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Ruben Semmler

Ruben Semmler, 94, at Tripp Good Samaritan Home on January 8, 2014. Ruben was born near Corsica, SD on October 12, 1919.

He was the 9th of 12 children born to Frederick and Christina (Smearer) Semmler. He married Catherine Baer of Ipswich, SD, on January 3, 1944. The couple settled in the Tripp/Parkston area where they farmed. Ruben was seriously injured and nearly died in a tractor accident in 1970. He recovered and continued farming until lingering complications from the accident forced him to retire in 1979. The couple then moved to Heritage Square Apartments in Parkston. Catherine died in 2003 and Ruben remained in Parkston until he moved into the Good Samaritan Home at Tripp in late 2011.

The couple raised three children: Veronica Granger, a retired nurse in Longmont CO; Maryann Eklund who along with her husband, Russell, own a general contracting and real estate business in Great Falls MT; and Leo Semmler, a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant who along with his wife, Bunny, raise quarter horses near Watertown SD. Ruben has four grandchildren: Julie (Daegal Tsang) Eklund, Douglas (Dani) Eklund, Danielle (Brent) Honsbruch, and Michelle Semmler. He also has two great-grandchildren: Saskia Tsang and Zachary Tsang.

Ruben served in the Army from 1941 until 1943, including 18 months in Australia during the Japanese attacks on Darwin. Ruben took pride in being a good farmer who diligently cared for his crops and livestock. He was good with his hands and could build and repair almost anything. He also enjoyed riding spirited horses. Upon retirement, Ruben excelled at several hobbies including playing pool, macram, rattlesnake hunting, and counted cross stitch. Ruben completed more than 240 counted cross stitch projects in a 17-year period despite the fact he was color blind. Recently he was asked what he was most proud of in his life. He said, "My three kids and what they've accomplished". Friends and family will remember Ruben for his great sense of humor. He was always telling a joke or humorous story from his childhood, and was never above instigating a good practical joke. Ruben was preceded in death by all eleven of his brothers and sisters, which, by the way, was one of his goals.

A memorial service will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Parkston at 10:30 am on Monday, January 20th. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Ruben's name to Farm Rescue at or 1-701-252-2017. They are a non-profit organization that assists family farmers, who have suffered an injury or illness, with planting or harvesting their crops.