LaMar Dodson, age 89, passed away Sat. July 16, 2016.
LaMar Dodson was born Nov. 21, 1926, in his grandmother’s house near Lewiston, Neb., to Grant and Mazilla Dodson. He was one of seven brothers and spent his first few months living in a sturdy sod house before the family loaded their belongings onto a railroad boxcar and moved to Venango, Neb.
LaMar enjoyed his childhood on the family farm and graduated from high school before joining the Navy during WWII for a two-year hitch aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Munda Bay. He met Bea Dahl, one of his brother’s school teachers, when he returned home and they were married in 1947 — a union with the love of his life that lasted almost 69 years. They moved to New Underwood a few years later where they ranched and farmed with their three children for over 30 years.
Not long after buying the ranch, he and two neighbors dug the holes to install the first telephone poles in the area in order to obtain party line telephone service. Voted Outstanding Farmer of the year in 1960, he loved to joke that he had been very busy, out standing .in his field! At his wife's urging, LaMar officially retired in 1989 and bought a home in Rapid City, but remained active for several years in the harvesting and calving seasons at his son's ranch in New Underwood.
He had an unshakable faith in God and as his residences changed, he became a member of three separate churches, serving as a trustee for 28 years in one of them, a deacon in another and organizing the Overseas Christmas Box Mailings in yet another.
He was active in many farm organizations and served an elected term as county chairman of the soil conservation board. A trip to Washington, D.C. in the late 1970s to join more than 30,000 protesting farmers seeking policy change through the AAM "Tractorcade to Washington" was a very eventful and memorable experience.
LaMar served as president of the New Underwood Lions Club and helped with various fundraisers and service projects. Driving his 1948 John Deere tractor or his 1966 Red Chevy in local town parades became a favorite activity for LaMar and parade attendees could always count on seeing him wearing a wide grin and sporting a friendly wave.
Continuing his volunteer efforts long after retirement, he particularly enjoyed 'patrolling' for the Rapid City sheriff's department (keeping the community SAFE from unlicensed campers!) and assisting volunteer friends with Meals on Wheels deliveries. A highlight in his later years was a WWII Veterans Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C. His commitment to walking a mile every day paid off on that trip! He was proud to have visited all 50 states in his domestic travels and enjoyed trips to many foreign countries. LaMar loved fishing, hunting, and playing cards – especially a satisfying hand of Somerset at reunions with his beloved brothers.
Grateful for having shared his remarkable life are his wife, Bea; son, Steven (Michaela) Dodson, New Underwood, and granddaughter, Lisa Dodson, Colorado Springs; daughter, Kathleen Dodson-Smith (Craig Smith) and granddaughter, Kelsey Dodson-Smith, Minneapolis, Minn.; daughter, Nancy McGinnis, Spearfish and grandson, Clint (Jenny) McGinnis, and great-granddaughter, Mila McGinnis, Fort Collins, Colo.. Survivors also include two brothers, three sisters-in-law, and many nieces and nephews.
Services are at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 28, at South Canyon Baptist Church, 3333 W. Chicago St., in Rapid City, with visitation one hour prior. Reception immediately following at the church.
Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, July 29, at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.
A memorial has been established.