Obituary of Helen Benner
Helen Benner, 98, of Lake Andes, died Friday, February 1, 2019, at the Wagner Community Memorial Hospital. Visitation is Tuesday, February 5, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Koehn Bros. Funeral Home, 11 N. First St, Lake Andes, SD. Funeral services are Wednesday, February 6, at 10:30 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 201 Church St, Lake Andes, SD, with burial following at Lakeview Cemetery.
Helen was born May 31, 1920, in Lake Andes to Charles and Anna (Stluka) Kisely, the youngest of six children. She grew up on the family farm north of Lake Andes, attended country school and then Lake Andes High School, graduating in 1938. She received her teaching certificate from Springfield Normal School, and taught grades 1-8 in country schools. She taught in Charles Mix County for 8 years and then went to work in the Charles Mix County Superintendent’s Office, working there until she and, her husband and son, moved to Pierre, SD, in 1955. She then taught in Hughes County country schools for 11 years. As a school teacher, she was beloved and respected. Her students won many awards, and she was proud of the achievements of her students both in school and in their later lives. She greatly appreciated that many continued to keep in touch with her.
In the early 1940’s, Helen stayed for a time with her girlfriend, Frances Krist, who was in the Navy, stationed in Harrisburg, PA. There, she worked as a waitress and met her future husband, Harold Benner. He eventually joined her in Lake Andes and they were married in Phillip, SD, on August 4, 1947. They had one son, Daniel Charles.
The family moved to Belvidere, IL in 1968, when Harold joined the new Chrysler auto production plant. Helen worked in the shipping department at Century Tool Company for 18 years, retiring in 1990. She was known for her accuracy and efficiency, so much so, that she was honored as the company’s first ever Employee of the Month. Helen and Harold moved back to Lake Andes in 1991, where they remodeled the old house they owned. Together they enjoyed traveling, especially visiting friends and Harold’s family back in Pennsylvania. When Harold passed away in 2000, Helen continued to make Lake Andes her home, enjoying many local events and activities, and taking trips with relatives and friends. Since 2011, Helen resided at Wagner Good Samaritan Society, where she kept an active schedule of reading, visiting, attending music events, writing cards and letters, and playing bingo. Helen was a member of the Presbyterian churches in Lake Andes, Pierre, and Belvidere.
Spurred by Dan’s interest in sports, Helen and Harold became avid sports fans. They especially followed the Minnesota Twins and had season tickets to the Northern Illinois University basketball and football games. Helen enjoyed all types of music, especially polka music, because it made her happy. She loved reading and always read her Guidepost magazine and daily devotional. She also enjoyed the challenge of Word Find Puzzles. Helen was a thoughtful, caring person, who loved visiting with people and always had a smile for everyone. She will be missed by many.
Grateful for having shared Helen’s life are her son, Dan, and his wife, Marilyn, of Owings Mills, MD; nephews, Alvin (Geraldine) Kisely and Robert (Evelyn) Kisely of Wagner; Eugene (Lois) Slaba and Richard (Rita) Slaba of Geddes; nieces, Sharon (Earnie) Kerby of Aberdeen; Karen (Allen) Kindt of Wagner; Sondra (Norman) Knickrehm of Mitchell; Twila (Joe) Kirwan of Gregory; and Marie (Dean) McQuay of Rapid City; cousin Lillian Gibson of South Sioux City, NE;and Harold’s family in Pennsylvania, sisters-in-law Nancy Shirk, Carleen Weiand and Linda Zimmerman; brother-in-law Alton (Mary) Benner; cousin-in-law Larry (Caroline) Benner; and many loved nieces and nephews.
Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Harold; her parents, Charles and Anna Kisely; and her siblings, Joseph and Anton Kisely, Rose Kucera, Tillie Slaba, and Emma Kisely.
821 Main St,
PO Box 339
11 N. Main St.,
PO Box 613
Lake Andes, SD
309 W. Main St.,
PO Box 928 Parkston, SD
218 Main St., Stickney, SD
125 S. Corse St., Corsica, SD
220 S. Main Ave., Geddes, SD