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The class of '73 wishes to remember the classmates we have lost since graduation.

The following names are listed in the order they passed away.
George Akin (1973)
Sandy Stahl (1975)
Randy Swedeen (1995)
Cindy Durfee (1998)
Pam Christiansen (1998)
Brian Maher (2009)
Dwight Friese (2011)
Richard Herren (2012)
Kevin Cranston (2013)
Jackie Zens (2014)
Bill Zahn (21015)
Ione Stellmacher (2019)
Dennis Becker (2020)

George Akin (1973)

Sandy Stahl (1975)

Randy Swedeen (1995)

May 1, 1995
I would like to express my love to the many people dear to me that shared the joys of my life. If I have neglected to express my love to anyone, I know my "Spirit" will always be in contact with you. I enjoyed my life and have no regrets thatI missed anything presented to me in my life, other than the people I haven't met yet in my life, and wish everyone to enjoy their life to the fullest.

Randy Swedeen

Randy was born March 28, 1955 in Sioux Falls, SD. He attended elementary and high school in Redfield, SD, graduating in 1973. He attended Northern State College in Aberdeen, SD for one year before moving to Enid, OK in 1975. He worked for Dowell Industries in Enid, OK for several years before attending Oklahoma State University completing a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1980 and a Masters Degree in Engineering in 1982. Following graduation Randy went to work for Conoco Oil Company in Ponca City, OK. In 1992 Randy and a partner formed their own company, CETCON, specializing in environmental testing and process equipment analysis centered in Tulsa, OK. This venture was undertaken with his wife Judy A, (Williams) Sweden, whom he married on October 30, 1982 in Oklahoma City, OK. He is survived by his wife, Julia A., a son Erik Randall born December 23, 1992, and a daughter Kayla Ann born November 30, 1994. He is also survived by his parents Hollie Joel and Marjorie Ann Swedeen of Yankton, SD, two brothers Kendall Jay of Jackson, WY and Jeffrey Dale of Yankton, SD and one sister Marjo Ann of Overland Park, KS. He is survived by nine nephews and nieces who enjoyed his love and time. Randy passed away on June 8, 1995 at Tulsa, OK.


Dear Randy,
You left us so fast we did not have time to tell you how much we love you and how proud we are of you, not only for your accomplishments, but more important, how you lived your life.

You loved your family, you loved your friends and you loved the person you needed to love. You were always for the "underdog", the handicapped and the elderly. You had friends from all over the world, from Iceland, Japan, Ethiopia, South America, etc. The world is a better place because of your life. Our only regret is that it was so short, but "God" has a divine reason for taking you home so soon.

I don't know why "God" didn't take me instead of you. I could accept it better, but that is a selfish wish. "God" has his own reasons and we were not meant to understand his decisions, nor question them.

Randy's life and death has brought us closer to "God". On the last day of his life, his wife, "Julie" ("God" bless her) said that the day was unusual. Little 6 month old Kayla slept most of the day. Little 2 1/2 year old Erik sat quietly watching TV all day, which was very unusual because he is a bundle of energy and motion (like his father at that age). Randy was not in any pain, which he had endured for over a week. He was serene and peaceful. In the middle of the afternoon he asked Julie if the TV was on in the other room because he heard voices. Julie replied that she did not hear anything. Randy said, "I hear voices, they are calling for me. They want me now.", then he died.

Part of us died with him, but life goes on. Randy left a legacy of Love. We called him our blonde bear because he would always give us a bear hug when he greeted us or said good-bye. The last bear hug he gave me was when he knew he was going to die. As we embraced we accidentally bumped noses. I will treasure this memory until the day I die.

Some Day we hope to meet Randy and our family members and friends if we are worthly of this honor. We know we are going to try harder to become better Christians.

With all our Love,
Dad and Mom

P.S. We are grateful that "God" let us have you for forty years.

Cindy Durfee (1998)

Cindy Durfee was born in Miller, South Dakota to Alvin and Eleanore Durfee on December 17, 1954. She graduated from Redfield High School in May 1973. Following high school graduation, she attended Minnesota Business College in Minneapolis and graduated in 1975 with honors. Cindy worked at Midwest Federal Savings and Loan and later at the Fort Snelling Veterans Regional Office, both in Minneapolis.

