Elaine M. Richards, 91, of Pierre and formerly Agar, died Sunday, April 20, 2014 at Avera Maryhouse in Pierre.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, April 25 at the United Methodist Church, Agar, with Pastor Jeff Adel officiating. Burial will follow in the Onida Cemetery. Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, April 24 with a 7 p.m. prayer service at Luce Funeral Home, Gettysburg.
Elaine Asmussen Richards was born in Agar, SD to William J. and Lula E. Asmussen on Dec. 7, 1922. Elaine attended Agar High School through her junior year. The family moved to Martin, SD because of difficult times. There she graduated from high school. She then attended and graduated from Business College in Grand Island, NE.
Elaine worked in Brookings, SD, as a distribution clerk issuing rationing cards for the war effort. She then moved to Washington, D.C. where she worked for the Department of the Navy. She decided she also would become a part of the war effort and joined the U.S. Army since all her brothers had enlisted in the military.
Having been honorably discharged in 1946 she met and married Roy John Richards who had served in the U.S. Navy. Shortly after being married they both attended and graduated from detective school together on the G.I. Bill. To this union two sons were born, Barry and Jerry. They moved to Elkton, SD, and farmed for a period of time, then moved to Oklahoma City, OK. There Johnny (Roy John) went to work for the Civil Service in the post office and Elaine worked as a court stenographer.
During the years that followed Elaine graduated from Beauty College. She worked in and owned several beauty salons over a period of years in Oklahoma City. When her mother became ill, she traveled back and forth to South Dakota to care for her. Later she moved to Arizona to care for her brother, Pete, and then they both moved to California. After Pete’s death she made her home in Desert Hot Springs, where she met and made many friends that she enjoyed very much.
Her hobbies in later years were making many unique items. She tried her hand at painting, but her passion was making small cabins and special small churches which were very detailed. She freely gave many of these away to her friends over the years. From a comment made in years past “money does not grow on trees” she started making money trees. All these items were handmade out of putty and required countless hours of time. She continued to make her churches until a few days before her passing. A very special great niece, Erin Asmussen, spent countless hours enjoying her company, learning how to build Elaine’s money trees both in California and South Dakota.
A love of horse racing throughout her life came from her family’s involvement and success in the horse racing business. This enjoyment followed throughout her lifetime.
Through the years she wrote every U.S. Senator and Congressman to draw attention to the needs of Veterans. She was a very strong and active voice for the rights, care, and attention to all Vets. She continued that until the end. She also was a member of the American Legion for over 50 years.
Elaine was a cancer survivor many times over. In 2011 she moved to Parkwood Apartments in Pierre, SD, because of her failing health, again making new friends. In 2013, due to declining health, she moved into the Maryhouse Nursing Home in Pierre where she made yet another group of new friends.
With all her health issues, she knew love was the best thing she could give and she did so freely. All of Elaine’s nieces and nephews were her favorites whether it was Ted Asmussen in Agar, Keith Asmussen in Laredo, TX, Tom Asmussen in Pierre, who visited her regularly both in California and Pierre or Stana (Zack) Collins of Kansas who always called and visited her. They and each and every one of her family were very special to her. She loved being a grandmother, with much love for her grandson Austin, granddaughter Danielle, and great-granddaughter Kelsey. Being close to Pierre, Austin and Kelsey had enjoyed many visits with their grandmother. She loved both her sons as they loved her, and they were both at her side at her passing.
Elaine is survived by her sons: Barry (Jennie) of Calhan, CO and Jerry (Connie) of Agar, SD; grandson, Austin Richards and fiancée Michelle Kerzman of Agar, SD; granddaughter, Danielle Elaine Richards of Roanoke, VA; great granddaughter, Kelsey of Sioux Falls, SD; and all her nephews, nieces and many dear friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers: Stanley, Irving, and Peter Asmussen; stepbrothers: Billy and Kenny; and stepsister, Theola.
Condolences may be sent to the family at P.O. Box 145, Agar, SD 57520 or to the Richard Family/Luce Funeral Home, 502 E Commercial Ave, Gettysburg, SD 57442.
Luce Funeral Home of Gettysburg has been entrusted with Elaine’s arrangements. (www.familyfuneralhome.net)