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Eldon Herring

Eldon Herring

Eldon Herring


- July 2, 2020

Eldon Herring—teacher, agronomist, therapist, and patriot from the Greatest Generations—died on July 1, 2020, in Sioux Falls, SD.  Eldon was 104.

     Eldon Herring was born in 1916, in a prairie dugout on the banks of Mitchell Creek, southeast of Ottumwa, SD.  His mother Mathilde Berg, an immigrant homesteader from Ringsaker, Norway, met and married his father Elza Herring, a fellow homesteader.  Eldon, his two brothers and two sisters were born and raised on the prairies of South Dakota.

     Eldon attended school, first in a one-room school near Ottumwa, then in Phillip for the upper grades.  His mother valued education and insisted that the family move to Piedmont so her children could attend high school.  Eldon, with his customary wit and a twinkle in his eye, would say, “I graduated high school third in a class of three!”

     At great sacrifice, Eldon’s mother made certain her two older boys, Eldon and Emory, attended college.  They both went to Southern Normal in Springfield, SD, and both earned teaching certificates.  Eldon taught several years at a one-room school in a logging camp in Moon, SD, near Newcastle, WY.

     In 1942, Eldon enlisted in the US Army Air Corps, patriotically serving his country during WWII until 1946.  He was one of the first airmen to be stationed at Ellsworth AB, SD.  Eldon served in all enlisted ranks, graduated from Officer Candidate School (OCS) and earned the rank of 1st Lieutenant.

     Also, in 1942, he met a cute redhead named Maxine from Two Bit Canyon near Deadwood.  They married in November, had a wedding lunch at the Franklin Hotel and Eldon returned to base.  Eldon and Maxine had three children—Shari, Joe, and Della.  Maxine died in 1987.

     After being discharged from the service, Eldon moved his family to Brookings, SD, to attend South Dakota State College where he received an agronomy degree.  He worked as a soil scientist with the Bureau of Reclamation in Huron, SD, and then moved to Sturgis where he worked for the Soil Conservation Service.  Eldon was a walking encyclopedia when it came to the landscape and soils of South Dakota.  He had been on so many farms and ranches across the state that a trip with him on Hwy 14 was an education for anyone traveling with him.  He walked many miles over South Dakota’s farm and ranch land, taking soil samples and then recording his findings on aerial maps.  During his journeys across South Dakota, he met farmers and ranchers, many of whom became life-long friends.

     Eldon later worked for many years as a Manual Arts Therapist and Supervisor at the Ft. Meade Veterans Hospital planting gardens, growing plants, and maintaining flower beds for the patients and staff.  Eldon loved and was very knowledgeable about grasses, plants, and trees.

     In 1990, Eldon had the good fortune to meet and marry a sweet and loving teacher from Newell, SD, Mary Huber, who had been recently widowed.  They had a wonderful life together, buying a new home, traveling and spending time with family.  Mary Herring predeceased Eldon in 2017.

     Eldon was always a Norsk Viking, taking great pride in his Norwegian traits and ancestry.  He loved his family, giving them his constant help, love, and support.  He loved his Grace Lutheran Church.  He loved his many friends who enriched his life.  He loved the Shriners Hospital for the care they give children with orthopedic conditions, similar to those his own child required.

     Eldon Herring is survived by his three children, Shari Kolbeck, Vermillion, SD, Joe (Ermie) Herring, Waldorf, MD, and Della (Larry) Browning, Brookings, SD; five step-children, Colgan Huber (Patti Weber), Bison, SD, Colette (Rob) Wheeler, Lemmon, SD, Kieran (Carmen) Huber, Rapid City, SD, Creden (Kristie) Huber, Sierra Vista, AZ, and Kenan (Teena) Huber, Spearfish, SD; five grandchildren, Theresa Kolbeck Codrea (Cornel), Thomas Kolbeck, Michael Kolbeck, Emily Browning, and Joseph Browning; nine step-grandchildren, Lyndsey Wheeler, Lucas (Lindsey) Wheeler, Kayden (Ashley) Huber, Kyler (Savannah) Huber, Karlee (Kyle) Dulude, Kensington Huber, Carsten Huber, Kayla Huber, and Tyler Huber; one great-grandchild, William Codrea; and two step-great-grandchildren, Ellie and Averie Wheeler; and three sisters-in law, Helen (Marlowe) Kinkade, Margaret Simon, and Gerry Chaloupka. 

     Visitation will be 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Monday, July 6, 2020, at Kinkade Funeral Chapel in Sturgis.

     There will be private family services with committal at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

     Memorial donations can be made to:  Eldon F Herring Scholarship Fund, SDSU Foundation: 815 Medary Ave. Box 525, Brookings, SD 57006  (Reference Eldon Herring's name)
     Condolences may be sent to the family at www.kinkadefunerals.com.



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