Cindy got married in Minneapolis and returned to Redfield shortly afterwards, working at Ken's Super Value, before moving to Cogswell, North Dakota for a short time, and then returning to Redfield.

After living in Redfiled for a few months, Cindy decided to continue her education and attended Northern State College for two years, and therefor moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota. She worked at Hub City Division of Safeguard Industries as a computer trainer. Due to health problems, she had to discontinue working.

Cindy enjoyed collecting Walt Disney and Looney Toons memorabilia, and also had a collection of Snow Globes.

Cindy passed away due to lung cancer on June 10, 1998 at the age of 43. She is survived by her mother Eleanore of Refield; her brother Dave of Redfield; and her two daughters, Kristy and Jessica of Aberdeen.

Pam (Christiansen) Seidschlaw (1998)

Pamela Joy (Christiansen) Seidschlaw died in August of 1998 at the age of 43 from complications due to Marfan Syndrome. Until that time, she and her husband, Loren, lived on their farm near Wecota, SD. In addition to raising two daughters (Stefanie and Krista), Pam worked at the Ipswich Tribune for a time, then the Faulk County Conservation District until her retirement in 1996 due to her health.

Stefanie 30, lives in Coumbia, Missouri with her husband, Dr. Steven Waldren. Stefanie works as a Certified Research Co-ordinator for Ellis Fischel Cancer Center.

Krista, 27 lives in Aberdeen, SD with her husband Keith Seurer. Krista works as a physicians assistant at NeuroSpine of Aberdeen.

Brian Ray Maher (2009)

The following is courtesy of the Redfield Press.

Brian Ray Maher, 53, of Redfield, SD, died Sunday, September 13, 2009 at the Community Memorial Hospital in Redfield. His funeral will be Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Redfield. Reverend Stephen Perry will officiate. Burial will be in the Greenlawn Cemetery. Visitation will be Tuesday from 1-8:00 p.m. with the family present from 6-8:00 p.m. with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. at Thelen Funeral Home in Redfield. www.thelenfuneralhome.com

Brian was born on October 27, 1955 to Gene and Hazel (Becker) Maher in Aberdeen, SD. He grew up on a farm north of Zell. He attended St. Mary’s Catholic School, Pioneer Township School and graduated from Redfield High School in 1973. Brian then attended Mitchell Area Vocational Technical School in the Ag Marketing and Management program for two years, graduating in 1975. Brian married Marilee Engelbrecht on May 18, 1979. To this union two sons were born; Dustin and Bryce.

Brian has always been a hard worker and had worked at Gary’s OK Tire, Redfield Sales, and Butch’s Service prior to deciding on being a farmer and rancher. Brian enjoyed sharing his skills as a mechanic with his sons, checking on the cattle but most of all spending time with his granddaughter, Paige and watching his sons. In his spare time, you would find him either hunting or fishing.

Brian is survived by his sons, Dustin and Bryce both of Redfield, his granddaughter Paige Maher, his parents Gene and Hazel Maher of Athol, SD; sisters: Debbie (Robert) Stroud of Redfield, Carol (Darwin) Burton of Bonilla, SD; his nephews Kendall and Daniel Stroud, Dallas (Lacey) Burton and Tyler Burton; a niece Kelsey (John) Spotanske and son Aidyn; Marilee Engelbrecht and her brother Mark.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents: Ray and Norma Maher, Walter and Myrtle Becker; his uncles: Clarence Becker, Donnie Becker and Hugh Zens, and Marilee’s parents Myrl and Marlene Engelbrecht.

Dwight Friese (2011)

The following is courtesy of Thelen Funeral Home.

