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Donavan and Velma Dachtler

Donavan and Velma Dachtler

Donavan and Velma Dachtler


- April 29, 2019

Donavon Earl Dachtler was born near Sturgis, SD, on the family ranch on September 7, 1930, to William and Katherine (Young) Dachtler.  Donavon was the 5th of the 6 Dachtler boys and was raised on the ranch by his father to be a strong, loving man. 

     Velma Mae Van Cleave was born in Miller, SD, on October 3, 1935, to Leroy and Bessie (Stinson) Van Cleave.  Velma was also the 5th of the 6 Van Cleave children.  She was raised to enjoy life and was close to her siblings.

     Donavon attended and graduated from Sturgis Brown High School in May 1948. After graduating, Donavon continued to live at home and work with his Father on the family ranch.  In March 1952, Donavon was drafted into the US Army and served during the Korean Conflict.  He served until December 1953, and upon his honorable discharge, he returned to the family ranch to work with his father and brothers.

     Velma attended school in Miller, SD, through the 8th grade.  Rather than attend high school, Velma chose to become a waitress while they lived in Miller and then after their move to the Black Hills.

     In November 1960, they each met the love of their life.  And so, Donavon and Velma were married February 5, 1961, at the First Presbyterian Church of Whitewood.  From that time forward, Donavon and Velma were devoted to each other and their families.  Donavon and Velma were blessed with 4 children; William Leroy “Bill,” Elizabeth Ann “Beth,” Cindy Lou, and Carol Dawn. 

     After becoming a husband and father, Donavon continued to work on the family ranch, however he also decided to become a Logger, “wood hound” in the Black Hills.  By the mid 1960’s, Donavon was driving a logging truck full time and left the ranching to his brother.  Velma proudly became a full-time wife, homemaker, and mother.

     All of their children and many of their nieces and nephews remember riding in the truck and camping out on the logging sites Donavon worked throughout the Black Hills.  Having been raised to be a hard worker with a strong work ethic, Donavon continued to drive his logging truck until he retired in his late 70’s.  Velma was by his side, supporting him and riding in the truck with him throughout his career.  She worked diligently to provide their children, nieces and nephews, and the neighborhood gang with a loving home to grow up in.

     Donavon and Velma valued their work ethic but balanced it by emphasizing “family time.”  They provided weekend fun by camping at area lakes and encouraging their children to pursue their own interests in life.  Both Donavon and Velma developed an avid interest in whatever extracurricular activities their children or grandchildren chose to participate in.

     Donavan Earl Dachtler, 88, died Thursday, April 18, 2019, at Sturgis Regional Hospital.

     Velma Mae Dachtler, 83, died Sunday, April 28, 2019, at her home.

     Donavon was briefly survived by his beloved wife, Velma of Whitewood, SD. 

     Grateful to have shared their lives are their son, Bill (Kathy) of Whitewood; their daughters, Beth (LaVerne) Hermanson of Rapid City, Cindy Cihak of Avon, SD, and Carol (Don) Strachan of Rapid City; grandchildren, Donavon Dachtler of Rapid City, Kyle Dachtler of Rapid City, Sarah Adam of Rapid City, Kela (Lehi) Tonga of Sioux City, IA, Joe Adam of Rapid City, Marshall Cihak of Avon, SD, Tyler Strachan of Rapid City, Nick Jacobs of Rapid City, Jeremy Jacobs of Rapid City, Adam Burke of Spearfish, Eric (Gaby) Burke of Sturgis, and Bryan (Marie) Hermanson of Rapid City; 3 additional step-grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.  They are also survived by Velma’s aunt, Marie Gartner of Kadoka; a special niece, Lila (Larry) Wallace of Sturgis, SD, as well as many other cousins, nieces and nephews.

     Donavon was preceded in death by his parents, William and Katherine Dachtler; sister, Meddill Gruidel; and 5 brothers, Harold, Maurice, Lloyd, Lowell, and Gail Dachtler.

     Velma was preceded in death by her parents, Leroy and Elizabeth “Bessie” Van Cleave; 3 brothers, Robert, Darell, and Arthur Van Cleave; and 2 sisters, Betty Droppers and Evelyn Cochran.  Donavon and Velma were also preceded in death by their son-in-law, Tim Cihak.

     Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, at Kinkade Funeral Chapel in Sturgis.

     Funeral Services for Donavan and Velma will be 11:00 a.m. Thursday, May 2, 2019, at First Presbyterian Church in Whitewood, SD, with Pastor Jil Jennewein officiating.  Interment, with military honors, will be at 2:00 p.m. at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

     A memorial has been established to First Presbyterian Church in Whitewood.

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



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