Obituary: WAYNE HOWARD SLETTEN
March 7, 1933 – August 21, 2023
Dr. Wayne Sletten, Rapid City, SD formerly of Faith, SD went to be with Jesus, his Lord and Savior on August 21, 2023 after 90 years of a life well lived.
Wayne was born March 7, 1933 in Mobridge, SD to Philip and Anna (Swenson) Sletten. As a young boy, he caught a train to Faith to spend the summer at his grandparent’s ranch on Sulphur Creek, beginning a love of the western South Dakota prairie. Wayne’s family settled in Winthrop MN where he graduated as valedictorian from high school in 1950. Upon a suggestion from his mother, Wayne pursued a degree in veterinary medicine because the career would combine his love of the outdoors with a chance to move to the Faith area. Wayne graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1956.
Wayne met the love of his life, Karen Wagner, while interning near Lark, ND, and their journey began. Wayne and Karen married July 21, 1956, moved to Faith where they began the Faith Veterinary Service practice and raised their five children. Although Wayne was the first full time veterinarian in the area, his business flourished and his practice spanned over 50 years. He was proud to have served as president of the South Dakota Veterinarian Association.
Wayne and Karen were very active members of the Bethel Lutheran Church where Wayne held many leadership roles. He enjoyed arranging Sunday afternoon outings for church members and friends which could range anywhere from rattlesnake hunting, climbing prairie buttes, to hiking in the Black Hills. Wayne’s love for music led him to begin the Easter Cantata that many enjoyed for years.
Wayne was a loyal Faith Longhorn fan rarely missing a football or basketball game. He also followed the Minnesota Twins and Vikings, ever hopeful for a winning season. Wayne loved tennis and volunteered to keep the downtown courts useable.
The foundation of Wayne’s life was his relationship with Jesus Christ. It was important to Wayne that everyone know that this relationship is available to all. One of Wayne’s favorite adventures was spending time with cattlemen from the Masai tribe in Kenya, Africa, when he and Karen went on a short-term mission trip with the Christian Veterinarian Association.
Wayne and Karen traveled extensively not only in the US but also in Europe where they visited family who were stationed overseas. Wayne even flew to Nicaragua to visit granddaughter, Rachel, who was in the Peace Corps. Wayne played an important role in the lives of all his grandchildren. He was always available to play a game of checkers or Rook and he often organized games of touch football or “fox and goose” in the snow when the family gathered. Another favorite of his was to have everyone sing together out of the Concordia Hymn Book while Karen played the piano. Wayne’s gentle and kind personality never left him even when age robbed his boundless energy. Wayne and Karen retired to Rapid City in 2011 eventually moving into Edgewood Assisted Living Facility.
Grateful for having shared his life and anticipation a joyous reunion are his wife Karen of 67 years; children Jayne (Dan) Jordan of Faith SD, Lynn (Jon) Wellumson of Williston ND, John (Tammy) Sletten of Faith SD, Amy (Carl) Engwall of Rapid City, and Kary (Mike) Dornish of Columbus NE; 13 grandchildren and; 28 great grandchildren; sister Phyllis Dalager; and brother-in-law Fred Bergsrud.
He was preceded in death by this parents, infant brother, sister Joanne Bergsrud, and grandchildren Kaitlin, Jared and Jordan Engwall.
The family asks that memorials be directed to Bethel Lutheran Church in Faith, SD.