WESSINGTON SPRINGS — Lee Butterfield, 78, of Wessington Springs, SD passed away December 31, 2012 at Immanuel Hospital in Omaha, NE. Funeral services will be Friday, January 4th at the Foothills Bible Fellowship at 10:30 am with Pastor Don Grubb officiating. Visitation will be Thursday January 3 from 5-7 at the church with a prayer service at 7:00 pm. Burial will be in the Hope Cemetery.
Lee was born January 6, 1934 to Ernest Benjamin (“Jim”) and Thelma Sophia (Hopley) Butterfield. He lived on the Marshall place and the Peterson Ranch (formerly known as the Traylor Ranch) before moving to his current farm with his family in 1944.
Lee attended 1st through 4th grades at Beadle School (near the Hasz Ranch) and 5th through 8th grades at Templeton School. He attended his first two years of high school at Wessington Springs High, and his junior and senior years at Ag School in Brookings, where he graduated in 1951.
In 1954, the US Army drafted him into compulsory service. He attended basic training at Fort Riley, KS and Fort Bliss, TX. Lee’s military service was during the Korean War, but his training as a radar and surveillance specialist allowed him to stay stateside, stationed at Castle Air Force Base in Modesto, CA. The Army wanted him to re-enlist after his compulsory service ended, but his love for South Dakota and his farm brought him back home in 1956.
Lee married Alta Marie Buchholz (daughter of Albert and Opal) on November 20, 1959 at the Harmony Friends Church in Harmony Township, Jerauld County. Not one much for pomp and circumstance, Lee insisted that only the pastor, parents, two attendants and pianist attend the service. Unto this union, two children were born: Joe Lee and Rita Jane. Lee and Alta lived on the Butterfield farm until 2002 when they moved to town.
Lee loved his grandkids, and enjoyed watching their activities. He rarely missed a Minnesota Vikings or Minnesota Twins game on the TV or radio. He was very involved in reviving the Owls baseball team in Wessington Springs in the 1980s. He was also instrumental in helping pass the bond issue to build the current Wessington Springs Elementary school and gymnasium.
Most of all, Lee loved his farm and his cattle. He used to say not one day went by that he got out of bed and dreaded going to work. He was a simple man who lived life on his own terms. He will be fondly remembered by his family and many neighbors and friends.
He is survived by his wife, Alta, of Wessington Springs, 2 children: Joe (Dawn) of Huron, SD; Rita (Mike Black) of Omaha, NE, and 7 grandchildren: Tarryn (Adam Korkow), Tacy Jo, Terrek, and Taya Butterfield all of Huron, and Logan and Lexie Black of Omaha. He was preceded in death by two infant sons, his parents, his sister Phyllis Frank, and his two brothers Alan (Bud) and Lyle.
For the complete article see the 01-03-2013 issue.
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