John E. Kangas, 81, of Mitchell, SD, died peacefully Wednesday, November 18, 2020 in his home under hospice care. Funeral services will be 2:00 PM Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at Bittner Funeral Chapel. Burial will be at New Home Lutheran Cemetery in rural Mitchell. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at Bittner Funeral Chapel. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.
John E. Kangas was born in Kingston, MN, to Roy and Marian Kangas. As the son of a creamery manager, John and family moved several times in Minnesota. In 1952, the Kangas family moved from Minnesota to a farmstead south of Ethan. After High School, John enlisted in the SD National Guard and was honorably discharged after his 4 year commitment. In 1961, the Kangas family moved bought a dairy farm south of Mitchell. John always wanted to be a farmer and was a great joy in his life. He met and married Shirley Louderback of Sundance, WY, in April of 1962 and resided at the Kangas Dairy Farm. Here they welcomed three daughters; Connie, Deanna and Nancy, into the family. In 1977, the family moved to Wessington Springs for John to manage K & E Implement. After an implement fire, the family moved to Custer, SD, to become the shop foreman at Murner Chevrolet. In 1988, John accepted the position as Haakon County Extension Agent for 15 years and retired in 2003. He enjoyed working with the 4H kids and judging projects and assisting the ranchers in the area. After retiring, John enjoyed working as a handy man in and around Philip. In 2018, John and Shirley moved back to Mitchell to be closer to family.
John was the recipient of the Young Farmer of the Year Award in 1969. He served on countless committees, 4H boards, Philip City Council, and was the Chair of the Philip Airport Board. John had a lifelong love of animals of all kinds, but especially dogs.
John is survived by his wife, Shirley (Louderback), Mitchell, SD; daughters, Connie (Lee) Dougan, Wessington Springs, SD, Deanna (Mike) Hananel, Marina Del Rey, CA, Nancy (Kent) Wietgrefe, Mitchell, SD; grandchildren, John (Melissa) Dougan, Chester, SD, Hope (Clay) Wenzel, Wessington Springs, SD, Adam Wietgrefe (Travis AFB, Davis, CA), Luke (Kenzie) Wietgrefe, Aberdeen, SD, Jason Hananel, Marina Del Rey, CA and Joshua Hananel, Marina Del Rey, C; 6 great-grandchildren, Ben and Carson Dougan, Chester, SD, and Cole, Chase, Crew and Hanna Wenzel, Wessington Springs, SD; siblings, Glenn (Marles-deceased) Kangas, Bemidji, MN, Mona (Pete) Erickson, Plankinton, SD, Gail (Faye) Kangas, Rapid City, Jerry-deceased (Fran) Kangas, Warrensberg, MO, Kristie (Rick) Musick, Houston, TX; and sisters-in-law, Dona (Darrell) Joy, Cannon City, CO, and Dean (Ardith) Louderback, Oberlin, KS.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Marian Kangas; sister-in-law, Marles Kangas, Bemidji, MN; and brother, Jerry, Warrensberg, MO.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be contributed to the SDSU Department of Agriculture.