Bernice M. Rikansrud
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July 4, 1914 - February 22, 2014
Bernice Rikansrud, 99, of Sioux Falls, SD, died on Saturday February 22, 2014 at Good Samaritan Center.
Bernice Hokenstad Rikansrud was born with a bang on the 4th of July on the family farm nine miles northeast of Canton, SD to Omar and Edna (Shulson) Hokenstad. Bernice was the youngest of five children. She was very proud of her Norwegian heritage and loved to say she was 100% Norwegian. All four of her grandparents came to South Dakota across the sea from Norway.
Bernice was active in many high school and college activities. She loved to sing, write and play basketball. At Canton High School she was homecoming queen and at Augustana College she was an elected candidate for queen. She graduated from Augustana with a major in English and minors in French and music. Her first teaching job was in Colton, SD where she also served as principal for a year. She later took a teaching position at Washington High School in Sioux Falls teaching English, journalism, and French. She enjoyed being advisor for the Orange and Black school newspaper. Bernice spent two summers in the Chicago area attending Northwestern University and received her master's degree (1942) in the teaching of English.
In 1946, Bernice married Lloyd O. Rikansrud after he was discharged from the Army. She continued to teach and one rewarding experience was teaching citizenship and English classes to 'displaced persons' immigrating from Europe after WWII. Bernice quit teaching to start a family and work with the family business, Rikansrud-Johnson Implement Company. Bernice maintained her interest in education and ran for the Sioux Falls Board of Education. She had four opponents and in 1962 won every precinct in the city. She was one of the first women elected to the school board. During her 5-year term, Robert Frost Elementary, Lincoln High School, and the Instructional Planning Center were built.
As well as family activities, Bernice was very community-minded and involved with First Lutheran Church, AAUW, YWCA, PEO, Daughters of the Nile, and Augustana College. Her leadership skills were evident in the many offices she held within these organizations. She often said that Sioux Falls was the very best place to live. Her family believes she helped make it so.
Grateful for having shared her life are her two daughters: Kristi and husband Bruce Wallin of Sioux Falls, and Karla and partner Diane Wild of Boulder, CO; three grandchildren Rebecca (Morgan) Kappenman, Nikki (Dave) Sunderland, Boe (Mandy) Nankivel; four great-grandchildren Cole & Carson Kappenman, Boe Sunderland, Asher Nankivel; and several nieces and nephews. Bernice was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and four siblings.
Memorials may be directed to Augustana College, First Lutheran Church, or EmBe.
Visitation will begin at 2 pm with the family present from 5 to 7 pm on Monday, February 24, 2014, at Miller Funeral Home, 13th & Main. A graveside service will be held at 10 am at Hills of Rest Memorial Park on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, with a memorial service at 11 am at First Lutheran Church.
Published in The Argus Leader on Feb. 24, 2014