MILLER, SD – Richard Moser, age 91, formerly of Miller and rural Wessington, died Saturday, September 7, 2019, at the Weskota Manor, Wessington Springs.
Funeral services with military honors will be held 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at the First Presbyterian Church, Miller with the Rev. Brian Jones officiating. Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday September 10, 2019 at Reck Funeral Home, Miller with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service. Private burial will be held in the Rose Hill Cemetery at a later date.
Richard was born on August 13, 1928, in Spring Lake Township, at the Jacob and Lousia (Heitzman) Huether farm, near Danforth. He was the third child of seven born to Henry J. and Pauline (Fastnacht) Moser. He was baptized on Dec. 29, 1929, in his parents’ home at Rose Hill, by Rev. Graumann of the German Congregational Church, his father Henry’s pastor. He attended Ross School through the 8th Grade and earned his high school GED in 1976, which meant a lot to him. After being elected to the Miller School Board he decided that having a high school diploma would give him better standing to respond to and negotiate with school administrators, teachers, and parents: so there was “no question” about him as a board member and representative for the people. But mostly, he often quipped that he wanted a diploma before his four kids earned theirs. He said that his personal experiences with education, including having a wife who was a school teacher, was why he encouraged his children to “stay in school, work hard, and always do your best.” He believed that every child should finish high school because “times have changed and education will help you get through life.”
He served in the U.S. Army with the 45th Infantry Division of Oklahoma in 1950 and 1951. First, he was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, and then he was transferred to Fort Polk, Vernon Parish, in Louisiana. When the Oklahoma Division reorganized in 1951, the National Guard re-activated for duty with the Korean War, and Richard was assigned to the Army’s health clinic near Shreveport, LA, where he trained as a dental services assistant and served out the remainder of his duty.
In 1952 he worked for B. P. John Furniture Manufacturing in Portland, Ore., and stayed with his cousin, Rosina (Albert Gimbel) Losing, of Newberg. He also stayed with his uncle Nord (Faye LaBau) Fastnacht, at McMinnville. He helped the Fastnachts move back to South Dakota in 1953. He worked for his dad and mom on the family farm at Rose Hill. He also worked for his grandparents Carl (Elizabeth Heuther) Fastnacht on their farm in Bates Twp., and for his uncle Elvin (Solita Garvin) Fastnacht on their ranch by Gann Valley. He helped many neighbors in Hand, Jerauld, and Buffalo counties with their livestock, crops, and harvests. In the 1950s he completed a series of charter Vocational Ag courses at Miller for young producers. He played amateur baseball for Danforth and was picked-up by Ree Heights for two years when they qualified both years for the South Dakota state men’s baseball tournament. He boarded one year at a trail ranch in Nemo, S.D., and harvested bluegrass in the Black Hills.
Richard married Ardessa Yost in the First Presbyterian Church of Miller with Rev. Ben Thaden officiating, Sept. 6, 1959. The couple made their home at Miller for one year, and Richard worked for Wilber’s Feed & Seed, where he helped to construct the company’s new warehouse. After his folks retired from farming, Richard took over the family farm in Rose Hill in the autumn of 1960. Ardessa resumed her teaching in the fall of 1965 and went back to college by taking summer courses in order to finish her degree. Richard ran the farm while Ardessa taught country school, and they raised four children together.
Richard’s primary agricultural achievement was building and maintaining a successful Angus- Charolais-Limousine cow-calf operation. He planted crops, mostly corn, oats, alfalfa, and prairie hay, and he stripped bluegrass – a lot of it. He liked to hunt and fish. He was a charter member of the Rose Hill Sportsmen’s Club for recreation and wildlife conservation in the 1960s when the swimming area and boat dock were improved. He designed a ball diamond south of the farmstead and established a Teener baseball team that he managed for many years, with boys from Rose Hill, Bates, Hiland, and Spring Lake townships. Through the 1970s his Rose Hill baseball team played teams at home and away, including tournaments in Mitchell, Huron, and Aberdeen. Some of the games were broadcast on radio and TV, like one in Aberdeen that was one of the first youth baseball games to be televised in the state. At that time it was a real novelty to watch ballgames on TV — of South Dakota kids, no less! Richard also managed and umpired youth and amateur games at Wessington, St. Lawrence, Ree Heights, Miller, Highmore, Orient, Cresbard, Gann Valley, Wessington Springs, Kimball, Hayes, Lane, and other towns, and for many ballgames at the South Hand Old Settlers’ Picnic.
