Having touched many lives on earth, Marilyn Dobesh joined her Father in heaven on March 2, 2010 due to complications with lymphoma. Marilyn loved her family, her church and people in general. She provided a source of guidance and strength to those around her. Cooking and then sharing a meal with those who were hurting was also a big part of Marilyn’s life. She loved to help serve community meals, deer hunters and branding parties.
Marilyn Maxine Crago was born in Deadwood, SD on Sept. 17, 1944 to Della (Horton) and Walter Crago. She grew up on ranches in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. She attended first grade at Spearfish Normal School and later attended the Crago School northwest of Belle Fourche and Baroid School at Colony, WY. While attending Belle Fourche High School, Marilyn was a cheerleader, homecoming queen attendant, student council president, and Honored Queen of Job’s Daughters. She graduated in 1962.
On Aug. 28, 1962, Marilyn married her sweetheart, Frank Dobesh. They raised four children and touched the hearts of over 80 foster children over the years. Marilyn was active in community activities, including Town ‘n Country Extension Club, teaching Sunday and Bible School, and along with Frank was a counselor for BYF and MYF. She taught every age youth group, but enjoyed the smallest learners the most! Marilyn spent hours helping with “Grandpa Frank’s Children’s Messages” given during the Sunday Service. She attended a community Bible Study for several years and believed strongly that the Lord would take care of her and her loved ones.
Marilyn was instrumental in organizing the AFS chapter, which brought foreign students to Belle Fourche. She was so committed to the implementation of this program that she convinced her parents to serve as the host family for the first exchange student, Aud Willoch, from Norway. She and her family later hosted two AFS students, Michelle Parsons from South Africa and Herman Amaza Tapia from Chile. Their home was opened to many foreign exchange students from various programs, as well as agricultural trainees.
4-H was also an important part of Marilyn’s life. She was a member for many years, served as a Leader for 20 years, and Vice-President of the State 4-H Executive Board. Marilyn was an active ranch partner, using her 4-H livestock judging skills to select beef and sheep breeding stock. She was President of the South Dakota Cattlewomen’s Association, Parliamentarian of the American National Cattlewomen, and served on the Board of Directors of the Beef Industry Council. In 2001 she was selected for the South Dakota Eminent Homemaker Award. The South Dakota Ceres Fraternity chose her as a Prominent Woman in Agriculture in 2009, and she was inducted into the SD 4-H Volunteer Hall of Fame the same year.
Marilyn is survived by her husband of 47 years, Frank Dobesh, four children: Misti (Kerry) Wahl of Dillon, MT and sons Trent and Garrett; Boe (Lisa) Dobesh of Belle Fourche and daughters Brandy (Scott) Daniels and son Troy of Sundance, Ashley and Dusti; Clint (Sherri) Dobesh of Dell Rapids, SD and their children Breona, Michael, Mallery and Karley; and Dane (Kristi) Dobesh of Belle Fourche. She is also survived by her mother, Della Crago Courtney and her husband James Courtney of Belle Fourche; one sister, Marcia (Howard) Heinje of Wilmot, SD; a brother Clifford (Chris) Crago of Belle Fourche, sisters-in-law Sue Crago and Barbara (Kent) Robinson, both of Belle Fourche, and many nieces and nephews. Very special to her was her mother-in-law Bernice Dobesh of Spearfish and her friend Grandma Georgia Tessness of Belle Fourche.
Marilyn was preceded in death by her father, Walter Crago and her brother, Lester Crago.
Visitation will be 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Friday, March 5 at Kline Funeral Chapel in Belle Fourche.
Funeral services will be held 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 6 at the First Baptist Church in Belle Fourche with the Reverend Anthony Bradseth and the Reverend Paul Howard officiating. Burial will follow at Pine Slope Cemetery in Belle Fourche.
The family will establish a memorial for ministering to the youth.
Family and friends may leave written condolences at http://www.klinefuneralchapel.com.
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the June 19, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News