Harold Flatmoe, age 93, of Meadow, SD, passed away at his home on Saturday, December 2, 2023 near Meadow, SD.
Funeral services for Harold will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 9, 2023 at the Coal Springs Community Church south of Meadow, SD. Pastor Jess Harkins will officiate with burial to follow in the Chance Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, December 8, 2023 followed by a family and friends service at 7:00 p.m. all at the Coal Springs Community Church.
Harold Gordon Flatmoe was born in Lemmon, SD on February 16, 1930 to Christopher and Petra (Kornstad) Flatmoe with a midwife attending the birth. He joined four older siblings, Hanna, Ingrid, Clara, & Iver, and was the first Flatmoe born on American soil as his family had immigrated from Oppdal, Norway to Perkins County, SD in 1929.
Harold was brought home to his grandma and step-grandpa Gustafson’s home near Coal Springs, where the family was living in humble conditions while they got their start in this new country. Harold loved his Grandpa Charlie Gustafson. He was Grandpa’s shadow. Perhaps it was Charlie’s quiet, mellow demeanor that made such a lifelong impact on Harold’s own personality. The family lived on a variety of places within the Coal Springs Community, until they purchased a piece of land and started their own farm about a mile from the Coal Springs general store.
Brother, Kenneth, completed the family in 1936. That year also found Harold starting his formal education at the Coal Springs School. Most of his years, Harold walked 2 ½ miles to school. In the early years, it was a struggle to keep up with his long-legged siblings. While book learning was never high on his list of priorities, Harold always remembered the recess shenanigans that took place with the Martin, Falch, and Cazier kids. It was a simpler time of life with the school play days in Bison and the community picnics being highlights that everyone anticipated.
Harold and Verna Martin were the 8th grade graduates from the Coal Springs School in the spring of 1944. That summer he worked for Joe Gebhart, by the end of the summer he had earned $100. He started high school that fall in Lemmon, but his school career was cut short when he returned home at the end of the first semester to help his dad with milking the cows while his mother recuperated from leg surgery. Never one to shy away from hard work, Harold spent the next several years working for area farms and ranches. Some of the people that he worked for included: Arnold & Ingrid Gebhart, Irvin Munyon, Ole, Robert & Olaf Lensegrav, Joe Crockett, & Ed Hall. He was a hard worker that was willing to do whatever he was asked. One of his more interesting jobs was when he and Bobby Munyon trailed 100 head of lambs from the Coal Springs Community to the Stockyards in Faith. They slept on the ground for two nights and really had a time of it to get the lambs to cross the Moreau River.
At this time, Harold took a break from farming and ranching and turned his attention to truck driving and road construction. He worked for C. H. Lein hauling gravel and oil on Highways 20, 73, 212, and 85. He also worked as a mechanic’s assistant during the construction of the Oahe Dam at Pierre. His wages ranged from $1/hour to $1.25/hour.
The Korean War was going on and Harold figured that he would probably get drafted so at the age of 21 he joined the Navy. Although willing to serve, after four weeks at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center he returned home with an honorable medical discharge. He was welcomed back by the love of his life, Lillian Rosenau.
With a love for farming and ranching deep in his roots, he returned to the Coal Springs area and rented the Miller place which was located about 2 miles north of Coal Springs. On August 21, 1955, Harold & Lillian were married at the Coal Springs Church and began their lifelong dream of farming and ranching and raising a family. In 1959, they bought the Elvia Veal place. Later they added the neighboring Kermit Ogdahl place to their farm.
The 1960’s brought four children to the family: Bruce (1960), Brian (1963), Barbara (1966), and Rebecca (Becky) (1969). The next six decades were filled with lifelong lessons about God, family, community, and work that will never be forgotten by his children and the grandchildren and great grandchildren that came in the later years.
Harold started his spiritual journey as a young man when he and Lillian attended a Lundstrum Crusade in Lemmon. When the alter call was given, Harold went forward. Harold is quoted as saying “I will always remember that night when I accepted the Lord as my personal Savior, and it changed my life.” Harold lived his faith each day. He was a dedicated member of the Coal Springs Community Church. He raised his family in church and when the church doors were open the family was present. Morning devotions were a part of starting each day. Even in these last few years, he and Lillian would pray for kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews and anyone else who needed prayer each morning.
Harold worked hard to provide for his family. In the early years, he moved haystacks for the neighbors for $5/haystack. Cash was always in short supply, so the cream check from the milk cows was always appreciated. Harold loved the land and taught his children to do the same, teaching both his sons and his daughters the value of a hard day’s work.
Community was also very important to Harold. Through the years, he, Bruce, and Brian developed a life-long passion for restoring antique tractors. In the 1990’s, after a lot of talk about starting a local antique show, a local club was formed of which Harold was a charter member. Harold loved the Coal Springs Threshing Show and enjoyed spending time in the building that housed the Flatmoe collection. He also spent several years serving on the Rancher’s Camp Board, the Chance Township Board, and the Board of Directors for the Lemmon Co-op.
Harold was a Norwegian and proud of his heritage. Even though Lillian was raised in a German household, she quickly adapted and learned how cook all the Norwegian food that the family enjoyed (and continues to enjoy) each year at Christmas time. When his grandchildren were young, Harold loved to teach them to say cute little Norwegian phrases that he remembered from his childhood. In 2008, Barb and Becky convinced Harold and Lillian that they needed to take a trip to Norway to see where his family roots had come from. The trip turned into a family affair with Harold, Lillian and all four of their kids going along. The trip was an incredible time of seeing where both of his parents had been born and raised and where his parents had lived on the “Flatmo” farm in Norway. Harold also had the opportunity to meet about 16 first cousins for the first time along with a host of other relatives.
Harold is survived by his wife of 68 years, Lillian; his children: Bruce (Kim) Flatmoe, Burnsville MN, Brian (Gloria) Flatmoe, Meadow, SD, Barbara (Pat) Clark, Meadow, SD, and Rebecca (John) Paul, Faith, SD; his grandchildren: Brett (Alyssa) Flatmoe, Tyler (Avery) Flatmoe, Annie (Tyrell) Ward, Sadie (Trevor) Conrad, Megan (Cody) Johnson, Abby (Braydon) Peterson, Macyn Flatmoe, Tayte (Emma) Clark, Trig (Jordan) Clark, Cassidy (Colton) Ward, Teigan (Lindsey) Clark, Iver (Audrey) Paul, and Everett Paul; 19 Great grandchildren; his sister, Clara Duncan and his sister-in-law, Charlotte Flatmoe.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Christ & Petra, his siblings: Hanna, Ingrid, Iver, and Kenneth; his granddaughter, Carrie; and a special sister-in-law, Ruth Rosenau.
A memorial has been established for the Coal Springs Community Church and the Coal Springs Community Antique Club.