Austin Neil Dockter, 81, died March 5, 2014 at Royal C Johnson Veterans Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD surrounded by his loving family. He was born April 13, 1932 in Fargo, ND. His parents were Selma Dockter Pulfrey and Olvie Sathern. He grew up in the Linton, ND area and often recalled attending Lawrence Welk's barn dances. He moved to the Hecla, SD area where he worked on various farms.
On October 7, 1951 he married the love of his life, Darlene Lewis, on a farm east of Hecla. They were blessed with two children, Joe and Dawn. Austin served his country in the US Army from 1953 to 1973, and was stationed in Korea, Germany, Japan and Vietnam. He was also stationed at Fort Sill, OK and Fort Carson, CO. He was a skilled marksman and a member of the Army Pistol Team. He earned the Distinguished Pistol Shot Award and the Gold Leg Award. He also earned the Good Conduct Medal, Military Merit Award, and the Bronze Star, which recognized him for his service in Vietnam. He retired from the Army as an E-7 and he and his family returned to Hecla where he owned a shoe shop. He then served his community as mayor, school board chairman and member of the Odd Fellows Lodge. He and Darlene later moved to Aberdeen, SD where he was president of the Senior Center and member of the Friendship Singers. He was also a life member of the VFW. In October of 2013, he and Darlene moved to Sioux Falls to be near family.
Austin loved polka music, playing pinochle and cribbage, and spent many hours hunting and fishing. He and Darlene enjoyed many trips, including an Alaskan Cruise, Fiesta in San Antonio, and performances in Branson and Las Vegas. He used the GI Bill to attend college, and graduated with a degree in political science from Northern State University in 1984.
Austin is survived by his wife of 62 years, Darlene; son Joe (Sharon); daughter Dawn (David Onstad) and half-sister Doris. He is also sadly missed by his recently "found" half-sister, Sandy Hoffman of Sheridan, WY. He had five grandchildren: John Dockter, James Dockter (Eryn Schatz), and Elizabeth Albrecht (Alex), Nora Onstad, and Emma Onstad. He especially adored his two great-granddaughters, Lilly and Violet Albrecht. He was preceded in death by his parents and half-sister Geneva. There was cremation. There were no services per his expressed wishes. Burial of cremains will take place at a later date in the Black Hills National cemetery in Sturgis, SD. Arrangements were made with the assistance of the Heritage Funeral Home in Sioux Falls, SD. The family would like to express their deep appreciation to the nurses and doctors of the Sioux Falls VA Hospital and Home Hospice, Avera McKennan Hospital and Home Hospice and the Avera Heart Hospital for the care and support they provided during Austin's illness.
This obituary was originally published in The Sheridan Press (Sheridan, WY).