Berwyn Svoboda

Berwyn Wayne Svoboda, 94, Vermillion, died Friday, Feb 15, 2019 at Avera Sister James Care Center, Yankton. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 2, at United Church of Christ, Vermillion, with the Rev. Steve Miller officiating. A viewing will be held at the church on Friday evening, March 1, from 6 to 7 p.m. Arrangements are under the direction of Hansen Funeral Home, Vermillion.

Berwyn was born to Jim and Tillie (Duba) Svoboda on July 23, 1924 in Eagle, SD. Berwyn was the youngest of four siblings, sister DeLonde and brothers, Wally and Howard. Tillie died in 1936 when Berwyn was 12. His father then moved the three boys to California to get out of the dust bowl. Berwyn graduated high school in California, caught a bus, and returned to South Dakota. He lived and worked with his older sister, Delonde, and her husband, Emmet Healy, on a farm near Pukwana, SD. He played on the Chamberlain city baseball team in his twenties and early thirties. He met his future wife, Mildred Louella Hade, at a baseball game while she was attending nursing school in Mitchell. They married in 1947 and had four children; son Wayne, and daughters Joyce, Mary Susan, and Janet.

Berwyn and Mildred lived and worked on farms in the Chamberlain area and bought a farm/ranch in 1962 north of Reliance, SD. They also became members of a cattle grazing association. In 1974, they purchased a farm in Burbank, SD to have a more reliable water supply for growing crops. After a long run at farming and ranching they retired, sold the farm, and moved to a home in Vermillion.

Berwyn became an ardent supporter of the USD Coyotes after moving to town. As his children, we don’t know what caused this and reminded him all four of us were SDSU Jackrabbits. He just grinned and carried on as usual. He was also a lifelong Democrat serving as the head of the Clay County Democratic Party for several years and working tirelessly on many campaigns.

Berwyn loved his family, playing baseball and later golf, hunting (especially geese), politics, playing cards, dancing and being involved in life and fun. Usually the instigator of practical jokes, he loved a good laugh and welcomed all to participate.

He is survived by a son, Wayne and wife Mary, Fond du Lac, WI.; and two granddaughters, Diana Hoelscher and husband, Mike and children, Michael III and Zachary, Fairway, KS; Kristina Stokes and husband, Robert and children, Ethan and Emma, Minnetonka, MN; and grandson, Dan Svoboda and wife, Rebecca, Waunakee, WI; and daughters, Joyce Svoboda, Rochester, MN; and Janet Sharp and husband, Auddie, Merriam, KS.; step granddaughter, Sundy Sharp and her son, Dax, Amarillo, TX.

Berwyn was preceded in death by his parents, siblings, wife, Mildred, and daughter, Mary Susan.

In lieu of flowers the family asks for donations to the American Heart Association in Berwyn’s name.

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