Ken Halligan, 92, died Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, at home.
Kenneth William Halligan was born August 2, 1921, to Frank and Ethel (Rousch) Halligan in Cedar Butte. In 1931, they moved their family to Parmelee. Ken attended school at Running Bird for the first four years and transferred to Parmelee School after the move, remaining there through the 11th grade. His senior year was spent in Curtis, Neb., attending the Nebraska School of Agriculture.
On August 15, 1942, Ken entered the U.S. Army to become a Signal Corp lineman with the 101st Signal Battalion. He was attached to the 7th Infantry Division as “Special Forces.” Ken received several awards and citations, including the Purple Heart, and had achieved the rank of 1st Sgt. by the time he was honorably discharged.
After World War II, Ken worked for three years as a lineman for Bell Telephone Co. in Rapid City and Valentine, Neb. During this time he met Ruth Louise Verch. They married on Oct. 5, 1947, and Ken returned to ranching in Parmelee. Then, in 1954, they moved west of Fort Pierre, where Ken was a partner in the Rankin Ranch operation for 10 years. In 1964, Ken and Ruth purchased a ranch on the White River, south of Draper and moved there with their five children. They spent many happy years running cattle and irrigating crops on the river bottoms until 1995, when they moved to Pierre. Ruth had been fighting cancer and passed away in March 1996.
Ken worked as an order buyer for Gottch Feed Corporation during his ‘retirement’ and married Florence Wiliams on Nov. 2, 1997, in Eagle Butte. They made their home in Pierre.
Ken was very involved in every community in which he resided. He served on the school board for Tomahawk District in Stanley County for 10 years and was a Jones County Commissioner for 10 years. He was proud to serve as a Charter Member for the SD Cowboy Hall of Fame, where he served on the Board of Directors, and was the last living Charter Member at the time of his death. He and Ruth were both inducted into the Hall of Fame. Ruth was inducted into Teaching and Cultural Affairs in 1990 and Ken into Agriculture in 1996.
The West River/Lyman-Jones Rural Water Board was a special interest of Ken’s for 34 years. He was a lifetime member and served twice as commander of American Legion Otterman Post 94, was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and also the Disabled American Veterans. In 1999, Ken and the entire Halligan Family were honored to be inducted into the Casey Tibbs Foundation. Ken worked tirelessly for the South Dakota Stockgrowers Assn. and served as Vice President beginning in 1986 and President in 1988. He also served on the S.D. Brand Committee and was appointed to the Brand Board in 1998, where he served for five years. He was a lifetime member of the Aberdeen Angus Association.
Ken’s faith was an important part of his life. He was a member of the American Sunday School Union in Parmelee, until he joined the Methodist Church in Valentine. He was a Trustee and on the Pastor Parish Board for the Little Brown Church in Hayes, and the Draper Methodist Church. He was a member of the Pierre Methodist Church at the time of his death.
Grateful for having shared his life are his five children: Frank (Shirley) of Midland; Bill (Virginia)of Bushnell, Neb.; Linda (Ray) Gilbert of Buffalo; Jim (Barb) of Pierre; and Laura (Tim) Olson of Buffalo; 10 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren; a sister, Irene Hutchison; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Ken was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth; his parents; brothers Eugene, Delbert, Bernard and Daryl; and wife, Florence Williams Halligan.
Ken spent his entire life working and caring for those around him. He believed in God, loving his family and a good horse. We know they all await him in heaven.
Services were held Monday, Feb. 3, at First United Methodist Church with visitation beginning one hour prior to services. Pastor Dan Bader will be officiating.
Burial followed Feb. 4, at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.
Arrangements have been placed in care of Isburg Funeral Chapel. Online condolences may be made at www.isburgfuneralchapels.com.
Memorials may be directed to the Casey Tibbs S.D. Rodeo Center, Ft. Pierre, or the Draper United Methodist Church in Draper.