Gardening 12

Shirley Jean (Stoner) Sanger

March 9, 1923 ~ December 13, 2021 (age 98)


Shirley Jean (Stoner) Sanger, 98, of Redfield, SD, passed away Monday, December 13, 2021, at the Good Samaritan Society in Miller, SD. 

Shirley's son, Randy Gene Sanger, 64, of San Marcos, TX and formerly of Redfield, passed away hours later on December 13 in San Marcos.    

Shirley’s daughter, Janice Kathaleen (Sanger) Davies, 73, of Redfield, SD passed away on Monday, December 14, 2020, at Avera St. Luke’s Hospital in Aberdeen, SD.

There will be a joint Celebration of Life honoring Shirley and her two children on Saturday, December 18, 2021, at the Redfield United Methodist Church in Redfield.  Visitation will be one hour prior to the service, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.  Their service will begin at 1:00 p.m. with Pastors Melissa Rowenhorst and Jim Hofman officiating. 

After the funeral service, military honors will take place outside the church in honor of Randy and his honorable career with the U.S. Navy.  There will also be a memorial service for Randy at a later date in Texas where he will be laid to rest.

Interment for Shirley will follow the military honors and a time for refreshments and fellowship at the church.  Burial will be at the Rockham Grace Cemetery in Rockham, SD at approximately 3:30 p.m.

Their Celebration of Life service will be live-streamed to the funeral home’s website, under their respective obituaries.  Streaming will begin at approximately 12:50 p.m.  Arrangements have been entrusted to Hyke Funeral Home of Redfield.  (


Shirley's daughters have each written an obituary to honor their mother and the memories they cherish.

Written by June Ohm:

Shirley Jean Stoner was born March 9, 1923 to Neva (Seaton) and Jesse Stoner in South English, Iowa. She had 3 older sisters, Eileen, Lillian, and Charlotte. 6 months later, Neva died but she had already put Shirley into the care of Richard and Lena Stoner – Jesse's brother and wife. Shirley's new family included a brother, Wayne, and sister, Harriette.

The family moved to South Dakota and lived in various places in the Redfield, Athol, Orient area. Papa Jesse died when Shirley was 6 years old.

Lena and Richard's family always seemed to have extra people living with them. Grandma Lulu Stoner lived with them several years until her death in 1940. She passed on her love of gardening to Shirley and left her with many good memories.

While living in the Redfield area, Shirley made friends with Mary Schalkle. She remembers going to church with Mary and her parents.

Shirley graduated from high school in Athol, SD. She went to college for one year at Northern in Aberdeen, SD. She taught at a country school. Years later, one of her former students told her that they had always hated school until they had her as a teacher.

She was introduced to Raymond Sanger by mutual friends. They got married June 21, 1944 and lived on the family farm 3 miles west of Rockham, SD. 5 children, June, Janice, Charles, Beverly and Randy were born to them.

She taught Sunday School at the Rockham Methodist Church for many years. She and Ray were both active in church activities. They especially enjoyed Young Adults.

The two of them were also 4-H leaders for many years – Shirley was very proud of that, made good friends and certainly had an impact on many young lives.

Shirley worked at Betten's Egg Plant for a few years. During that time, the farm was sold and the family moved into Redfield.

Shirley worked at both the Community hospital and the Developmental Center for may years. She got to be the person the doctor handed her first grandson, Robert Ohm, when he was born prematurely.

Shirley and Ray moved to a home at Cottonwood Lake for several years then to a home in Zell. Ray died in August, 1987. She stayed at the house in Zell and continued to care for other people over the years.

Eventually she moved to the Village in Redfield. She played Whist with an organized group for many years. She also enjoyed playing pinochle at the Sr Citizen center. She enjoyed activities at the United Methodist church and visiting with friends. She also enjoyed going to Creative Arts Guild with some of her family members and always enjoyed family time.

In February 2020 Shirley moved to Good Samaritan home in Miller, SD. She will be remembered by those who knew her as being very appreciative of everything people did for her and being that friendly smile and greeting at the front door.

Shirley is survived by children; June and Ronald Ohm, Charles and Diane Sanger, Beverly and Travis Letsche, Zenaida Sanger. 13 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Raymond, her parents, sister, brother, son-in-law Lawrie Samelson, daughter, Janice Davies.

Shirley and youngest son, Randy passed away very close to the same time.


Written by Beverly Letsche:

Shirley Sanger passed away peacefully at the Good Samaritan Center in Miller, South Dakota, surrounded by the love of all who knew her, on December 13, 2021.