Dwight E. Friese, 56, of Miller, SD died Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at his home in Miller. His funeral will be Monday, September 12, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Redfield. Father Christopher Hughes will officiate. Burial will be in Greenlawn Cemetery in Redfield. Visitation will be Sunday from 2-8:00 p.m. with a prayer service at 6:00 p.m. at Thelen Funeral Home in Redfield. www.thelenfuneralhome.com

Dwight was born September 6, 1955 in Redfield to Eldeen and Laura (Bymers) Friese. He graduated from Redfield High School in 1973 and worked for Highway Oil and Frank Carr Construction. Dwight married Monica Schmidt on September 13, 1980 in Redfield. They owned and operated 4J’s Convenience Store for several years. He later worked at South Dakota Wheat Growers, South Dakota Developmental Center-Redfield. He also lived in Rapid City and recently Miller.

He enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting and especially spending time with his grandchildren.

Dwight is survived by his children: Justin (DeAnne) Friese of Redfield and their children: Cody, Kyle, Austin and Jake; Janelle (Brian) Stewart of Pierre, SD; Jodi (Jade) Freier of Rapid City, SD and their children: Kaiden and Keegan; and Jennifer (Jared) Archambeau of Piedmont, SD. He is also survived by his sisters: Peggy (Ozzie) Baier of Redfield and Alice (Les) Walker of Regina, Saskatchewan and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Mary Allen and his nephew Dean Baier.

Richard (Ric) Herren (2012)

The following is courtesy of Thelen Funeral Home.

Richard Herren, 58, of Frankfort, SD, died Monday, November 5, 2012 at Golden Living Center in Redfield. His funeral will be Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. at First Congregational-UCC Church in Redfield. Reverend Tim Fugman will officiate. Burial will be in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Frankfort. Visitation will be Wednesday from 5-8:00 p.m. with the family present from 5-7:00 p.m. www.thelenfuneralhome.com

Ric was born June 11, 1954 in Redfield to Robert and Bonnie (Blaedorn) Herren. He grew up in Redfield and attended Redfield High School. Ric and Norma Sanders were married September 9, 1977 in Frankfort. He attended Mitchell Vo-Tech and graduated with a culinary arts degree. He worked at many cafés and restaurants including SDDC-Redfield, Doland Now and Then, Brentford, Frankfort Habitat and Coachman Supper Club. He worked at Golden Living Center for twenty years as a cook and housekeeper. Norma and Ric lived in Frankfort all their married life.

Ric enjoyed hunting with his son, although he might not have ever hit a pheasant and he enjoyed fishing and camping with his daughter. He was an avid Chicago Bears fan. Ric is survived by his wife Norma of Frankfort; his son Steven (Anilee) Herren of Redfield and their children Karter and Kyler; and his daughter Lindsey (Brent) Ritter of Rapid City, SD and their son Gage. He is also survived by his mother Bonnie Herren of Redfield and a nephew and nieces.

He was preceded in death by his father.

Go Bears!!

Kevin Cranston (2013)

The following is courtesy of Thelen Funeral Home.

Kevin Cranston, 58, of Redfield, SD, died Monday, February 11, 2013 on the farm. His funeral will be Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Redfield. Reverend Brian Wasmoen will officiate. After a time for lunch and fellowship, the burial will be in Riverside Cemetery in Huron, SD. Visitation will be Thursday from 1-7:00 p.m. at Thelen Funeral Home in Redfield. www.thelenfuneralhome.com

Kevin was born February 13, 1954 in Huron, SD to Russell and Betty (Sheldon) Cranston. He attended school in Redfield and has worked at the South Dakota Developmental Center in Redfield for thirty-six years.

He lived in a mobile home on his parent’s farm. Kevin enjoyed living on the farm, having coffee at Appel Oil and watching TV.

Kevin is survived by his mother, Betty, of Redfield; his brother Russ (Kathryn) Cranston of New Port Beach, CA.

He was preceded in death by his father, Russell in 2000, his Aunt Mary Wilson and both sets of grandparents.

Jackie (Zens) Grebe (2014)

The following is courtesy of Kirk Funeral Home Rapid City SD.

Jackie J. Grebe (Zens), 59, passed away in her home in Rapid City on Dec. 17, 2014.

Jackie was born on June 18, 1955 in Redfield, SD to Darwin and Arlene Zens. She graduated from Redfield High School in 1973. In 1985 she made Rapid City her home.

She was a life-long cook and a jewelry manufacturer for the last 20 years. Her greatest joys came from spending time with her grandchildren. She was an active and dedicated member of the American Legion Auxiliary.

