Obituaries Gail L. Harrenga

Gail L. Harrenga, 52, died Friday, April 1, 2005 at her home surrounded by her family.

Her funeral service was 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 5 at Shalom Lutheran Church, Harrisburg. The interment was 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 5 at Bergen Lutheran Cemetery, rural Vermillion.

Visitation began at 2 p.m. Monday, April 4 at George Boom Funeral Home with the family present from 7 to 8 p.m.

Gail Lynn Knutson, daughter of Norman and Betty (Hedelson) Knutson, was born Feb. 19, 1953 in Vermillion. She attended a one room school for eight years and graduated from Vermillion High School in 1970. She spent three years at the University of South Dakota.

Gail was united in marriage with James Harrenga, from Estelline on May 26, 1973 at Bergen Lutheran Church, rural Vermillion, and moved to their home in Indio, CA. Following Jim's career around the country, the couple lived in Vermillion, Erie, PA, San Jose, CA, Sioux Falls, Jacksonville, FL, Charlotte, NC, and Hudson, OH before returning home to Sioux Falls again in December 2000 where Jim is employed by PREMIER Bankcard.

While in Jacksonville, Gail completed her college education, receiving her bachelor of science degree in nursing, graduating Summa cum Laude from the University of North Florida. Her specialty was pediatrics and neonatal intensive care.

Over the next several years Gail worked as an RN in St. Luke's Hospital in Jacksonville, Northeast Medical Center in Concord, NC, Akron Children's Hospital in Ohio and most recently at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls.

In 1994, Gail volunteered to travel to Rwanda and help the children in refugee camps who had been separated from family during the genocide. This life-changing adventure set the stage for several more mission trips to remote areas of the world as a member of Christian medical teams. In 1995 she helped bring much needed medication and prescription drugs to Ukraine, training the local medical professionals in their use. In 1996, Gail trekked the Himalayan Mountains in far northern India, as high as 16,000 feet. Each day the team would scale another pass and set up camp in another valley seldom visited by doctors or dentists.

In 1997 Gail was honored to be part of a team sent to Xian, deep in central China, to train local doctors and nurses in Western medicine. It was the only trip where she was forbidden to speak the Gospel of Christ.

Gail returned to Ukraine in 1998, renewing old friendships, treating their children and letting them know Americans truly cared for them. The jungle of Honduras was the next year, followed by Dominican Republic in 2000.

In each location, after the clinics closed for the evening, Gail would continue with the children, who always held a special place in her heart.

Gail's politics were certainly left of center, going door to door for George McGovern before she could vote, and following through recently helping campaign for Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson.

She loved Stampede hockey, never missing a home game until her first surgery, and serving as a host family for two years. She enjoyed water skiing, hiking through any terrain, photography, horses, cats and all kinds of music, but most of all being a mom.

Before her nursing career she was very active with her children in soccer, baseball, 4-H, dance, trips to the beach and countless other activities. Each family move became an adventure with new places to visit, new culture and history to learn and things to do.

And, of course, Gail bonded with new friends everywhere, who have stayed in continuous contact and have been a source of joy and strength through her illness.

Gail loved adventure. A favorite quote from Mark Twain was "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness. Broad, wholesome, charitable views cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth."

Gail and Jim enjoyed one final adventure together in 2001 when they returned to Africa, spent eight days climbing 19,340 feet tall Mt. Kilimanjaro then went on a three day safari. Stuck in Amsterdam on the way home because of the 9/11 terrorist attack, they bought rail passes and spent an extra week visiting several locations in the Netherlands, but that was the last overseas trip.

Gail held a special affinity for the people of Ukraine, probably because of their simple rural lifestyle, love of music and easy laughter. She corresponded with friends there over the years, finding a way to translate cards, letters and e-mails. The family extends a special thank you to the many churches in Ukraine who faithfully prayed for Gail during her illness.

The family is also especially grateful to Gail's college and hometown friends and PREMIER Bankcard co-workers who have been a constant source of encouragement, comfort and support.

