Wayne Haerer, age 102, of Philip, formerly of Sturgis, South Dakota, died on Monday, December 25, 2023 at the Scotchman Living Center in Philip.
Funeral services will be held 10:00 a.m. Thursday, January 4, at the First Lutheran Church in Wall, with visitation one hour preceding the services.
Military graveside rites will be held 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 4, at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.
Wayne Fredrick Haerer was born July 19, 1921, along with twin brother Wallace Earnest Haerer, the son of William and Minnie (Shoemaker) Haerer of Ottumwa, South Dakota, in the Philip Hospital. Wayne was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod of Wall, South Dakota. He grew up on his father’s ranch with two brothers and a sister. When Wayne was four years old his mother passed away from diabetes and pneumonia. Wayne went to Pleasant Prairie Country School and later Pierre High School. When in his junior year in high school he and his twin brother joined the South Dakota National Guard 147th FA and in his senior year he would be called to active duty for WWII. He spent a year training in California and went sent to Pearl Harbor, South Pacific, New Guinea, and Australia. He spent five years and nine months and saw action in the South Pacific. He was with heavy artillery and equipment, loading and unloading soldiers and communications in the jungles.
After his discharge he became involved in ranching, and worked on various ranches in the Midland and Wall area and before purchasing their own place. On May 23, 1948, Wayne married Eldena M. Foster of Midland, and to this union were born four children: Wayne Dean, Jr., Bonna Faye, Darwin Dale, and Marla Marie. They made their home on their ranch, raising cattle and training horses. They later moved to Sturgis after his retirement.
He and Eldena were good dancers and also enjoyed square dancing. They enjoyed rodeos and watching their children participate. They travelled to many states and visited Alaska twice.
Wayne is a life member of the VFW of Rapid City, and the Wall American Legion. Wayne was so honored to take part in the World War II Honor Flight to Washington, DC.
In 2019, Wayne and Eldena moved into the Scotchman Living Center in Philip, where he has since resided.
Those left to mourn his passing include his wife Eldena; four children Wayne Haere Jr. and his wife Nancy of Green Valley, Arizona, Bonna Fortune and her husband Roger of Quinn, Darwin Haerer and his wife Betty of Wall, and Marla Sherburne and her husband Jim of Minnesota; eight grandchildren Bryan, Holly, Heather, Cory, Dar, Jr. Mindy, Joshua, and Jennifer; sixteen great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren McCrae, Reiney, Braxten, Ryker; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Wayne was preceded in death by his parents; two grandchildren Marty and Darcy; two great-great-grandsons Brace and Paxton; two brothers Russell and his twin brother Wallace; and a sister Dorothy Bosanco.