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Theodore "Ted" Pettyjohn
Theodore Pettyjohn
- March 13, 2018

Theodore "Ted" Pettyjohn, age 89, of Kadoka, South Dakota, died on Friday, March 9, at the Kadoka Nursing Home.

Services will be held in the Presbyterian Church in Kadoka at 10:30 AM on Thursday, March 15.

Interment will be at the Frying Pan Family Cemetery.

Ted was born in Murdo, SD on October 4, 1928 to Alfred and Clarissa Pettyjohn. He spent his childhood south of Kadoka on the Frying Pan Ranch and attended school at home, the Wells Community School and Kadoka High School where he graduated in 1946. Ted married his sweetheart, Mary Dunham, in 1950 and they had five children.

He is survived by four of his five children; Brenda Pettyjohn, Ted C. Pettyjohn (Laurie), Zane Pettyjohn (Sharri) and Jana Eich; daughter-in-law Nancy Pettyjohn, sister Kay Pettyjohn, brother Dale Pettyjohn; 11 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Mary, son Fred, parents Alfred and Clarissa, sister Nona Prang and great-granddaughter Jaylee Dae Coller.

Ted was a hard worker who spent his life farming, ranching and moving houses. He began farming and ranching east of Wanblee in the early 1950’s then purchased a larger ranch south of Kadoka in 1959. He sold the ranch in 1980 and moved to Rapid City to concentrate on his house moving business that had been expanding since the Rapid City flood.

The house moving stories are too numerous to tell, but he was always looking for something that hadn’t been done. He would move anything from a small shed to a large brick building. If you have been in the area long, you have probably had to sit on the side of the road while he maneuvered under a power line or took up both lanes of the bridge. His children and most of his grandchildren worked with him and learned the value of hard work and perseverance.

Ted’s biggest loves were his family, flying and dancing.

Ted’s love of family went beyond the usual make up. He and Mary had five children, but there were always extras around. Whether it was a foreign exchange student from Brazil, a cousin visiting for the summer or someone who needed a little extra help, they were welcome. Ted was always a kid at heart himself and usually thinking of some kind of adventure like an all-night fishing trip on the White River or pulling an old bed springs behind the pick-up as a sled. He was also good at teaching kids how to drive—stick shift only.

If you talked to Ted for any length of time, you could guarantee he would talk about flying his Piper Cub. He loved to fly over the country and you wouldn’t be surprised if he set it down just to visit when he spotted you. He enjoyed giving rides to whoever would take the offer and maybe giving them a scare if he thought they were up for some aerobatics. He, Mary and their young granddaughter, Melissa, would fly a Cessna 182 around the Midwest for business or to visit family and friends. When he could no longer fly on his own, his son Ted made sure he got to ride in the Cub once in a while. His grandson, Sauntee, great-granddaughter, Jerica and husband Danny took him for a plane ride just a few months ago. That brought him great joy.
Few men have loved to dance more than Ted. If there was a good band playing within a day’s drive he would be there dancing until closing time. He was a good lead and would dance with anyone who would accept, no matter what their skill level was. He claimed it was dancing that kept him alive to the age of 89.

Ted loved animals and was especially good with dogs. From his childhood companion, Buster, his coon hounds Jebo and Yoi Yoi, to Buffy and Jake, both of whom found him on the Reservation, he was rarely without a dog. In honor of the rescue of his beloved Buffy and Jake from the Pine Ridge Reservation, a memorial in his name has been established at the Oglala Pet Project.

Ted was a generous, loving man who will be missed very much by his family and all the many friends he has made far and wide. His sense of humor and seemingly endless stories about his life adventures will bring us a smile when we need it most. His love of life and family continues on through the generations.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to Oglala Pet Project. Cards and memorials may be mailed to:
Ted Pettyjohn
2348 Carter Drive
Rapid City, SD 57702


Arrangements are with Rush Funeral Home of Kadoka.

Phone number: 605-347-4455
E-mail: info@kbhbradio.com
Address: 1612 Junction Avenue, Suite #1
Sturgis, SD 57785