Gail is survived by her husband, Jim, and three children, John, Jill and Bret, all of Sioux Falls; her mother and step-father, Betty and Earl Knutson of Vermillion; two brothers, Tom Knutson and his wife Denise and Lowell Knutson and his wife Cindy of Vermillion; two sisters, Connie and her husband Dale Dutcher of Wichita, KS and Jeri Wimer of Livonia, MI; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her father Norman Knutson and nephew Adam Knutson, both of Vermillion.

The brain tumor that took Gail's life could not take the love she had for her friends, her zest for living or her passion for giving to those less fortunate.

A trust fund at First PREMIER Bank dedicated to helping the children will be established with the proceeds of memorial gifts.

Ruth M. Iverson

Ruth Margaret Magorien was born March 4, 1918, at the farm home of her parents south of Mission Hill. Her parents were William James Magorien and Anna Sybel Howard Magorien. She had a sister and two brothers.

Ruth attended grade school at Howard School District #30 that was a short distance from her home. Her grandfather, Livingston Howard, founded the grade school in 1870, and the first teacher was her grandmother, Priscilla Morey Howard. Ruth graduated from the eighth grade at Howard School in 1931 and Yankton High School on May 30, 1935.

After graduation Ruth worked in the office of Gurney Seed and Nursery in Yankton until she married Melvin Leslie Iverson at the home of her parents on Aug. 31, 1938. They moved to the farm south of Bergen Lutheran Church and farmed until Melvin retired.

Ruth was a member of Bergen Lutheran Church and was active in the Ladies Aid and held many offices in the E.L.C.W. She was also a member of the Bergen Cemetery Association. She helped organize the Norway Neighbors Extension Club in 1944. She held many offices in the local club, county, and was district president.

Ruth was a 4-H leader for 15 years. She has been a member of the Rebekah Lodge at Vermillion since 1949. She held many offices and was state president in 1987.

Ruth loved playing in the Kitchen Band and entertaining and visiting people at the Vermillion Care Center.

Ruth left the farm and moved to Vermillion in 1999. She has been a resident of the Vermillion Care Center since 2002.

Ruth will be remembered for knitting her beautiful afghans and hangers, as well as her sewing and quilting. Her children and grandchildren will miss her delicious cooking and her wonderful pies.

Ruth died Monday, April 4, 2005, at Sioux Valley Vermillion Care Center.

Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, Melvin Iverson; her parents, William and Anna Magorien; one sister, Ellen Magorien; and two brothers, Howard Magorien and Raymond Magorien.

Two daughters, Marilyn Iverson Dyball and her husband, David Dyball of Le Mars, IA, and Carol Iverson Kaberna and her husband, Don Kaberna of Wagner, survive her.

Also surviving are her five grandchildren, Susan LaHaise of Fargo, ND, Darcy Kaberna of Fargo, ND, Kevin Kaberna of Boston, MA, Scott Dyball of Egan, MN, and Jeff Dyball of Rapid City. She had five great-grandchildren.

Funeral service is 2 p.m. Friday, April 8, at Bergen Lutheran Church, rural Meckling. Burial is in the Evergreen Cemetery, rural Meckling. Visitation was 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7 at the Iverson-Siecke Funeral Home with a 7 p.m. prayer service followed by the Rebekah service.

Doris N. Swanson

Doris N. Swanson, 87, of Vermillion died Tuesday, April 5, 2005, at Sioux Valley Vermillion Care Center.

Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Iverson-Siecke Funeral Home, Vermillion. Burial will be in BluffView Cemetery, Vermillion.

Visitation is from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, with a Rebekah service at 7 p.m. at the funeral home. The family will be present from 6 to 8 p.m.

Doris was born Jan. 5, 1918 in Vermillion to J.G. and Beda (Norman) Danielson. She graduated from University High School, Vermillion, and in 1941 married Lester Swanson in Nebraska.

The couple operated a meat market in Dalesburg. Lester died Feb. 20, 1958, and Doris moved to Vermillion in 1960.

She is survived by a daughter, Diane and her husband, Howard Wagner, of Vermillion; three sons, Douglas and his wife, Cindy, of Sioux City, IA, Darrell and his wife, Carol, of Pensacola, FL, and Dennis of Tucson, AZ; a brother, Glen, and his wife, Catherine Danielson of Vermillion; a sister, Helen Jensen, Dallas, TX, several nieces and nephews, nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents and husband.

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