Harry H. Jepsen, age 93 of Flandreau, passed away peacefully surrounded by family members on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 in McAllen, TX from complications of the Covid-19 virus.
Harry Henry Jepsen was born May 31, 1927 to Harry T. and Anna (Vockrodt) Jepsen in Alliance Township, Moody County, South Dakota. In 1931, the family moved to an acreage southwest of Pipestone, Minnesota. He spent his youth helping on the farm. He attended District 22 Country School and graduated from Pipestone High School in 1945. Harry was drafted into the U.S. Army, but joined the U.S. Navy instead and was sent to San Diego. He was assigned to the USS Prairie DD870, a destroyer repair ship, where he was a water distiller operator - making sea water drinkable. He was stationed in China before he was discharged in 1948. Harry was proud to be a World War II veteran.
He returned to the Pipestone area and worked on the farm with his dad and helped neighbor farmers. He met Lavonne Niemann and their 70+ year romance began. At one time, he also worked at Wenzlaff Auto and was a route driver for the Armour Egg Company.
The couple was married September 25, 1949 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Jasper, MN. The farm life always called to him and the couple lived on a rented farm with no indoor running water near the Jasper/Ihlen, Minnesota area. In 1961 they took a leap of faith, purchased a home with 360 acres and brought their children to live east of Flandreau to see if they could make crops and livestock grow in South Dakota. They lived and farmed there for 30 years before semi-retiring and moving into Flandreau in 1991. Harry and Lavonne wintered in the “Valley” area of South Texas for 42 years where they met a new family of friends they treasured greatly.
Harry was a farmer through and through. He loved the land and through his faith, he knew God had a hand in making his crops grow. After moving to town, he returned to the farm several times a week, and even in recent years, he was still advising during spring planting and fall harvesting.
He was a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Flandreau, the Moody Post 3351 of the VFW, Kelley-Porter American Legion Post 70, Honor Guard and a former member of the Farmers Union. He enjoyed playing cards (was stellar at Pitch), watching Twins baseball, golfing, pitching horseshoes, restoring old clocks and sewing machines, tinkering on his old vehicles and tractors and going to the Prairie Village Steam Threshing Jamboree. At age 85, he restored/rebuilt his 1929 Ford pickup. He also enjoyed growing his garden in town.
He was first and foremost a loving husband, Dad, Grandpa andOpa. His family meant the world to him and they will miss his quiet grace and his well-thought through words of wisdom, which he was still giving out while ill. He simply loved his Lord, his family and the land.
Survivors include his wife of 71½ years: Lavonne; five children and their spouses: Carolyn (Dale) Johnson, Flandreau; Jo (Tom) Landis, Garretson; Jim (Susan) Jepsen, Flandreau; Mary Lynn (Mike) Headrick, Flandreau and Lisa (Merlin) Knutson, Sioux Falls; 10 grandchildren: Stacey Jo Landis of Sioux Falls, Andrea (Scott) Hemmer of Dell Rapids, Daron Johnson of Sioux Falls, Amber (Mark) Hoffman of Flandreau, Drew (Jen) Headrick of Colman, Jared Johnson of Sioux Falls, Wes (Leah) Jepsen of Baltic, Kimberly (Kyle) Niemann, Kelsey (Drew) Cosand and Katelyn (Ben) Fiegen, all of Sioux Falls; 18 great grandchildren: Tathan, Karter, Ryker, Connor and Fallyn Headrick; Ethan, Ella and Evan Hoffman; Anya and Quinn Hemmer; Tegan and Brayden Johnson; Natalie, Arthur and George Niemann; Jace Jepsen; and Ellie and Theodore Cosand; three sisters: Delilah Davis of Brookings, Joyce (Jim) Furubotten of Pasco, WA and Jackie (Gordy) Davis of Bovey, MN; and brothers and sisters-in-law.
He was preceded in death by his parents, three grandchildren: Kelly Jo Landis, Chad Johnson and DaLyn Johnson; his brother: Bobby; his sisters: Dorothy “Dode” McRae and Betty “Betz” Erickson; and many, many other relatives and friends whom he loved.
Visitation will be held at Skroch Funeral Chapel in Flandreau on Friday, May 7 from 5-7 p.m. with a 7 p.m. Prayer Service. His funeral service will be 10:30 a.m., Saturday, May 8 at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 508 W. 1st Ave., Flandreau. Burial with military honors at Union Cemetery, Flandreau, will follow.