Jackie is survived by her husband, Ed Grebe; children, Nathan (Hope) Rose, Daniel (Becky) Rose, Brandi (Jody) Strasburg, Jason Algeo, and Alisha Grebe; siblings, Deb Zens of White River, Mary Beardemphl of Redfield, Lori Zens of Rapid City, Scott Zens of Redfield, Denise Solheim of Frankfort, Brian Zens of Redfield, and Christine McCord of Crosby, TX; and her grandchildren, Dalton Genzlinger, Avery, Ethan, Brady and Aria Rose, Dillon & Logan Rose, Victoria, Alexis and Kevin Algeo, and Kaitlyn Kerns.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Darwin and Arlene Zens, and her brother, Kevin Zens.

Funeral services will be held at 11am on Monday, December 22 at Kirk Funeral Home, with visitation held one hour prior to the service. Burial will follow at Black Hills National Cemetery, near Sturgis. A luncheon will be held at the American Legion in Box Elder, immediately following the burial.

The family would like to thank The Cancer Care Institute, Home Health and Hospice of the Hills for all the love, care and support during Jackie’s courageous battle with cancer. Throughout her final months, she remained a brave, strong willed woman.

We would like to thank Jackie for her years of unconditional love and kindness. Jackie taught us to be non-judgmental and caring of others. We are all better people for having her in our lives. She will be greatly missed.

Bill Zahn (2015)

Click here for a link to a slide show of photos of Bill.

The following is courtesy of Thelen-Hyke Funeral Home.

William "Bill" Milton Zahn

Born: August 09, 1955
Died: December 22, 2015

William (Bill) Milton Zahn, left to be with his parents, brother, and best friends on December 22, 2015 after a brief battle with cancer, with his sisters at his bedside in his Los Angeles, CA home.

A memorial service for Bill will take place at Thelen-Hyke Funeral Home, in Redfield on Saturday, May 28, 2016, at 11:00 am. Family will be present for visitation one hour prior. His ashes will be interred next to his parents and brother at St. Mary’s Cemetery, in Aberdeen, SD.

William was born on August 9, 1955 in Aberdeen, SD. Bill was the youngest of five children to Alta Belle (Pulse) Zahn and Joseph Anton Zahn of Redfield, SD. Bill graduated from Redfield High School in 1973. During high school, he received the distinct honor of being selected as a vocalist for America’s Youth in Concert and performed with other members from across the nation as they toured throughout Europe. He attended the University of South Dakota where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1977. Bill studied applied music (choral and instrumental) and theater. Bill was a member of the elite USD Madrigal Chamber Singers and was a prominent member of USD’s Strollers, winning several trophies throughout his college career. Bill collaborated with many local theater productions in the Vermillion and Yankton area during college.

After graduation, Bill moved to Los Angeles, where he performed in various theater productions and sang in commercials. Bill’s beautiful and talented voice was always in demand for weddings and celebrations. Bill worked for the University of California Los Angeles as a Registrar and for the McGuire Group, a human resources firm. Bill’s talent, charisma and people skills allowed him to change the lives of many people.

Bill loved his family and friends, and loved to travel. Travelling and visiting with Bill was always an adventure where laughter was inevitable, mandatory and memorable. His smile was infectious, mischievous, and brilliant. He possessed a manner, grace, and kindness attained by few.

Bill is survived by his sisters: Brigitta (Dale) Diede of Mission Hill, SD, Suzanne (Loren) Beard of Harrisburg, SD, and Jane (Cliff) Jensen of Lockport, NY. He is survived by eight nieces and nephews: Wayne (Marlene) Rames, Tami Johnson, Nick Diede, Shaleen Allen, Gentry (Tiffany) Jensen, Dru (Charlene) Jensen, Brodie (Jon) Sorlie and Shzahni Jensen. He is also survived by sixteen great nieces and nephews and five great-great nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, parents, infant brother, Joey, and his three best friends Jeannie Clausen Jacobs, Randy Swedeen, and Pammy Nielsen Boline.

Ione (Stellmacher) Matson (2019)

The following is courtesy of Rudes Funeral Home - Brookings SD.

