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Corsica, Stickney music teacher 'connected well with the kids'

Michael Nepodal

STICKNEY -- A former Corsica and Stickney music teacher who died Friday was described as "a fun-loving, laid-back guy" and someone who "connected well with the kids."

Michael Nepodal, 54, died of cancer Friday at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls. His funeral was held Wednesday at the Stickney High School gymnasium.

Stickney Superintendent Bob Krietlow said Nepodal was battling throat cancer for about three years.

"He was very, very musically inclined," Krietlow said Wednesday afternoon. "He would write and compose some of his own music. He had excellent musical knowledge, and the kids learned a lot from him as far as music goes.

"He was demanding and he expected them to perform and perform well. He put out a very good product for small schools."

Nepodal -- who also taught in Bonesteel-Fairfax, Gayville-Volin and Armour -- last taught in Stickney during the 2012-13 school year, Krietlow said. That year was cut short for Nepodal because of his diagnosis.

"We shared him back and forth between Corsica and Stickney in teaching band and instrumental music," Krietlow said. "Off and on, he's been here for 15 years in Stickney, and he was in Corsica longer than that."

According to his obituary, which published in Tuesday's edition of The Daily Republic, Nepodal began teaching in Corsica in 1985. He is survived by his wife, Mona, his parents, Benjamin and Betty, five children and two stepchildren.

"He was a nature lover who loved to fish, swim in the river and watch thunderstorms," his obituary reads. "He also enjoyed watching movies, drawing cartoons and joking with others, but the greatest of his loves was spending time with his family."