Shirley was born the youngest of four sisters on March 9, 1923, to Jesse and Neva (Seaton) Stoner at South English, Iowa.  When Shirley was just a few months old, Neva, who had not recovered from child birth, chose to give Shirley over to the care of Jesse’s brother, Richard, and his wife, Lena and their children, Wayne and Harriette. Neva died when Shirley was just six months old. Shirley delighted in confusing people by having a sister, Harriette, who was cousin to Shirley’s three sisters, Eileen, Lillian, and Charlotte. A month before Shirley’s seventh birthday, her beloved Papa, Jesse, also passed away. Despite these losses and the hardships of growing up in the Dirty Thirtys, Shirley enjoyed her childhood, feeling loved, and maybe just a little spoiled by her parents Richard and Lena, siblings, Papa Jesse, stepmother Julia, Grandma Lulu and Uncle Horace.

When Shirley was still a baby the family moved from Iowa to South Dakota. They lived on various farms around the Redfield area and surrounding towns. One of her clearest childhood memories was when she was just two and her grandfather Solomon Stoner died. As was the custom at the time the body was laid out in the parlor. She remembers creeping down the stairs, clinging to the wall to stay as far away from the casket as possible.

She graduated from Athol High School in 1941. She attended Northern State Teachers College for a year, obtaining her teaching certificate. Shirley taught two years at a country school north of Rockham. The girls at her school would swoon when Shirley’s handsome and romantic suitor, Ray Sanger, would ride his horse to visit her, waiting patiently on the hillside above the school until classes let out.

June 21, 1944 Shirley and Ray were married in Orient, South Dakota. They moved an old hotel on to Ray’s parents’ farm. There they produced five children; June, Janice, Charles (Chuck), Beverly and Randy. Shirley contributed a lot to the family earning by growing a huge garden, canning and preserving the produce, and caring for the chicken flock.

Shirley continued to substitute teach when needed in the area. She and Ray became very active 4-H leaders. They were very progressive, combining the girls and boys clubs into one club which was unheard of at the time. They both taught classes at the local and county level and judged at Faulk County Achievement Days.

Shirley was also active in the Rockham United Methodist Church where she taught Sunday School classes and Vacation Bible School. She participated in the church women’s groups plus in Extension Club.

When Randy started school, Shirley went to work in Redfield at Harry’s Station. In 1964, Ray and Shirley moved their family to Redfield. There Shirley held various jobs including working at Redfield State Hospital and School, and the community hospital. They moved to Cottonwood Lake for several years before moving to Zell. During those years she and Ray enjoyed doing traveling, gardening and various handicrafts. She retired early from RSHS to care for Ray, who had health problems. Ray died in 1987.

After Ray’s death, Shirley returned to work as a home health care aide and enjoyed doing more traveling, quilting and card playing. Eventually she and her beloved cat, Lucy, moved to the Village in Redfield, where Shirley enjoyed an active social life. On January 31, 2020 she moved to the Good Samaritan Center in Miller where she lived until her death.

Shirley was preceded in death by her husband, Ray, her parents and her siblings and their spouses and her son-in-law, Lawrie Samelson, daughter, Janice and son, Randy. Left behind to cherish her memory are her children June (Ron) Ohm, Redfield; Chuck (Diane) Sanger, Mobridge; Beverly (Travis) Letsche, St. Lawrence; daughter-in-law Zenaida Sanger, San Marcos, Texas; 13 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.


Thank you to the participants in the Sanger's service:

Clergy:  Pastor Melissa Rowenhorst and Pastor Jim Hofman

Organist:  Lynette Munce Flint

Soloist:  Larry Tebben

Pallbearers ~ Shirley's Grandchildren:  

Bob Ohm, Rich Ohm, Brenda Merkel, Mark Ohm, 

Brian Davies, Cara Davies, Kevin Davies, Alan Davies, 

Travis Sanger, Beverly Custodio, Jeanny Sanger, Jill McKewan, Tanya Davies

Military Honors for Randy:

Clay Kiser American Legion Post #92 - Redfield, SD

Paul A. Schleher VFW Post #2755 - Redfield, SD

U.S. Navy Honor Guard - Sioux Falls, SD



To send flowers to Shirley's family, please visit our floral store.


December 18, 2021

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Redfield - Redfield United Methodist Church
1326 West 1st Street
Redfield, SD 57469

Celebration of Life Church Service
December 18, 2021

1:00 PM
Redfield - Redfield United Methodist Church
1326 West 1st Street
Redfield, SD 57469

Video is available for this event

December 18, 2021

3:30 PM
Rockham - Rockham Grace Cemetery
171st Street 367th Avenue
Rockham, SD 57470

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