Irvin L. Thompson

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Irvin L. Thompson, 98, rode his bronc through the gates of heaven on January 14, 2014 at the Philip Nursing Home in Philip. Funeral services were held Saturday, January 18, 2014 at the Faith Community Center with Pastor Harold Delbridge officiating. Burial followed at the White Owl Cemetery. Irvin, the sixth of eleven children of Edwin and Anna (Brevik) Thompson, was born November 11, 1915 on the family homestead near Marcus. He attended Barada School through the eighth grade but was not allowed to attend high school. Consequently he valued education and made sure all his children graduated from high school. His family moved to Forest City, IA where he began working on various farms. In 1936, the George T. Addams Rodeo Company came to town. Irvin rode broncs at one of their performances and was hired on the spot. When the company left town, Irvin went with them and for the next two years, traveled throughout the southeast and eastern United States. They went from Florida, where Irvin said, “I didn’t like them damn alligators,” to northern Minnesota and Canada, “where there were too many mosquitoes.” They were to perform in Madison Square Garden but set up outside away from it because, “the place was a damn, dirty, smelly pit.” Between summer travels he wintered in Menard, TX with his friend, Calvin Segauser, “The Pecos Kid” and family. The last of the thirties and early forties found him back in South Dakota rodeoing on weekends, working on ranches, built dams with Wally Knight, and starting his own herd of cows. On August 13, 1945 he married Marian Howie at Sturgis. Irvin worked on ranches near Thunder Butte, Faith, Green Grass, Isabel, and Timber Lake before moving back to the home place at Marcus in 1967. While raising their family, Irvin was a 4-H club leader, Farm Bureau president, County Farm Bureau president, Timber Lake Saddle Club president, Dewey County 4-H Rodeo director, and member of Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Timber Lake, where he was on the building committee. Irvin was active in the Faith Stock Show, spending many unpaid hours as the ring steward of the horse show. He was a South Dakota brand inspector and did the back tagging at Faith Livestock for the South Dakota Livestock Sanitary Board. He worked for many years as an assistant to Dr. Wayne Sletten, traveling the countryside vaccinating cattle from Parade to Reva. He loved this because he met and visited with so many wonderful people. Nothing made him madder than “some so-and-so that wouldn’t visit.” Irvin and Marian loved dancing and were known for their dancing ability. He assisted many young South Dakotans get started riding bulls and broncs, and breaking horses. One was the legendary Casey Tibbs, who used Irvin’s bronc saddle and equipment before he had his own. He told wonderful stories of early day South Dakota ranching and rodeos. Young and old would gather round to hear his stories and gain some horse knowledge. Irvin was believed to be the last surviving South Dakota member of the original Turtle Association, forerunner of the current PRCA. He is survived by two daughters, Adele (Denver) Enright of Timber Lake and Vicky (Harold) Waterland of Marcus, a son, Alton “Bub” (D’Anne) Thompson of Marcus; and a daughter-in-law, Corinna Thompson of Faith. Also surviving are his grandchildren and their families — Richard Enright and children J.D. and Sierra of Timber Lake; Mitch (Colette) Enright of Timber Lake and their family —Erin (Elliot) Neuheisel and son Hayden of O’Neill, NB and Haley Enright of Vermillion; Lacey (Robert) Wondercheck and sons Quirt and Rio of Marcus; Amanda and Troy Thompson of Marcus; Jill (Ted) Schilling of Spearfish and children Daniel, Matthew, Timothy and Emma; Kim (George) Langendorfer of New Underwood; and Kristen (Chet) Kilmer and Caydence of Spearfish. Preceding him in death were his wife, Marian; his youngest son, Earl; his parents and in-laws; our brothers; three sisters; five brothers-in-law; four sisters-in-law; one niece; and one nephew. Casket bearers were Larry Rosander, Chad King, Joe Rose, Bob Hansen, Darwin Hellekson, and Gary Simon. A memorial has been established to the Marcus Hall. (Adele Enright’s address is PO Box 14, Timber Lake, SD 57656.)
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