William L. Severns

October 15, 2021Obituaries
William L. Severns

William L. Severns of Spearfish, SD passed away peacefully on October 13, 2021, with loving family at his side after a long journey struggling from the effects of Parkinson’s Disease with Lewy Body Dementia.

Born May 24, 1944, in Chicago, Illinois to Roger L. Severns, Sr. and Margaret Lauritzen Severns. Will grew up and attended school in Chicago. In 1949 the family purchased a log cabin home on Strawberry Hill outside of the city of Deadwood, SD where they spent every summer.

After graduation from high school, Will received a full scholarship to Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He graduated with a B.A. in History in 1966 and earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1969 from the University of Chicago Law School.

He was admitted to the South Dakota Bar Association and U.S. District Court in 1969 and decided to move to the family cabin and begin his career in Deadwood. Will practiced law in Deadwood and served as City Attorney of both Deadwood and Central City. He was appointed as a Magistrate Judge and served in Deadwood, Sturgis, Custer, Hot Springs, and finally in Rapid City where he retired in 2009. In 2019 Will was recognized by the State Bar of South Dakota for fifty years of valuable and meritorious service and was a life-long member of the SD Bar Association.

Will had a variety of interesting hobbies. He was an actor in The Trial of Jack McCall in Deadwood, SD. He played every role except for Calamity Jane and Alkali Ike. He was a jazz music enthusiast. He loved listening to live jazz during his time in Chicago and he would also visit New Orleans to listen to live jazz played by his childhood friend George Finola. He had an extensive collection of jazz records from the 20s, 30s, and 40s. Will also enjoyed photography. He was almost always behind the camera taking photos or videos at family gatherings, at events for his children and grandchildren, and on family vacations. He loved to document and organize the special memories for his children and grandchildren.

He was involved in many civic and church activities. He was a past Exalted Ruler and lifelong member of the Deadwood Elks Club, a member of the State Historical Society, Past-President of the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Deadwood Jaycees and supported Deadwood History, Inc. Will was baptized and raised in the Episcopal faith. He served on the Vestry of St. John’s Episcopal in Deadwood and taught Sunday School. After his marriage, he joined the Catholic Church and served as a Lector, Eucharistic Minister and Greeter/Usher. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus at St. Patrick’s in Lead.

Will was introduced to Linda Weiers Hanken by her brother and sister-in-law at the Deadwood Elks Club. Linda and Will married in 1980 and he became a loving and dedicated father to Karie. In 1985 Kathryn (Katie) was born. He loved his family and was filled with pride and joy whenever he spoke of his girls and his six grandchildren.

Will is deeply loved and will be greatly missed by his surviving family; wife, Linda; daughters, Karie Hanken Kinney, Kathryn and her husband Erik Simonyak, and six grandchildren; Jordyn Sacrison, Jesse Sacrison, AJ Kinney, Ava Kinney, Charles Simonyak and William Simonyak all of Spearfish; brother-in-law; Larry and his wife Ruthie Weiers, Spearfish, and nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his special family friends Douglas and Patricia Braidwood and family of Virginia Beach, VA. He was preceded in death by his parents; Roger L. Severns, Sr. and Margaret L. Severns; brother, Roger L Severns, Jr. and infant son, Michael Severns.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Spearfish on Tuesday, October 19th at 2:00 PM with visitation beginning at 12:30 PM. Burial in Lead, SD at Holy Cross/Mountain Lawn Cemetery will be at 11 AM on Wednesday, October 20th.

Arrangements are under the care of the Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapels and Isburg Crematory of Spearfish. Online condolences may be written at http://www.fidler-isburgfuneralchapels.com