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Robert Eugene Speelman

Robert Eugene Speelman

Robert Eugene Speelman, age 83, of Mitchell, SD (formerly of Alexandria, SD) died Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at Avera Brady Health and Rehab. Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 AM Saturday, March 10, 2018 at St. Mary of Mercy Catholic Church in Alexandria with burial and military rites at St. Mary of Mercy Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM Friday, March 9, 2018 at St. Mary of Mercy Catholic Church in Alexandria with a prayer service followed by a rosary service beginning at 7:00 PM. Arrangements are under the direction of the Will Funeral Chapel.

Robert Eugene "Gene" Speelman, son of Robert and Cecelia (Kirsch) Speelman, was born February 2, 1935 in rural White Lake, SD. He graduated valedictorian from White Lake High School then enlisted in the Air Force in 1955. He was trained in California and played semi-pro football for the Air Force. He was stationed at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, IL.

Gene served as a hospital corpsman/medic. He was battlefield trained to set up M.A.S.H. units in wartime. Gene received "Airman of the Month" several times.

Gene was united in marriage with Patricia Jarding on September 25, 1957 at St. Mary of Mercy Catholic Church in Alexandria, SD. He continued to work as an Air Force medic until 1959, when the couple moved back to rural Alexandria, SD, where they raised their children on the family farm.

He was a member of St. Mary of Mercy Catholic Church, the Farmers Union, Knights of Columbus and the church choir, where he sang and assisted the organist, Pat. Gene was a founding board member of the Hanson Rural Water System and a board member of the county committee, Hanson County A.S.C.S. for several years.

Gene enjoyed woodworking and remodeling home construction. His last big project was moving a house from Alexandria to Lake Hanson for Pat. Family and friends continue to enjoy "Patti's Place."

Some of his greatest pleasures in life were listening to his wife play the organ and piano, watching football, gardening, especially planting his straw bale gardens and crocheting pot holders, hats, scarfs and afghans. He sent many baby hats to the hospital nursery for their newborns.

Grateful for having shared his life are his three children, Dan (Linda) Speelman, Minneapolis, MN, Rose (Russell) Comp, Presho, SD, Mary Jane (Mike) Schuh, Elk Point, SD; eight grandchildren, Jeremy Walker, Alex Kraatz, Daniel (Noel) Doliff, Jesse (Amber) Comp and their children, Olivia and Everson, Lee (Amy) Comp, Liz, John and Grace Schuh; brother, Charles Speelman of New Albany, OH; sisters, Caroline (Rich) Sahli of Aberdeen, SD, Mary Freeman of Elk Point, SD; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Pat on August 18, 2015; his parents; and a sister in infancy.