Frank Joseph Stangle
Frank Joseph Stangle, better known as “Sonny”, was born May 5, 1934 to Frank “Fat” Stangle and Delphine “Dellie” (Jobgen) Stangle in Creston, South Dakota.
He went to grade school at Knuppe and McMahan grade schools in 1940 and 1944, respectively. He started high school at Rapid City Cathedral but hated it and got transferred to New Underwood where he could play football. He dropped out of high school halfway through his junior year.
After high school Sonny cowboyed and rodeoed in Arizona, Nebraska, Colorado, and Montana before returning to South Dakota. He worked at the Big Stone Ranch west of Milesville in 1955. That is where took a big mule deer buck which was still the state record in 1964.
He married Rita Karp on July 5, 1957. They had six children.
Sonny took pride in everything he did and tried to do it the best he could. He started making saddles in Scenic, but eventually had to take another job on the state highway. He started a business with his brother, Leo and his brother-in-law Don Karp. They called it K & S Brothers. They started building fences and pole barns. Sonny boasted that one of his pole barns was the only building left standing in one part of Rapid Valley after the 1972 flood.
Sonny and Rita moved their family to New Underwood in 1972. Sonny continued to do contract work until he took a job with Brink’s Construction in 1975-76. Then he started working for Ron’s Propane. It was during all of the windshield time that he discovered that he had a talent for cowboy poetry. He would make up lengthy poems in his head while driving before ever committing them to paper. He was the featured speaker at the Medora North Dakota Cowboy Poetry Festival in 2001.
Sonny also enjoyed cooking and was head cook for several years for the Saddle Tramps, a trail ride group he formed. He got back into rodeo when he discovered the Old Timer’s Rodeo in Hyannis, Nebraska. After participating in Hyannis in 1977-78 he decided to expand the franchise to New Underwood in 1979. As usual Sonny participated in all three rough stock events. He was the first one out of the chute on bareback and he got bucked off and the horse stepped on his chest breaking several ribs. He spent the whole rodeo in the hospital. But that didn’t stop him from rodeoing. Eventually the Old Timer’s changed their name to the Senior Pro Rodeo and Sonny was number four of the first twelve inductees to the National Senior Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
In October, 2000 his wife, Rita died and he moved to Milesville, SD in 2002 where he became the sole resident of Billsburg. He helped Jim with his veterinary business and started a business poisoning prairie dogs.
Sonny also loved to play cards, especially poker and cribbage. He once held a 28 and a 29 point hand in the same night. He enjoyed deer hunting in the Black Hills. He loved telling stories, true or not, and singingmany old cowboy ballads.
Sonny’s strong work ethic and love of life will not be forgotten.
Sonny is survived by his three daughters, Juanita (Tim) Hughes of Ft. Pierre, Betty (Mark) Kivi of Rapid City and Julie (Steve) Moad of Custer; three sons, Jim (Linda) Stangle of Milesville, Joe (Lynette) Stangle of Caputa and Dave Stangle of Philip; grandchildren, Curtis, Clint, Mark, Ben, Sam, Jennifer and Alaina; great-grandchildren, Molly, Rose and Christian; step-grandchildren, Kolt, Taylor, Paige, Alissa, Michaela and Josh; sister Mary Ann Parsons; and a host of other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Rita Marie on October 13, 2000; brothers, Leo, John and Tom; and a daughter-in-law, Char Price-Stangle.
A visitation was held on Thursday, December 27 from 5-7 p.m. at the St. John Catholic Church in New Underwood with a rosary service at 7:00 p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial was held on Friday, December 28 at 10:00 a.m. at the New Underwood School Gym.
Burial will follow at the New Underwood Cemetery.