A while ago, I posted a photo of a world war II flight crew that included 18 or 19 year old Lowdon Heller in the crew. You can see the photo and more information here Dakota Today Bomber Crew
Lowdon Heller was 92 on February24, 2016. He was born in 1924. When his obituary comes out, I will post a link to it and correct any errors I make here tonight. He and a number of brothers and sisters grew up as children of homesteaders in Tripp County near Ideal, SD. All of them did much that any family should have justifiable pride in the talent and abilities they had. They survived drought, depression, influenza, rattlesnakes, blizzards, and dust storms.
I just found a brief obituary with date and time of visitation 1PM; funeral 2PM , Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at Ideal Church, Ideal, South Dakota. Lowdon Heller Obituary Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home Gregory, SD. Note: I have added the obituary text and a couple comments Dakota Today--Obituary Page
Note (June 1, 2016): South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard has ordered SD Flags to be flown at half-staff today in honor of Lowdon Heller who served in the SD legislature 1957-1961.
I did not grow up in this area, so I never knew Lowdon when he was young. He was mentally sharp until he died this morning at 10:30 AM in Gregory Avera Hospital. He only spent about 5 days in the hospital. Last week when my wife and I were getting ready to leave after visiting our daughter who had given birth to another grandchild for us, Lowdon called and wondered if I could get him to the hospital here. I told him we would not be back until later in the afternoon. He said he could wait. I met him about 3:30 PM at his Elder Inn room. He was in my car when nurses there informed me of some details Lowdon had neglected to tell me. They gave him his pills and suggested we take a little drive to get him a bit more relaxed. So, Lowdon and I drove about 30 miles here in Tripp County as he told me who had homesteaded where and where the township artesian well had been, etc. We got back to Elder Inn and he said he was feeling good and I said call me if you have any problems. Lowdon had a habit of beating around the bush and not coming directly to the point sometimes. This was one of them. He did not really give me any persuasive indication of the probable seriousness of his problems or even symptoms.
In any case a couple days later he called and wanted to know if I might be going to Rapid City and could he ride along to the Veterans Hospital or Clinic. I suggested he better talk to VA and doctors first so we did not make a trip for nothing. He said he would. I did not hear from him that afternoon so I checked with Elder Inn and they said he had been taken to the Gregory Avera Hospital. It turned out that like the old story about the tombstone with "I told you I was sick" was nearly literally true for Lowdon only he never said it.
One of Lowdon's relatives said it was ironic that Lowdon died just a couple days before Winner had its annual Memorial Day avenue of flags for veterans since it was Lowdon who came up with the idea many years ago.
I will miss his stories, his sense of history and politics, and sense of humor and some of his unique perspectives that always had an element of originality and wisdom even if he like everybody who has original ideas can be a little or a lot off base. My sincere condolences to his family and old friends who knew him longer and better than I did. If you are wondering about the header image, "reliable rumor" was a term I first heard from Lowdon and he chuckled every time he heard it or said it.
Several years ago, I helped Lowdon set up a blog. He had not posted there for sometime, but it is still available if you wish to read his posts over the years-- Ideal News and Views (Blogger)
Below is an photo of one of a dozen or so memorial stones south of the Tripp County Courthouse. It shows the names of the Heller family who served in the military.
*** Stay tuned even if...... --- Doug Wiken