Bonnie Bettie (McNeil) Hicks Ellis, 93, of Brandon, SD, and formerly of Aberdeen and Redfield, SD, passed away Sunday, December 15, 2019, at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD, with her family at her side. Her funeral service, with military honors, will be 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 19, 2019, at Hyke Funeral Home in Redfield, SD. Reverend Marty Toepke-Floyd will officiate. Following a time for lunch and fellowship at the Clay Kiser American Legion Post #92 in Redfield, interment will follow in the afternoon at the Britton Cemetery in Britton, SD.
Visitation will be one hour prior to the funeral, from 9:30 - 10:30 a.m., at Hyke Funeral Home. Arrangements have been entrusted to Hyke Funeral Home. (www.hykefuneralhome.com)
Bonnie Bettie McNeil was born April 7, 1926 to Clarence William and Ella Mae (Clapper) McNeil in Amherst, SD. Bonnie and her parents moved to Britton, SD at a young age. She attended grade and high school and was the 1st Homecoming Queen of Britton High School.
Bonnie entered the United States Air Force in early 1945. She served two years during WWII as a Medical Technician taking care of the wounded who came back from the war. Bonnie was a proud American and served her country well. Bonnie met and married Marty Sherman Hicks at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. To this union, they were blessed with five children. After her honorable discharge from the Air Force, Bonnie and Marty moved to Fargo, ND and then to Redfield, SD where Bonnie lived until 2009. She worked for 23 years at the South Dakota Developmental Center in Redfield while raising her children.
Bonnie met and married Elmer “Duane” Ellis in December 1974.
Bonnie demonstrated her strong commitment to public service through her involvement in her church and community. She was honored as a candidate for the Redfield’s Woman of the Year in 1980 and 1981 and Merit Mother runner up in 1981 for State Mother of the Year.
Bonnie pursued a lifelong passion for learning after graduating from Britton High School. She attended Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD later in life and then finished her degree in Social Work from Presentation College, also in Aberdeen.
In 1984, Duane was called to active duty which took them to Fort Bliss, TX for four years. There Bonnie volunteered for the Red Cross and Hospice program in El Paso, TX. She received an award for her outstanding volunteer work for Hospice and the Army NCO Wives Club. Bonnie and Duane returned to Redfield in 1988 and she continued her work as a private caretaker for Alzheimer’s patients for 27 years. Bonnie also worked taking care of the retired Nuns from Presentation Convent for many years and was a very dedicated worker. She also volunteered for the Battered Woman’s shelter in Aberdeen and was a trained and certified EMT in the Redfield area. Eventually, she cared for her husband with Alzheimer’s for four years.
Bonnie’s health began to deteriorate, and she had to go on kidney dialysis in 2009. At this time, Bonnie and Duane moved to a condo in Aberdeen after living in Redfield for over 60 years. Duane passed away in 2010 and Bonnie kept active attending church and many senior events in the Aberdeen community.
During her lifetime, she held numerous local, state and national offices in service organizations: The Daughters of the Revolution of Redfield, American Legion, Community Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, VFW Auxiliary, the Red Cross Grey Ladies, Women in the Military Veteran’s Association, Women’s Army Corps, Eastern Star, United Methodist Church, and the Redfield Senior Citizen’s Center. Bonnie was the 1st female American Legion State Chaplain.
Bonnie is survived by her children: Connie (Richard) Pirtle, St. James, MO; Peggy L. Morris, Sioux Falls, SD; Danny (Tammy) Hicks, Aberdeen, SD; Scott Hicks (Judy Carroll), Redfield SD; and Clair Hicks, Brandon, SD; stepchildren: Carol (Gary) Wipf, Frankfort, SD; and Susanne Evans, Florida. She is also survived by ten grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren; five step-grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband Elmer “Duane” Ellis; infant twin brother; parents; son-in-law, Wayne G. Morris; granddaughter; and great-granddaughter.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Aberdeen Humane Society or the Redfield Community Memorial Hospital and Clinic Foundation.