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BV Challenger obituaries: 4/24

April 23. 2013 10:42AM
John Nels Geisler, 83
Memorial services for John Nels Geisler, 83, of Valley Springs, were held Saturday, April 27, 2013, at Messiah Lutheran Church, Murdo. Inurnment was in the Murdo Cemetery.
Mr. Geisler died Monday, April 8, 2013 at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Sioux Falls.
John Nels Geisler was born Nov. 25, 1929, in Pasadena, Calif., to Arthur John “Dick” and Vivian Christine (Petersen) Geisler. The family lived in Bell, Calif., where his father ran a feed store. During his childhood, John began a lifelong love of movies at the three local theaters where admission cost a dime.
In February 1942, the metal rationing of World War II led to the closing of the store in Bell. The family moved to a farm in Blunt, S.D., during a blizzard. In 1945 the Geisler family moved to Murdo to operate the John Deere and Chevrolet dealerships. For his high school education, John boarded at Northwestern Lutheran Academy in Mobridge. His college education was interrupted when he served his country as a cryptographer in Korea, in the Army 1903rd Engineer/Aviation Battalion. Following his honorable discharge from the Army in 1953, John collected antique cars from across the Midwest. His father told him, “John, you have to do something with those cars,” and in 1954 John, his father, Dick, and brother Dave, opened the Pioneer Auto Museum with 25 cars on display in a single building.
John eventually received his bachelor’s degree from Concordia College in Seward, Neb. He held many jobs during his lifetime: service station attendant, copper mine employee, elementary school teacher, social worker, Pinkerton security guard, postal worker, pilot car driver and antique dealer. He most enjoyed his time in the Army and the years he spent exploring the Midwest on trips to locate antique cars for the museum.
John married Betty (Fortier) Queen Nov. 9, 1965, and gained a daughter, Cathie. Daughter Johanna was born in November 1966. After attending graduate school at the University of Minnesota, John and his family moved to Murdo to be near family and the Pioneer Auto Museum. In 1985 John and Betty returned to Murdo.
In 2002 John and Betty moved to Sioux Falls and later Valley Springs to be near their daughters and grandsons, and to have access to advanced medical care. Both John and Betty faced a number of health issues in the last decade. Starting in 2009, John went through several rounds of treatment for thyroid cancer. After a brief, acute illness in late December 2012, he entered the hospital and then the hospice program at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Sioux Falls.
Mr. Geisler was a member of Messiah Lutheran Church in Murdo and attended First Lutheran in Valley Springs.
He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Betty (Fortier) Geisler, Garretson; two daughters, Cathie (Johnnie) Littles of Sioux Falls, and Johanna (Mark Dykstra) Geisler, of Valley Springs; three grandsons, Corwin and Rune Dykstra of Valley Springs, and Lee Littles of Sioux Falls; sister, Roma Bunch of Irvine, Calif.; brother, David A. (Leila) Geisler of Murdo; nieces, Vivian (Jeff) Sonder, Patty (Donald) Tyus, Jennifer (Bryan) Kaiser, Lisa (Larry) Williams; and nephews, Eric (Janet) Staudenbaur and David M. (Ann) Geisler.
John was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Vivian Geisler.
For the full obituary and online condolences, go to
Neal Scadden, 77
Funeral services for Neal Scadden, 77, of Valley Springs, will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 26, 2013, at First Lutheran Church, Valley Springs. Visitation begins at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 25 at George Boom Funeral Chapel in Brandon. Family will greet friends from 5 to 7 p.m.
Mr. Scadden died Saturday, April 20, 2013, at Tuff Memorial Home in Hills, Minn.
Neal Raymond Scadden Jr. was born to Neal Sr. and Alice (McDaniel) Scadden May 5, 1935 in Murray, Iowa. He grew up and received his education there and then moved to Valley Springs.
Neal was united in marriage with Sandra Den Herder on July 24, 1954 in Luverne, Minn. The couple made their home in Valley Springs and had one son, Curtis. Neal owned and operated a construction business for many years before retiring, and loved working with his grandson, Jeremy.
Neal loved Valley Springs. He was proud of the time he served with the Valley Springs Volunteer Fire Department, joiningg the organization Jan. 1, 1960. Neal served as Assistant Fire Chief starting on Feb. 3, 1964, and became Fire Chief in 1972, serving in that capacity until retiring on Jan. 25, 1997 after 37 years with the department. Neal also served on the Valley Springs City Council and as Mayor of Valley Springs for many years.
He enjoyed playing cards andlooked forward to going out on Saturday nights with his friends, Alvin and Laverne. Above all, he cherished his grandchildren and especially his three great-granddaughters.
He is survived by his son, Curtis (Paula Enright) Scadden, Valley Springs; three grandchildren, Jeremy (Michele Johnson) Scadden, Nicole (fiancé Eric Johnson) Swanson and Shane (Brianna) Scadden, all of Valley Springs; three great-grandchildren, Shyanne, Savannah and Chloe; three siblings, Jim Scadden and Jerry Scadden, both of Denver, Colo., and Karen Lindsay, Murray, Iowa; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Neal was preceded in death by his wife, Sandra, on Dec. 21, 2012; his parents, Neal and Alice; and two siblings, Donna Kay and Arvid.
Gene H. Swanson, 66
Memorial services for Gene H. Swanson, 66, of Valley Springs, were held Tuesday, April 23, 2013, at Heritage Lutheran Church, Brandon, with Full Military Honors following.
Mr. Swanson died Friday, April 19, 2013, at the Dougherty Hospice Home in Sioux Falls, from the effects of Agent Orange.
Gene Howard Swanson was born Dec. 5, 1946, in Sioux Falls to Howard and Dorothy (Rollag) Swanson. He was raised and educated in Valley Springs and graduated from Brandon Valley High School in 1964. He attended the University of South Dakota until his enlistment in the U.S. Army in 1966 for Vietnam. Upon his return and discharge in 1968, he resided in California for approximately three years. In January 1970, Gene married Reene Van Beek. After experiencing a couple of earthquakes, Gene and his family returned to Valley Springs, where he worked for Bauma Construction and the Brandon Lumber Company before starting as the maintenance superintendent for City of Valley Springs in 1977. Gene mowed grass and plowed snow for 18 years before he retired due to health issues. He also served on the Valley Springs Volunteer Fire Department for 20 years, including several as chief. Gene met his sweetheart, Kathy Tupy, and in 1998, they were married at the Beaver Valley Lutheran Church.
Gene loved to read, hunt, fish, golf, follow Nascar, old cars and hotrods, riding and trial racing motorcycles, playing cards and travel. He was a lifetime member of the S.D. Fire Chief’s Association, Valley Springs Fire Department, Valley Springs American Legion, V.F.W. Three Rivers Post 4726 of Brandon, and Spirit of Truth Lutheran Church.
Gene is survived by his wife, Kathy; five children, Owen (Deanna) Swanson, Valley Springs, Zach Swanson, Currie, Minn., Sony (Nate) Swanson, Garretson, Sarah (Donn) Loe, Willmar, Minn., and Kevin (Delena) Tupy, Brandon; 12 grandchildren, Taia, Curtis, Dominik, Danny, Savannah, Tyler, Molly, Gavin, Caitlin, Dustin, Maxwell, and Reyna; a brother-in-law, Larry Lape, Valley Springs; two special nephews; and one very special friend and second mother to Gene, Etoyle Aljets.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established.
For the full obituary and online condolences, go to

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