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Benjamin "Ben" Radcliffe

Benjamin "Ben" Radcliffe

Benjamin "Ben" Radcliffe, age 98, of Huron, died Tuesday, May 13, 2014, at the Huron Regional Medical Center. His funeral service will be at 10 AM, Friday, May 16th, at the First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Mark Holland, officiating. Private burial will be in the Tulare Cemetery. There will be no visitation. The family prefers memorials. Arrangements are under the direction of the Kuhler Funeral Home. Visit

Benjamin H. Radcliffe was born December 21, 1915, to Oliver N. and Emma (Olson) Radcliffe at Wolsey. He attended Sand Creek Elementary School at Wessington. He came of age during the worst years of the Great Depression and graduated from Tulare High School in 1933.

He joined the newly established Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933 and earned badly needed dollars doing building projects on public lands in the Black Hills and Arkansas.

In 1935, Ben married Dorothy Simons and the couple headed for California. After a couple of years work as a farmhand, he began a new career as a foreman at the Governor Gold Mine near Lancaster, California.

Ben, Dorothy, and their four year old daughter Dona returned to South Dakota, where they purchased a family farm in Spink County near Tulare. Two more daughters, Barbara and Linda, were born there.

In the 1940s, he began his long association with the Farmers Union. Ben was one of the few Democrats elected that fall of 1954 to the South Dakota House of Representatives.

When he retired at the 1981 Farmers Union state convention, he was presented with a framed proclamation by Governor William Janklow declaring October 26, 1981, to be Ben Radcliffe Day in South Dakota.

Bens early retirement years were clouded by the illness and death of his wife, Dorothy in 1987. Later he married Del on March 5, 1988, at Huron.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Dorothy in 1987; his second wife, Del in 2013; one daughter, Linda Stephens in 2011; two brothers, Amos Radcliffe and Max Radcliffe; and two sisters, Vera Price and Ruth MacNeil.

Grateful for having shared in his life are his two daughters, Dona and Wayne Hansen of Mt. Vernon and Barbara Blaedorn and Roy Carlson of Huron; one son-in-law, Floyd (Ole) Stephens; three step-daughters, Lynne Schultz of Tulare, Crystal and Anthony Benning of Madison, and Rosemary and Mel Wieting of Minneapolis; one step-son, Alan and Lynn Foglesong of Houston, Texas; six grandchildren, Craig (Bonny) Hansen, Debora (Jeff) Dragseth, Richel Henkel, Neal (Kendra Brown and son Dominick) Blaedorn, Mark (Tracy) Stephens, and Kari Peterman; seven great-grandchildren, Robert (Alyson) Hansen and their daughter Carlee, Kelsey Hansen, Eric (Mandy) Dragseth, Mike (Angela) Dragseth, Chloe Dragseth, Kelly Henkel, Andrew Henkel, Benjamin Blaedorn, Malle Stephens, Kylie Stephens, Amber Peterman and daughter Kinley, Ryan Peterman, and Lane Peterman; and one brother, William Radcliffe of Lake Havasu City, Arizona.