agriculture.
On Aug. 15, 1942, Ken entered the Army to become a Signal Corp lineman with the 101st Signal Battalion. He was attached to the 7th Infantry Division as “Special Forces.” Ken received several awards and citations, including the Purple Heart, and had achieved the rank of 1st Sgt. by the time he was honorably discharged.
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After World War II, Ken worked for three years as a lineman for Bell Telephone Co. in Rapid City and Valentine, Neb. During this time he met Ruth Louise Verch. They married on Oct. 5, 1947 and Ken returned to ranching at Parmelee. Then, in 1954, they moved west of Ft. Pierre, S.D., where Ken was a partner in the Rankin Ranch operation for 10 years. In 1964, Ken and Ruth purchased a ranch on the White River south of Draper and moved there with their five children. They spent many happy years running cattle and irrigating crops on the river bottoms until 1995 when they moved to Pierre. Ruth had been fighting cancer and passed away in March of 1996.
Ken worked as an order buyer for Gottch Feed Corporation during his ‘retirement’ and married Florence Wiliams Nov. 2, 1997 in Eagle Butte, S.D. They made their home in Pierre.
Ken was very involved in every community in which he resided. He served on the school board for Tomahawk District in Stanley County for ten years and was a Jones County Commissioner for ten years. He was proud to serve as a Charter Member for the SD Cowboy Hall of Fame, where he served on the Board of Directors, and was the last living Charter Member at the time of his death. He and Ruth were both inducted into the Hall of Fame. Ruth was inducted into Teaching and Cultural Affairs in 1990 and Ken into Agriculture in 1996.
The West River/Lyman-Jones Rural Water Board was a special interest of Ken’s for 34 years. He was a lifetime member and served twice as commander of American Legion Otterman Post #94, was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and also the Disabled American Veterans. In 1999, Ken and the entire Halligan Family were honored to be inducted into the Casey Tibbs Foundation. Ken worked tirelessly for the South Dakota Stockgrowers Assn. and served as Vice President beginning in 1986 and President in 1988. He also served on the S.D. Brand Committee and was appointed to the Brand Board in 1998 where he served for five years. He was a lifetime member of the Aberdeen Angus Association.
Ken’s faith was an important part of his life. He was a member of the American Sunday School Union in Parmelee until he joined the Methodist Church in Valentine, Neb. He was a Trustee and on the Pastor Parish Board for the Little Brown Church at Hayes, S.D. and the Draper Methodist Church. He was a member of the Pierre Methodist Church at the time of his death.
Grateful for having shared his life are his five children: Frank (Shirley) of Midland, S.D.; Bill (Virginia)of Bushnell, Neb.; Linda (Ray) Gilbert of Buffalo, S.D.; Jim (Barb) of Pierre; Laura (Tim) Olson of Buffalo, S.D.; 10 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; a sister, Irene Hutchison and numerous nieces and nephews.
Ken was preceded in death by his wife Ruth, his parents, brothers Eugene, Delbert, Bernard and Daryl and wife Florence Williams Halligan
Ken spent his entire life working and caring for those around him. He believed in God, loving his family and a good horse. We know they all await him in heaven.
Memorials may be directed to the Casey Tibbs S.D. Rodeo Center, Ft. Pierre, or the Draper United Methodist Church in Draper,SD. F
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