Obituary: William Oscar Weller
William Oscar Weller
William Oscar Weller was born in his family’s home at the ranch in Arriba, Colorado, in 1935, the sixth child to Leonard and Stella Weller.
In 1929, a fire burned the family home and two of the children perished. The family moved to Kadoka, South Dakota, in 1949 when W.O. was 14 years old. He continued his schooling at Kadoka High School, excelling in track in the 1-mile race, running varsity as a freshman. He qualified for the state track meet every year, but in his senior year he stayed home to start haying instead of competing. W.O. loved showing cattle, particularly the Hereford breed in his younger years, participating in 4H and Western Junior Livestock Show for many years.
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After high school, W.O. volunteered for the draft and served two years in the US Army, and was sent to Germany.
W.O. was honorably discharged in 1957 with a commendation as Sharpshooter and a Good Conduct Medal. The Army sought him out and asked for him to re-up. W.O. asked if he could bring cows. When the Army declined, so did W.O., and he got busy with his ranch life.
In 1959, W.O. met Jean Keller, a beautiful girl from Philip. They were married in 1960 in Kadoka and began their life
together ranching on the Weller Ranch, continuing with daily ranch activities right up through branding of 2017. They
raised Angus cattle and at times, sheep and hogs, farmed, and of course had chickens. And later, kids.
To W.O. and Jean came a lively brood – two daughters and a son and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The girls and their families live in the Kansas City area, and W.O. and Jean visited several times a year. W.O. loved to have a list of To-Dos waiting for him and time to visit with his family. He enjoyed the visits, but was always eager to get back to the ranch, which was his passion, his hobby, and his work. Bill, W.O.’s son, remained in the Kadoka area after college,
ranching, and the last three years, W.O. and Bill worked together at Weller Ranch.
The Black Hills Stock Show was the highlight of the year for W.O., and he was a frequent buyer of the quality Angus cattle offered for sale. He was a well-respected cattleman and was honored as Stockman of the Year in 1999. Visiting with those in his industry and seeing the best the area had to offer were the things W.O. looked forward to when he attended the annual event.
W.O. loved his routine. Everyday carried a certain schedule and every season a certain set of chores and activities. His
steadfastness to his business enabled him to succeed and remain on the ranch even through years of economic challenges.
As a family man, W.O. was quiet but a strong and steady force. He insisted the children rise in the morning and eat breakfast as a family. A blessing for each meal was always said, and the company around the table knew this was a house that served the Lord.
The Weller children learned the ag way of life very early and many of their extra activities revolved around cattle and
horses and other livestock, 4H and Western Junior events. W.O. and Jean guided their efforts and shuffled them to the
competitions. On-the-job training was also part of life, and ranch jobs sometimes had to get done by “making do,” and the
kids learned to be creative, and as such are quite handy in about any situation. W.O. instilled in his family hard work,
steadfastness, love of family, and love of God’s creatures and creation.
W.O. was an elder and deacon of the Kadoka Presbyterian Church, and enjoyed visiting at the potlucks and at coffee time on Sunday mornings. Through his dedication to his livelihood, his devotion to his wife and family, and investment in his
community, W.O. served his Lord well.
W.O. was a true gentleman cowboy, honest in word and deed, helpful to all who asked, and grateful when friends and
neighbors helped him. He will be deeply missed.
Survivors include his wife Jean; daughter, Kristen Arnold (Mark) of Raymore, MO; daughter, Karmen Sargent (Doug) of
Stilwell, KS; son Bill Weller (Jacque) of Kadoka; 11 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren; brother, Harold “Bud”
Weller, Kadoka; sister, Shirley Josserand (Orville), Kadoka; and a great number of other relatives and friends.
Preceding him in death are his parents, Leonard and Stella Weller, sister Ivaleen, brother Duane, sister Marjorie and
brother-in-law Richard Borbely, sister June and brother-in-law Joe Wanczyk, sister-in-law Clarabelle Weller.
Memorial visitation will be held 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19, at the Presbyterian Church in Kadoka, with a prayer service at 8 p.m.
Memorial services will be held 10 a.m. Thursday, July 20, at the Presbyterian Church in Kadoka, with Pastor Gary McCubbin officiating.
Military graveside rites will be held 2:30 p.m. Thursday, July 20, at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in W.O. Weller’s name with the Black Hills Stock Show Foundation.
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