Cherry Lee Gravatt Denke

July 20, 2021Obituaries
Cherry Lee Gravatt Denke

Cherry Denke, age 70, of Philip, South Dakota, died on Monday, July 19, 2021 at the Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital in Philip.

Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, July 22, at Rush Funeral Chapel in Wall.

Funeral services will be held 10:00 a.m. Friday, July 23, 2021 at First Lutheran Church in Wall with Pastor Christopher McCarthy officiating. The service will be live streamed and can be viewed from this webpage when it begins.

Private family interment will be held at the Elm Springs Cemetery.

Cherry Lee Gravatt Denke was born October 13, 1950, in Rapid City, South Dakota to Jack and Dorothy Gravatt of Wasta. She joined her twin brothers, Larry and Jerry, who asked where the other one was. Her brother, Barry, joined the family eleven years later.

Cherry attended grade school in Wasta and in 1964 her family moved to Elm Springs, South Dakota to take over her grandparent’s (Art & Blanche Moor) ranch. Her grandparents moved to Wasta, and she lived with them while attending high school in Wall where she graduated in 1968.

Cherry attended SDSU and St. John’s School of Nursing, during which time she met her future husband, Bryon Denke. Byron was working in Elm Springs for Mary Ann Wilson. They were married June 5, 1970, and continued working for Mary Ann another two years. In 1972 they moved and worked for Zeta White on her ranch near Buffalo, South Dakota. In 1974, they purchased Bryon’s parents’ family farm and ranch. They continued to live there until 2019 when they moved to Philip, South Dakota due to health issues.

At the age of 25, Cherry was baptized and confirmed into the Lutheran faith. She was a lifetime member of the First Lutheran Church in Wall where she was a faithful member. Cherry taught church school many years, was a member of the Phoebes, served on the church council, and worked on many committees. Her church and church family were a very important part of her life.

Her greatest pride were her two children, Monte, born in 1983, and Stacey, born in 1985. She and Byron were 4-H leaders and as a family they enjoyed many 4-H activities together. She worked with her own children, many of the neighborhood children, and enjoyed it very much.

Cherry was also active in the school and community. She served on the school board and as an advisor for the F.S.A. board for nine years.

Cherry worked side by side with Byron through their farming and ranching years. She loved working with the cattle, her sheep, and putting up hay, and then being able to pass the knowledge on to her children.

Survivors include her husband, Bryon, of 51 years; two children, son, Monte, of Quinn, and daughter, Stacey, of Rapid City; nephew, Robin of Rapid City, whom she and Byron helped raise; three brothers Larry Gravatt (Peggy) of Elm Springs, Jerry Gravatt (Alyn) and Barry Gravatt (Val) both of Rapid City; brother-in-law, Marvin Denke, of Philip; two sisters-in-laws Delores Denke of Pavillion, WY and Dora Jean Denke of Wisconsin; two “sister/cousins” Robin (Nick) Feller and Kitty (Leon) Monke; and many other nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Cherry was preceded in death by her parents Jack and Dorothy Gravatt; her in-laws, Reinhold and Rose Denke; eight brothers-in-law and five sisters-in-law.

A memorial will be established in her name.

Arrangements are with Rush Funeral Home of Wall.