Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station
Vance Ray Hawley

Vance Ray Hawley

Vance Ray Hawley, a beloved son, brother, husband, father, and friend, passed away on February 12, 2024, at the age of 39 at Monument Health in Rapid City. Vance was born in Rapid City, SD, on February 15, 1984, to Connie Lou Haines and Roger Ray Hawley. Vance’s life was defined by his devotion to family, his love of ranching, and passion for athletics.

When Vance was 16 months old, he moved with his parents and sisters (Michelle and Donee) from Sturgis to Spearfish, where he spent his childhood. From his earliest days, Vance displayed extraordinary athletic ability which would shape much of his life. Vance began his wrestling career at the age of six. Twice during grade school, he placed 2nd in the state at the South Dakota AAU youth wrestling tournament. He joined the varsity wrestling team as an 8th grader and placed at state multiple times.

Vance also found success on the soccer field. At the age of 13, he was enlisted to play on a soccer team with much older players, and the next year, the team won state with Vance playing in various positions. Vance also became a standout running back for his high school football team and was selected to the All-State Team his Senior Year. He thrived under the pressure of a high stakes game, and crowds loved watching him.

Vance soon found another calling in both the tranquility and adventure of life on the ranch. He spent his senior year of high school on his Aunt Roxie and Uncle Squeak’s ranch near Maurine, SD. There, Vance discovered a deep love for ranching and the tight-knit community it fostered. His cousins, Dale, Colt, and Riley quickly became his brothers. Ranch life would have to wait, however, because Vance’s talent on the football field earned him a scholarship to Northern University.

After college, Vance started a successful career in the coal mines in Gillette, WY. His love for the ranch, however, continued to draw him back each spring to help his aunt, uncle, and cousins with calving season.

In 2009, Vance’s life took a new direction when he fell in love with Shalyn Marie Kennedy. Their friendship, love, and shared vision for their future blossomed into a lasting partnership, and they were married on July 13, 2012.

He and Shalyn went on to start a family of their own. Tailyn Marie was born on February 28, 2014, and Taze Ray followed on September 9, 2015. Vance and Shalyn desired to raise their children in a community they knew and loved. They decided to make their life on the Kennedy ranch alongside his father-in-law, David. Vance already loved ranching, but David gave him the tools he needed to become successful. He pursued new knowledge on the ranch with the same tenacity as he showed on the field and was a fast learner.

Vance embraced his new role as a husband, dad, rancher and coach. His dual devotion to his new livelihood and family shined as he applied his newfound skills with his kids always by his side. He loved raising his kids on the ranch, giving them a lifestyle that most people don’t have the privilege to experience.

Vance was his children’s biggest cheerleader and fan. Whether it was a basketball game, flag football, or rodeo, Vance was always on the sidelines with words of advice and encouragement. Vance also found joy coaching his children in AAU wrestling, where his passion for sports merged with his love of family. Whether on the mat or on the ranch, Vance’s presence was a source of inspiration for his kids and to others around him.

Vance will be remembered for his ability to relate to and care for any child, but especially his own. Kids could see his heart, and they were drawn to him. As a devoted father and husband, Vance was present for every aspect of his family’s lives. As a friend, he was always the first to respond if someone was in need. He was quick to lend an ear or a helping hand.

His loving and passion-driven spirit now lives in his friends’ and families’ hearts.

Vance is survived by his beloved wife, Shalyn; children, Tailyn and Taze; his parents, Roger and Connie Hawley; sister, Michelle (Kyle) Atchley and their two children; sister, Donee (Nate) Wilson and their two children; father-in-law, David Kennedy; mother-in-law; Tina Kok; and multiple brothers- and sisters-in-law and their children; many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

He is preceded in death by his grandparents, first cousin/brother, Riley, and first cousin, Michelle Hawley, and multiple extended family members.

Funeral Services were held Saturday, February 17, 2024, at the Faith Community Center Faith, South Dakota

A memorial account for Vance’s family has been established at First National Bank in Faith SD.



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