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Verne R. Lotz

Verne R. Lotz

Verne R. Lotz

- April 27, 2019

Verne R. Lotz (also known as Verne Sheppard) passed away April 26, 2019 in Rapid City SD.

Verne was born in Sheridan, Wisconsin, February 14, 1926, son of Ella and Robert Lotz. In 1937 the family moved to Waupaca, Wisconsin where Verne attended school, graduating in 1943. Verne served in the U.S. Air Corps from 1944 to 1946, flying in the South Pacific as an airplane radio operator. After leaving the Air Corps, Verne attended Central State University in Steven’s Point, WI and Radio training school in Minneapolis MN. Then he worked as a radio announcer at stations in Minneapolis, Fargo ND, Cedar Rapids IA, and Steven’s Point & Green Bay WI.

In 1950 Verne accepted a position in Rapid City SD with KOTA radio. He was radio announcer, television show host, Farm-Ranch Director, sports announcer, and country music DJ for KOTA for 37 years. Verne then was announcer on Tom Brokaw’s radio station, KTOQ in Rapid City, for 10 years. Verne continued his radio career by joining Tom Rudebusch to broadcast South Dakota School of Mines games for 10 years. During his broadcasting years, many prominent people were interviewed by Verne, at the radio station studio, at remote locations, and on his noon-time TV show, Party Line. Entertainment celebrities included Red Skelton, Dale Evans, Art Linkletter, Lawrence Welk, and Henry Fonda. Sports figures included Joe Lewis and Nolan Ryan. Verne also interviewed Malcomb Forbes, Harry Reasoner, and Ronald Reagan. Verne’s all-time favorite interview was with a survivor of the Rapid City flood of June 9, 1972. During the flood Verne was a voice of calm on the radio. For many years on Valentine’s Day (his birthday) Verne visited residents of area nursing homes.

Country music, covering sports, and promoting agriculture were his life. Verne’s morning radio show with Bob Laskowski was a favorite with listeners. Among the many awards that Verne cherished were inductions into the South Dakota Hall of Fame, Black Hills Stock Show Hall of fame, and Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame, and receiving the South Dakota Broadcaster of the Year Award. Verne was a very busy Life Member of Elks Lodge #1187, often recognized as Elk of the Month and Elk of the Year. He was a long-time member of the Methodist Church, serving as lay minister. Verne married Donna Jaehn in June 1951 in Waupaca WI. They raised two children, Becky born in 1953 and Bob born in 1956. Verne & Donna hosted many tours to Hawaii, Alaska, and Europe, where they made many life-long friends. Verne was preceded in death by his wife Donna, son Bob, his parents, sister Helen, and brothers Bob, Allen, & Edwin. He is survived by his daughter Becky & her husband Stephen Ingraham of Denver CO.

A Celebration of Life for Verne will be held at the Elks Lodge #1187, 3333 Jolly Lane, Rapid City on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 2:00pm.

To contribute to the Verne Lotz Memorial Fund, benefitting Elks Lodge #1187, please send donations Payable To: Elks Lodge 1187 (on check memo line, please write “Lotz Memorial”). Address: Elks Lodge 1187, 3333 Jolly Lane, Rapid City, SD 57703.

Phone number: 605-347-4455
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: 1612 Junction Avenue, Suite #1
Sturgis, SD 57785