Ione Patricia (Stellmacher) Matson
Born: August 07, 1954
Died: December 28, 2019

Ione P. Matson, 65, of Brookings, SD passed away Saturday, December 28, 2019. No Services are planned at this time.

Ione Patricia Stellmacher was born August 7, 1954 in Aberdeen, SD the daughter of Ivan W. and Catherine (Movery) Stellmacher. She grew up and attended school in Redfield, SD graduating from Redfield High School.

Ione was united in marriage to Guy Matson on September 30, 1988 in Huron, SD. They moved to Brookings in 1993.

Ione was employed at the Neighborhoods at Brookview in Brookings, SD for 22 years. She loved working with the senior citizens.

Survivors include her husband Guy Matson of Brookings, SD; one daughter, Patricia Kant of Sioux Falls, SD and one grandson, Xavier Kant of Sioux Falls, SD.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Katherine and Ivan.

Ione’s family would like to thank Brookings Home Health and Hospice for the special care they showed Ione.

Dennis Becker (2020)

The following is courtesy of Eidness Funeral and Cremation Services (Brooking SD)

Dennis Alan Becker

Dennis (Denny) Becker, 65, of Brookings, passed away on Wednesday, December 16, 2020, at the Brookings Hospital. Private family funeral services will be held on Tuesday, December 22, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. at Eidsness Funeral Home in Brookings. The service will be live streamed on the Eidsness Funeral Home website for those wishing to view the service from home. A public visitation will be held on Monday, December 21, 2020, from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. at Eidsness Funeral Home.

Dennis Alan Becker was born on July 3, 1955, to Arlo and Illa Mae (Miller) Becker at Redfield, South Dakota. Denny grew up on a farm dubbed “Porkchop Hill” west of Redfield throughout his youth. He attended school in the Redfield school system and graduated high school in 1973. During his time in high school, Denny enjoyed participating in wrestling on the high school team. Following his graduation, Denny attended Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota, graduating in 1977 as a music major. It was at NSU that he met his soulmate LuAnn (Gracee) Moen. They married April 9th, 1977. To them God gifted them with a son, Jeremy (Bubba) Becker, and later in life God gifted them with an adult daughter who is known as their heart daughter, Amber Perez (Tony).

Denny began working at the Hendricks Nursing Home in Hendricks, Minnesota following his time at NSU. He also worked at South Dakota State University, beginning in 1980 and ending in 2011, when he retired due to illness. As a second job Denny loved refereeing and umpiring high school football and adult softball league for 25 or 30 years, and many years as a referee for the adult volleyball games.

Denny and his wife LuAnn (Gracee) are longtime members of the First United Methodist Church in Brookings, participating in many adult classes and Denny also volunteering on the music committee.

After retiring from reffing and umping, Denny particularly loved watching adult softball until his health began to decline. He was also an avid Green Bay Packers fan and Yankee fan. Although he enjoyed his beloved sports, perhaps his greatest joy in life was spending time with his family. Denny was especially born to be a grandpa and father. He had sooooo much love and pride in his kids and grandkids. One of Denny's granddaughters is nicknamed JC Bear since she was a baby. One of Gracee's terms of endearment for Denny was Honey which she changed to Honeybear after JC Bear. Denny always broke into a big grin everytime he was called Honeybear. He loved it.

Denny is survived by his wife of 43 years, LuAnn “Gracee” Becker; his son, Jeremy Becker (fiance Angel Hallan, Gabe and Tucker); daughter Amber Perez (Tony); grandchildren: Aerin Walsh, Grace Walsh, Liz Walsh, MaKayla Harwood, Brooklynn Millman, Ryann Kay Millman, Joplyn (JC Bear) Millman, Sway Millman, Oakley Millman, Waylon Millman, Everly Grace Perez, and Danica Perez; sisters: Pam Weikum, Dawn Waldner, and Denise Ashline.

He is preceded in death by his father, Arlo Becker; mother, Illa Mae Becker; his father-in-law Sylvester Moen, mother-in-law Leona Moen; and a brother, Dale Becker, and brother-in-law Bill Ashline.