William (Bill) Fitzner, 95

William (Bill) Frederick Fitzner - May 13, 1923 - January 5, 2018

Bill passed away on January 5, 2018 at Seven Sisters Living Center, Hot Springs. Bill was born to Emma Kathryn Hauff, Poore, Ostrom, Fitzner and Frederick Fitzner on May 13, l923. Bill was born at home on Fred’s homestead west of Edgemont. Fred had homesteaded on Section 10, Township 9 S, Range 1 E between1907 and 1909.

When Bill was born he was the third son in a family that already included two half-brothers, Orville Poore and Harold Fitzner. Soon the family moved to Cologne, in Tripp County, South Dakota where a fourth son Ralph Charles was born. In the spring of 1925 the family moved back to Edgemont. They traveled by horse drawn wagons; it took 11 days. His four sisters, Virginia, Ruth, Helen and Esther were all born at Edgemont.

Fred lost the homestead in the mid 1930’s and the family moved south of Cascade. Bill graduated 8th grade from the Coffee Flats School. That ended Bill’s formal education. Bill worked for various ranchers in the area. He was kept from enlisting in the armed services for WWII, primarily for health problems and because he was the oldest farm son. In 1941 the family moved to a farm near Buffalo Gap. In addition to helping on the farm. Bill worked at other jobs, usually road building or dam building. It was on a road building job near Pringle that brought Bill and Jeanette Howe together. Bill and Thirsa Janet (Jeanette) Howe were married on June 9, 1946 and Bill became Ruth Ann’s father. Soon Ruth Ann was joined by sisters, Linda, Joan and Shirley. In order to support his family Bill worked several other jobs including on the Angostura Irrigation Project, and on Pactola Reservoir construction. Bill and Jeanette operated Melvin’s auto repair at Buffalo Gap for a time. Bill also suffered recurrences of rheumatic fever, the affliction that kept him out of the army.

In 1954 Bill decided to try working in the Wyoming Oil Fields as a mechanic. The family moved to Newcastle, Wyo. in the spring of 1954. During the summer the family lived at Worland, Wyo. for a few weeks. They returned to Newcastle before a son Timothy Richard was born on Aug. 11, 1954. In September, Bill moved his family to Custer. Bill became a miner. Over the next 13 years Bill mined feldspar (sometimes mica and beryl). During this time Bill mined along with Jeanette, sometimes with his brother’s in law, Russell Wineteer, Ed Howe and neighbor Walt Clifford and a few other local miners.

In 1967 Bill had an opportunity to return to ranching in Fall River County. He joined an old employer, Rudy Luft in operating Rudy’s ranch south of Angostura. After a couple of years he took steps to venture out on his own and rented a farm east of Buffalo Gap on the Cheyenne River. In the early 70’s he sold his original place at Buffalo Gap and bought the Ward Gamet place east of Oral. Bill and Jeanette were living there when Jeanette died on June 5, 2002, just 4 days short of their 56th anniversary. Bill lived there until June 5, 2005 when Bill was evicted by his son Tim and Grandson Dan.

Bill reluctantly moved into Hot Springs and lived at the Brookside Apartments, until his memory started to fail and he moved to Castle Manor and then to Seven Sisters Living Center in Dec. 2015.

Bill’s survivors are daughters, Ruth Ann (Harold) Dahl, Hot Springs; Linda Fitzner (Ken Iwanicki), Chicago, Ill.; Joan (Harold) Huelsen, Howard City, Mich.; son Tim (Kathy) Fitzner, Custer; son-in-law Ken Abegg, (the late Shirley Slaughter), West Peoria, Ill.; grandchildren James (Angie) Slaughter, Huntsville, Ala.; Cindy (Rich) Messer III, East Peoria, Ill.; Wendell (Carolyn) Hertel, Hot Springs; Kristine Bogner, Rapid City; Joseph (Helena) Huelsen, Winimucca; Nev.; John Huelsen, Howard City, Mich.; Matthew Iwanicki, Johanna Iwanicki, Chicago, Ill.; Jeanene Krentz, Spearfish; Daniel (Elena) Fitzner, Kyiv, Ukraine; Lisa Fitzner, Rapid City: Cheri Fitzner, West Palm Beach, Fla. Great-grandchildren. Nick (Morgan) and Andy Slaughter, Ala.; Tasha (Colin) Besser, Suzanne, Richie IV, and Krista Messer, Ill.; William and Elizabeth Huelsen, Nev.; Lane Winans, Josie and Sydney Bogner, Oral; Kathryn (Katie) Young, S.D.; Dakota and Robert IV Harrell, Fla.; and Izabella and Daniella Fitzner in Ukraine. He also survived by two step-great-granddaughters and 4 step-great, great- grandchildren.

Also, surviving are siblings and in-laws—Ralph (the late Dorothy) Fitzner, Rapid City; Helen Bennett, Hot Springs; Esther (the late Russell) Wineteer, Gillette, Wyo.; Alevia (the late Lester) Howe, Rapid City; Liliane (the late Henry) Howe, Highlands Ranch, Colo. Bill is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews and many more grand-nieces and nephews and their children.

In addition to his wife, Jeanette, Bill was predeceased by daughter Shirley Slaughter (Ken Abegg), West Peoria, Ill. his sisters Ruth (the late Edwin) Howe, Callaway, Neb. and Virginia Nelson, Portland, Ore.; brother Orville (the late Maybelle) Poore, Hot Springs; brother Harold (the late Betty) Fitzner, Bramson, Mo.; brother/sister-in-law Robert Varick, Newcastle, Wyo.; Henry (Liliane) Howe, Rapid City; Robert (the late Mary) Howe, N.M.; Florence (the late Edward) Keller, Omaha, Neb., Willard Howe, Rapid City, Beryl (the late Eric) Erickson, Rapid City and Donald Howe, Portland, Ore..; nephews Curtis Poore, Spearfish, Richard (Dick) Fitzner, Bramson, MO, and Johnny Traum, Portland, Ore.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, July 21 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., at Centennial Park, 300 N. Garden St., Hot Springs.

Fall River County Herald

EDGEMONT OFFICE: PO Box 660 Edgemont, SD  57735-0660   |   605.662.7201
HOT SPRINGS OFFICE: 334 S. Chicago St. Hot Springs, SD 57747 | 605.745.3930
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