John D. Kuchenbecker | Local

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RAPID CITY – John D. Kuchenbecker, 97, of Rapid City, South Dakota, died Sunday, July 10, 2022 at his home outside of Rapid City.

John Dewey Kuchenbecker was born on February 1, 1925 to John and Clara (McBride) Kuchenbecker in Madison, South Dakota. John was the youngest of six siblings. In 1932 John moved to North Philip with his parents and attended school in the Philip School District.

In 1939 John moved to Baudette, MN and worked on a dairy farm with his sister Dorothy and brother-in-law Dwight Smith. In 1942, at the age of 17, John joined the Navy and served in World War II until his discharge on February 17, 1946. During the war he received 6 battle stars in the Asia-Pacific Theater and 2 stars at the Liberation of the Philippines.

After his release in Chicago, he returned to Philip and married Gladys Mae Hanrahan of Milesville, South Dakota on March 2, 1946 in Rapid City. Together they had four boys: LeRoy (1948), Keith (1948), Mike (1953) and Kevin (1966).

After their marriage, they settled in ranching for 26 years in western South Dakota. In 1968 they sold the Haakon County Ranch and moved to Philip where he began working for the State of South Dakota as a State Meat Inspector and West River Compliance Officer until ‘retired in 1988. John and Gladys began wintering in Mission, Texas and spend their summers between Philip, Rapid City and West Whitlock.

Throughout his 10 decades, he has made lifelong friends wherever they are. They spent 27 years enjoying southern Texas during the extreme South Dakota winters. He was instrumental in establishing a new carpentry and woodcarving factory at Alladin Villas. Summers were busy with family reunions and fishing on the Missouri River at West Whitlock where they enjoyed several generations of friends. John enjoyed happy hours and was one hell of a talented fisherman, card player and wood carver, leaving his works of art to all his offspring.

In 2009, he had the honor and privilege of taking a trip to Washington DC as part of the Honor Flight and was present at the South Dakota dedication of the World War II Memorial to Pierre. He was an active member of the VFW, the American Legion and the Knights of Columbus.

His survivors include the love of his life and partner of 76 years, Gladys, three sons Keith (Linda), Mike (Holly) and Kevin (Shana), 11 grandchildren Angi Frederick, Jami Kuchenbecker, Brad (Carrie) Kuchenbecker, Polly (Todd) Unterbrunner, Jana (Chris) Kenzy, Garret Kuchenbecker, Lisa Kuchenbecker, Carmen (Isaac) Almanza, Nici Kuchenbecker, Seth (Mackenzie) Kuchenbecker, and Cole Kuchenbecker; 18 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by their son and daughter-in-law, LeRoy and Gloria Kuchenbecker, his parents, four sisters and one brother.

Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. with a vigil beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 14 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Philip.

The Christian funeral mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, July 15 at the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Philip.

Burial with military honors will take place in the Masonic cemetery of Philippe.

Arrangements are with Rush Funeral Home of Philip.

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