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LaVonne Lee Ackerman

LaVonne Lee Ackerman

LaVonne Lee Ackerman, 80, of Rapid City, SD, died Tuesday, February 6, 2024, at Monument Health Sturgis Hospital.
Memorial services will be 10:00 a.m. on Monday, February 12, 2024, at Canyon Lake United Methodist Church in Rapid City, SD. Services will be livestreamed at www.kinkadefunerals.com<https://us-east-2.protection.sophos.com?d=kinkadefunerals.com&u=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5raW5rYWRlZnVuZXJhbHMuY29tLw==&p=m&i=NjUxZDkzZDg2ZDFiOGQwZDM4NmVkOTcx&t=V0tDRGR0anp2bnhZbXBYcE1sTkd3L3FBdVpzK1EwNXhtUjM4TS82aGtqcz0=&h=aab4f6418f5148619aec67f8ce42124c&s=AVNPUEhUT0NFTkNSWVBUSVZ0UwW8YK7Hf0SLsQnNf2mEtdCVA60a7i0uscZcMQS-NA>.
Inurnment will be 1:00 p.m. at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, SD.
LaVonne Lee Whitman was born December 26, 1943, in Sturgis to Ernest and Madeline (Shummer) Whitman in a maternity hospital operated by a Catholic doctor. She joined older sister Gloria, and they were was raised in Sturgis by their mother and large extended family after their father passed away when Vonnie was 8 years old. Vonnie graduated from Sturgis High School in 1961. After graduation she started college in Laramie, WY, and later transferred and graduated from Northern State College in Aberdeen, SD.
She married Robert (Bob) Allan Ackerman in 1968, at Grace Lutheran Church in Sturgis, SD. They moved to Webster, SD, where she taught high school English, and while living in Webster she also commuted to Benson, MN, to teach. They had a son, Larry in 1972, and he passed away in 1973. They then moved to Burlington, IA, where she worked in social services. A daughter, Carrie, was born there in 1974, and then the family moved to New Jersey, where Bob worked as an engineer in a water treatment facility and Vonnie worked as a case manager in a nursing home and started work toward her Master’s Degree. Vonnie and Carrie would spend summers in Sturgis and Aberdeen with family – and during this time Vonnie went onto obtain her Master’s degree from Northern State College in 1977. The family moved back to Aberdeen in 1981, where her husband, Bob, took over the family welding supply business and Vonnie worked alongside him in administrative positions.  During this time, Vonnie and a business partner started Baskets Unlimited, which continues to operate under different ownership today. Vonnie then began working with the Even Start program, an early children education center in Waubay, SD. They later moved to Lead where they built a large log cabin-style home which they operated as a bed and breakfast. She was also working for the Meade County School District.  When Bob’s health declined due to Parkinson’s, they moved to Rapid City in 2001, where she has lived ever since. She worked at Youth and Family Services as a counselor and later, as a drug and alcohol counselor at Wellfully.
The couple enjoyed traveling and visited all of the US states including Alaska and Hawaii, along with other countries and continents such as Canada, Mexico, Asia, and Africa. They went on many cruises, often traveling with family and friends. As Bob’s Parkinson’s Disease and dementia grew more debilitating, Vonnie cared for him at home until he passed away in 2013.
Vonnie was active in many organizations over the years, such as: the local and national PTA, Girl Scouts, Black Hills Pioneer Society, DAR, PEO, Black Hills Pioneer Society, Hospital Auxiliary Board, and Canyon Lake United Methodist Church.
Vonnie would come to Sturgis several times a week, to visit the hair salon and to socialize and play Scrabble and Mahjongg with friends. She loved board games, cribbage, card games and knitting.  She spent her life learning politics, cultural learning, studying presidential history and the Civil War, and visiting Presidential libraries.
Vonnie is survived by her daughter, Carrie (Bill Stickney) Ackerman, and her dog, Bella; cousins: Bob (Mabel) Whitman, DeWayne (Diana) Hayes, Margaret Hayes, Joey Hayes, and brother-in-law Ivan Montgomery, and good friend Todd Hagadone.
Vonnie is preceded in death by her parents, Ernest and Madeline (Shummer) Whitman, husband, Robert Allan Ackerman, infant son, Larry Ackerman, sister, Gloria, and niece, Denise.
In Lieu of flowers memorials have been established to the Black Hills Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, c/o Nancy Tyron, P.O. Box 486, Piedmont, SD 57769-0486 or Shriners Hospital for Children, 2900 Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, FL 33607.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.kinkadefunerals.com.

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