Emil Sternhagen, age 68, of Vermillion, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010 at the Sanford Medical Center, Sioux Falls. Mass of Christian Burial was 10:30 a.m., Monday, Dec. 20, 2010 at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church, Tabor, with Rev. Joe Puthenkulathil officiating. Burial was in the parish cemetery. Visitations began at 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 19, at the Opsahl-Kostel Memorial Chapel, Tabor, with a wake service at 7 p.m. Visitations resumed one hour prior to the service at the church. Pallbearers were David Sternhagen, Steven Sternhagen, John Sedlacek, Keith Sternhagen, Daniel Sternhagen, and Ben Nesselhuf. Honorary pallbearers were the staff at SESDAC, Inc.,Vermillion.
Emil was born on Dec. 19, 1941 to James and Mary (Krcil) Sternhagen in Avon. He grew up on the family farm and lived with his family until age 27. From 1968 to present he lived and worked in a variety of special care facilities spending the last 15 years at SESDAC in Vermillion. A special Thank You to Ben Nesselhuf (Emils guardian) and all the staff at SESDAC who were an extended part of Emils family. Emil loved polka music and one of the highlights of his life was coming to Czech Days every year. Emil had a colorful vocabulary and an enormous sense of humor and enjoyed playing practical jokes on family and friends.
Survivors include his mother, Mary Sternhagen of Tyndall; brother, Alvin (Ruth) Sternhagen of Tabor; sister, Fern (Bruce) Meyer of Council Bluffs, IA; brother, Jim (Jane) Sternhagen of Yankton; sister, Agnes Kerr of Brighton, CO; and 19 nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, James Sternhagen (1997); his brother, Donald Sternhagen (1994); maternal and paternal grandparents; and several aunts and uncles.