Patricia Ann (Wilts) Ainsworth

August 4, 2022Obituaries
Patricia Ann (Wilts) Ainsworth

Patricia Ann (Wilts) Ainsworth was born on December 1, 1948, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Wilfred and Frances Wilts. She joined older brothers Jim, LeRoy, and Jerald on the farm just west of Sioux Falls. Sister Barb and brother Wendell joined their family soon after. The family moved to a farm near Chancellor, SD where the kids got into all sorts of mischief. They loved it when their many cousins would visit and the shenanigans increased!

Patty attended elementary school at District 90 Country School where her Aunt Bernice Wilts was the only teacher of grades 1-8. Having your aunt as your teacher, for such a talkative little girl, had many perks; but it also meant her parents heard about EVERYTHING that happened during the school day.

Patty attended Lennox High School, and in 1965, she married Russ Surdez.  Together, they lived in many towns across South Dakota, Oklahoma, the Philippine Islands, and Montana. Russ and Patty welcomed three children together – Wendy, Todd, and Tracy. In 1977, Patty married Stan Ainsworth and welcomed his two daughters – Jen and Becky – with open arms. Two years later, baby John completed their family of eight.

Patty loved people and spent her life serving others. Her upbeat and welcoming personality made everyone feel welcome and cared for. No one was ever a stranger, because Patty would take the time to get to know you and before you knew it, you were part of Patty’s Pack! Her infectious laugh drew people in. Her Pack was huge, due in part to the 27 years she and Stan owned Margie’s’ Dinner Club in Spearfish, then ran the food and beverage at the Spearfish Canyon Golf Club and later at the Hillsview Golf Course in Pierre. In recent years, you could find her at the Silver Spur restaurant in Fort Pierre, working alongside her son Todd, making friends with all who walked through those doors!

Patty was a very generous person. She was grateful for the many blessings in her life and loved sharing with others. She and Stan hosted many ‘free will offering’ Thanksgiving dinners at Margie’s’ with the proceeds going to the Shriners Hospital. They also hosted numerous dinners for the Spearfish Spartans and Black Hills State athletic teams, as well as contributed to their programs.  Patty loved to stay active and explore Pierre on foot. During the last summers before she became ill, she would walk 12-15 miles per day. For each mile she walked over the summer, she would donate $1 to someone in need.

Patty loved to travel with her family and siblings (especially when her sister Barb would design the itinerary with every detail covered). Whether it was a quick trip to Deadwood, a flight to California, Las Vegas, Iowa, or Denver, or even a cruise to Alaska, Patty was up for the adventure and made friends wherever she went.

Patty showed up…for graduations, weddings, funerals, family reunions, birthday parties, kids & grandkids events, and tying blankets for Project Warm-Up!  She even talked brother Jerry into flying to California one year and they both showed up in clown costumes to surprise sister Barb on her birthday! Wherever Patty showed up, her joy, her laugh, her generosity, and her willingness to help lit up the room.

Patty passed away peacefully on Thursday, July 28th after a 3 ½ year battle with cancer.

Grateful for a lifetime of wonderful memories are Patty’s children Wendy (Lance) Jorgensen, DeWitt, IA; Todd (Maia) Surdez, Bradenton, FL; Tracy (Todd) Vik, Canton, SD; Jennifer (Robb) Byington, Rapid City, SD; Rebecca (Kelly) Wolfe, Castle Rock, CO; John (Brittnie) Ainsworth, Spearfish, SD. Grandchildren Mallory (Todd) Kruse, Kaitlin Vik, Dalton Jack, Spencer Young, Kelsey Opitz, Haley Vik, Madison Opitz, Ali (Tyler) Hanson, Chase Opitz, Abby Surdez, Jacob Byington, Riley Wolfe, Aiden Surdez, Taylor Ainsworth, Logan Wolfe, Devyn Ainsworth, and Zane Ainsworth; as well as great-grandchildren Keaton Kruse, Justin Gurule, Rilyn Brown, Jack Rieffenberger, Clara Kruse, Brooklyn Rieffenberger, and Quinn Hanson. Sharing the memories are siblings LeRoy (Carol) Wilts, Jerry Wilts, Barb (Greg) DeVille, Wendell (Denise) Wilts, stepbrother Rodney Klinghagen and stepsister Barb (Chuck) Stewart and their families.

Patty was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Stan Ainsworth, her parents Wilfred Wilts and Frances Wilts, stepmother Bernice Wilts, brother Jim Wilts, stepsisters Gloria Steever and Darlene Klinghagen, stepbrother Roger Klinghagen, grandson Andrew Jorgensen and granddaughter Frankie Jack.

The family has established the Stan and Patty Ainsworth Memorial Scholarship at Black Hills State University to honor Stan’s alma mater and their love of BHSU Yellow Jacket Athletics. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made out to the Stan and Patty Ainsworth Memorial Scholarship.

A celebration of Patty’s life will be held on Saturday, August 20th in Sioux Falls. Details coming soon.

Arrangements are under the care of Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapels and Isburg Crematory of Spearfish. Online condolences may be written at