Lemul passed away peacefully on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at the Fort Meade VA Medical Center, with family members at his side.
Lem was born on December 29, 1918, at home near White River, SD to Henry Lemul and Millie (Petr) Oyler. Lem was one of ten children and he learned the importance of work at an early age. By age nine, he had quite the reputation of being a fence builder throughout Mellette County. Although Lem graduated from White River High School, he did leave school for three years after the eighth grade and did numerous jobs to help support his family.
While in high school, he worked and played football. Lem loved football and received an academic and athletic scholarship to Southern State in Springfield, SD. He attended Southern one year and then enlisted in the Army. While at Southern, Lem met the love of his life, a beautiful girl by the name of Marilyn Ruth Caauwe. Lem went to Louisiana for basic training and then on to Officer Training School. After he got his commission as a Second Lieutenant, he went to further training in California, then on to Washington. While he was training in California, Marilyn rode the train for three days so they could get married. Lem joked that mom looked so dirty from soot from the train ride, he almost put her back on the train to return home. Lem and Marilyn were married on July 26, 1943 at the St. Stephens Church in San Luis Obispo, California.
Lem was deployed to Germany from Ft. Bragg on Jan 1, 1945. Marilyn returned home to Bridgewater. Lem was proud to be an American and to have served his country. He was an excellent shot and a great navigator of unknown territories. He often talked about the horrors of war, but would always say he would have done it all again. Lem received many medals including two bronze battle stars and the Purple Heart. He returned to the states and met Marilyn in Minneapolis, MN on a 30 day furlough. Marilyn and Lem were on a train returning to Bridgewater when the bombs were dropped in Japan, which ended the war. After his furlough, Lem left Bridgewater and returned to North Carolina. In September, 1946, he was honorably discharged from the Army with a rank of First Lieutenant.
In the spring of 1947, Lem and Marilyn moved to Rapid City where Lem started to work with his brothers at Oyler Construction. Lem built a house on North Seventh Street in Rapid City in 1951, where they lived for almost 60 years. Lem and Marilyn were blessed with six children, Linda Mendoza Guinn, David (Dixie) Oyler, Mary Quinton Carey, Donald (Criss) Oyler, Warren (Sandy) Oyler and Marla Oyler. Lem loved his family dearly and on the day of his passing he still had pictures of Marilyn and his children in his wallet.
During his years as a carpenter, over 3,000 homes were built in the Robbinsdale area of Rapid City. Although a carpenter by trade, Lem was always learning and was well versed in a variety of subjects including Botany, Geology, Biology and Zoology. Who else do you know that read the Britannica Encyclopedia from A to Z? Lem loved teaching his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren about rocks, plants and animals. Lem loved nature and passed this on to his children. He loved hunting, fishing, rock hunting, gardening, cutting firewood, and reading. Lem won a wood stove from the Rapid City Journal for finding the largest tree in the Black Hills. Lem loved these activities his entire life, he climbed M Hill when he was 89, harvested his last dear when he was 90 and chopped his last log when he was 91. He also greatly enjoyed his many trips all over our beautiful country, with his trips to Alaska and Texas ranking among his favorite.
Lem was citizen of the month for Rapid City in September 1995 and received a plaque from the Mayor. Lem was a member of the North Rapid Civic Association, several school PTAs, DAV, VFW and an assistant leader in Boy Scouts. He was also an active volunteer for the Rapid City Club for Boys. Lem volunteered over 30,000 hours at the Club for Boys in their Christmas tree and firewood projects.
Lem is survived by his greatest love Marilyn, his wife of 70 years, his six children, thirteen grandchildren, Tony Mendoza, Adrian Mendoza, Clint (Amy) Oyler, Candice (Rich) Lehmann, Craig (Aubrey) Oyler, Corey (Kelly) Quinton, Chris Quinton, Clay (Judy) Quinton, Greg (Danielle) Oyler, Courtney Oyler, Shannon Oyler, Kelli (Matt) Ressl, Jessie (Daniel) Allard, and 24 great grandchildren. Lem is also survived by two brothers, Louie and Albert, and two sisters, Millie and Grace, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Lem’s lasting legacy to all is his honesty and integrity. Lem was best described as always loving, never judgmental.
The family wishes to extend our heartfelt thanks to the wonderful and loving staff at the Fort Meade VA Medical Center in Sturgis for the care they provided for “Lem the Gem” and “Mr. Lemo.”
A memorial has been established to the Rapid City Club for Boys.
Visitation will be Tuesday, February 4 from 5:00 – 7:00 PM at Kirk Funeral Home. Funeral service will be on Wednesday, February 5 at 10:00 AM at Kirk Funeral Home, with burial following at Black Hills National Cemetery. Lunch will be provided following the services at 12:30 PM at the VFW.