Richard and Ardessa moved to Miller in April 2000. He sold his cowherd in 2002 and acquired the site of the former Danforth Store near his birthplace. Although he never really retired. He kept on top of farm and ranch issues, rented his land, and continued to oversee the farm property.
He was a member of the Rose Hill Presbyterian Church and served as elder from 2009 to 2013. He also served as Rose Hill church treasurer, Sunday school secretary-treasurer, and on the Rose Hill Cemetery Association board for several years. He joined the Wessington Presbyterian Church in 2014. He was life member of Miller VFW Post 3214 and Watson-Krauter American Legion Post 110 of Wessington. He helped to build the Wessington Legion’s post building. For many years he was a board member and officer of the Spring Lake Grazing Association; a county and district officer of Farmers Union and served as the chair and vice chair of County Councilors; delegate to the regional Farmers Union Marketing & Processing Association; and a member of various co-ops, farm associations, and rural utilities. He served as Quartermaster of the Miller VFW Post for 25 years. He was elected to the Miller School Board to represent the rural schools of Hand County. He served three, 3-year terms, from 1968 to 1977. He spearheaded efforts to facilitate rural busing, implement the district’s first milk and school lunch program, and promote the mainstreaming of children with disabilities throughout the Miller District.
Together with his wife, Ardessa, Richard supported school activities and community organizations including the Miller wrestling team, Hand County 4-H Youth-In-Action, Farmers Union Education program and summer camps, the VFW Voice of Democracy Youth Speech Competition, and the Rural Electric Resource Conservation Youth Speech Contest. During 1979-80 the Moser family hosted George Gitonga Gitahi of Kenya, East Africa, through Miller’s AFS student exchange program. Richard and Ardessa enjoyed taking summer vacations, especially to the Pacific Northwest for salmon fishing, joined by relatives and friends. Richard won the Port of Ilwaco, Washington, Salmon Derby for the 2005 Charter & Commercial Fishing Season.
Richard is survived by his wife of 60 years, Ardessa, a resident of Weskota Manor Avera Nursing Home in Wessington Springs since December 2014; four children: Mary Jo of Newport, Oregon, Jeffery of Aurora, Colorado, Wendy (Scotty Hofer) of Highlands Ranch, Colo., and Gregory (Lynn Turbak) of Yankton.; seven grandchildren: Bradley (Tessa Carlson) Koschel of Evergreen, Colo.; Jared Hofer and his fiancé Amanda Alavrez of Highlands Ranch; Kelsey Moser of Woodbury, Minnesota; Bethany Koschel (Brian Groover) of Albany, Oregon; Zachary Hofer of Thornton, Colo.; Alexandra Koschel of Maryville, Missouri; and Rebecca Moser of Minneapolis; two great grandchildren: Avery and Aralynn; two sisters and their husbands, Elaine and Darrell Peterman and Sherry and Larry Van Zee of Miller; five sisters-in-law: Erma Woodruff of Wolsey; Evelyn Moser of Des Moines, Wash.; Ida Moser of Huron; Norma Yost of Miller; and Kathy Yost of Gann Valley; brother- and sister-in-law: Wilson Yost and his wife Iona of Wessington Springs; one maternal aunt, Faye Fastnacht of Wessington Springs; and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father in 1979; his mother in 1984; infant granddaughter, Brooke Ann Moser, in 1994; four brothers: Leroy, Clarence, Robert, and Eldon Moser and Eldon’s wife Norma; and 12 additional brothers- and sisters-in-law: James Purrington, Victor Woodruff, Dale McCartney, Ralph Smith, Ken and Charlotte Pope, Edwin Yost, Dale and Patricia Waters, Wesley and Leta Yost, and Chuck Yost.
Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Richard’s arrangements.