Ken Stephan, 80, Tolstoy, SD, died Thursday, September 7, 2017 at the Bowdle Hospital. Funeral services will be 1:00 PM, Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at the Tolstoy Wesleyan Church with Pastor Matt Pribyl leading the service. Interment will be 3:30 PM Tuesday at the Bowdle City Cemetery. Pianist will be Rhonda Strouckel and the congregation will sing “When We All Get To Heaven” and “In the Sweet By and By”. The Tolstoy Wesleyan Women’s Group will sing “I’ll Fly Away” and Gail Duenwald and Rhonda Strouckel will sing “Daddy’s Hands”. Ushers will be Kelly Hettich and Jesse Strouckel.
Funeral home visitation begins 5:00 PM Monday with a 7:00 PM prayer service.
Kenneth John Stephan, son of Pansy (Cooper) and Walter Stephan, was born March 8, 1937 at Bowdle. He was brought up on the Stephan Ranch five miles north of Tolstoy. His formal education consisted of rural school, Bowdle High School (Class of 1955), South Dakota State University and Huron College. Ken married Patricia Krull on February 14, 1960 at Huron, SD. They settled on the Stephan Ranch where Kenny lived the rest of his life. In addition to farming and ranching, Kenny and Pat also operated a hunting lodge at the ranch. Kenny was well known for his interest in sports. He played lots of baseball, basketball and softball. One highlight for Kenny was playing in the over 50 Baseball World Series. He also sponsored a softball team and hosted an annual softball tournament in Bowdle. In 1988, he was elected to the State Softball Hall of Fame and, in 2007, was elected to the State Amateur Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1998, he received a plaque citing him as the oldest working high school basketball referee in the region.
The Stephan family would like to thank their neighbors, friends, church family, and Ken’s caregivers for all the help and support which allowed Ken to stay on the farm.
Ken is survived by Pat, his wife of 57 years; two sons—David (Stacey) Stephan of Sioux Falls, SD and Darren (Kathy) Stephan of Milbank, SD; two daughters—Deb (David) Mehlhaff of Edmond, OK and Dawn (Dennis) Simon of Brandon, SD; eight grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his father on February 25, 1970, his mother on August 31, 1999, his son, Dustin, on July 20, 2016 and an infant brother.
Honorary bearers will be all of Kenny’s teammates and friends.
Casketbearers will be Jordan Simon, Brock Nelson, Chris Simon and Matt Stephan all of Sioux Falls, Josh Seezs of St. Cloud, MN and Kailech Kier of Wall, SD.