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Charles William Fillmore

Charles William Fillmore
Charles William Fillmore
- July 19, 2017

Charles William Fillmore, 80, Spearfish, died Tuesday, July 11, 2017, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Fort Meade.

Charles was born March 21, 1937, (Palm Sunday) in Spearfish to William Orlo and Lillian G. (Waterfall) Fillmore.  His father arrived at the (then) Methodist Episcopal Church in Spearfish to announce that his wife, Lillian, who was the choir director, had just given birth that morning to their fourth child, a boy.  Charles William had joined his three sisters, ages 7, 8, and 11.  The excitement ran high that morning as the family and their church family rejoiced over their new addition.

Charles was a happy, bright little tow head, with an infectious laugh, adored by his sisters, including his baby sister who arrived a year and one-half later, his parents, and the neighbors whom he visited regularly, charming them out of cookies and attention.  When he was in first grade, he talked his parents into getting him a Shetland pony, which he kept on a vacant lot close to his home.  Each day he would take the pony down to a stream a block from the house to water it.  One day, he tied the lead rope, with a slip knot, around the waist of his new bib overalls and tugging on the rope tried to take the pony back to the lot.  He just arrived there with him when the pony bolted and took off running back to the stream.  The boy bouncing along behind him must have frightened him as the horse kept on running, through the stream and two blocks later was stopped by a man who saw him coming.  Charles was unconscious for a week and his family gathered around him expecting the worst but praying for the best.  Many churches in Spearfish and other places held prayer vigils for his recovery.

He grew up in Spearfish, and after graduating from High School in 1955, he enlisted in the U. S. Army and served for three years, two of which he was in Korea.

While visiting his sister, Lin Falk, in Minneapolis on leave, he met Sharon Marie Helseth.  They were married there on June 14, 1958.  They moved to Spearfish and later to Rapid City where they bought a home.  Charles worked at odd jobs for a while before going into the Insurance Business.  In 1963, his company transferred him to the East River area of South Dakota.  They moved to Colome, SD, and later to Dallas, SD, where they lived until 1973 when they moved back to the Black Hills.

About a year later, Charles, Sharon and their three children, Barbara, William, and Kristi, moved to the Fillmore Mine near Tinton, SD, where Charles worked a sluicing operation for mining gold and precious metals.  The children caught the Spearfish school bus at Latchstring Inn (Savoy) and only missed school a few times when the snow piled up beyond what the road crew could handle.  The worst storm, over six feet, the county sent in a helicopter to bring them to Spearfish until the roads could be opened again.

Charles and Sharon worked on renovating apartments and trailers for a real estate group at Black Hawk for a couple of years.  Then she and her daughter, Barbara, opened the S & B upholstery shop in Whitewood around 1978.  Charles then started working in construction and heavy equipment as well as mining.  Charles and Sharon were divorced in 1982.  She died June 8, 1990, of colon cancer.

In 1985, a construction job took Charles to Sonoma, CA, where he met Marge (Margaret Dybdahl).  They were married September 3, 1988.

Retiring in 1991, Charles and Marge sold their home a bought a Fifth Wheeler and spent a year traveling.  They ended up at the Fillmore Mine as soon as they could get their trailer there in the spring of '92.

In 1993, Charles and Marge bought one of the houses that Homestake sold when expanding the Open Cut.  They had it moved to their property near the Fillmore Mine and rebuilt it into a comfortable and unique home.  Marge died in 1998.

He is survived by his three children, Barbara Diane Chellis, New Mexico, Kristi Kay Fillmore, Spearfish, and William Orlo (Nancy) Fillmore II, Spearfish; stepdaughter, Christen Amador and stepson, Richard Dybdahl, both of California; three sisters, LaEtta Heltibridle, Billie June Fillmore, and Sarah Buittner; and numerous grandchildren, step-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two wives; and one sister, Lineal Falk.

A memorial service will be held Monday, July 24, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. at LifeSpring Wesleyan Church in Sturgis.  Inurnment will be at a later date at the Fillmore Cemetery near Spearfish.

Condolences may be sent to the family at www.kinkadefunerals.com.



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