Calvin Reuer loved the look, feel and smell of lumber
Funeral services for Calvin Elmer Reuer, 78, of Belle Fourche and formerly of Selby were held Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, at St. John Lutheran Church in Selby.
Burial was in Selby Memorial Gardens under the direction of Kesling Funeral Home of Mobridge.
Calvin passed away Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012, at the North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Colo., following a traumatic accident on his property.
Calvin Elmer Reuer was born on Aug. 9, 1934, on a farm near Lowry, the youngest of the five children of George and Margaret (Lutz) Reuer. He was only nine years old when his Dad passed away and, like the rest of the siblings, had to work hard to fill in the loss. He was only able to attend school through the eighth grade but his life experiences gave him an education that most people never get.
Calvin was known to most of his family as Elmer, the report being his parents had a disagreement on his name and Calvin won out. His mother and most of the family still called him Elmer, however.
He entered the Army in 1955 and served two years in France. Returning home he worked as a carpenter and later entered into a partnership with Elmer Schilling in the Selby Lumber Yard. He loved the look, feel and smell of lumber and would sometimes make late-night runs to pick up lumber and then work all day long the next day.
In 1960 he married Rita Frances Lawless and they started building their family. The young family moved to the Coffey Ranch southwest of Selby in 1962 and remained there until 1985. Calvin built their home and all the buildings and improvements including a sale barn. In 1966 he received the Walworth County Outstanding Young Farmer Award.
They raised four children on the ranch. Todd, Georgia, Dean and Tamara all grew up with their dad’s strong work ethic. In the ‘70s, Tom Houck sparked their interest in the Limousin breed of cattle and for the next 20 years the entire family worked to develop a great herd of registered Limousin cattle. Calvin was very proud when he won the Best Carcass at the NILE show in Billings, Mont. He was a founding member and actively involved in the North American Limousin Foundation.
Though he loved farming and ranching, it was building and carpentry that made his eyes light up. He was always the happiest when there was a building project going on at the ranch. Helping out a neighbor was just part of his life too. At one point the repayment came back to him when he suffered an eye injury right before harvest and the neighbors all came and harvested his crop while his eye was healing.
In 1985 he moved to Loveland, Colo., but the call of the Dakota prairies brought Calvin back in 1988 when he purchased a small farm near Glenham with his son Dean. Later he got a job with the state highway department and moved to Mobridge. Cattle were no longer part of his life but building and remodeling were. Many people called on his expert skills for a deck, window replacement, new roof, addition, or general handyman skills. He was known for his quick and excellent work.
In 2001 he married Marla Gerber and moved to Gettysburg. He later moved back to Mobridge until 2010 when he bought some land near Belle Fourche and built a cozy home with a spectacular view of the Black Hills that he loved so much.
Calvin’s wonderful voice was often found singing in quartets or solos. A highlight for him was singing with the South Dakota Symphony at the Cathedral in Hoven.
A cheerful and energetic person, he could wear out a much younger person. He could take a powernap in 15 minutes flat. He enjoyed good food and sweets and riding in his pickup you’d always find some candies and ‘Little Debbies’ snacks.
But the true things he built were not made of wood but rather what he built into the lives he touched. Hard work, integrity and honesty tempered by a great sense of humor were his hallmark. When Calvin lost his finger in an accident, he was able to joke about it, and told his grand kids to give him a four-and-a-half. They always thought that was funny and would slap his hand a good one.
Family members include his children, Todd (Kelley) Reuer of Mandan, N.D., Georgia (Greg) McCool of Albuquerque, N.M., Dean Reuer of Spearfish, and Tamara Reuer of Rapid City; grandchildren, Danielle Froke, Tyson (Sarah) Reuer, Levi Froke, Philip Reuer, Landon Froke and Kristi Reuer; great-grandchildren, Carter Froke and Kadence Reuer; and his siblings, Erwin (Elvera) Reuer, Rueben (Rosie) Reuer, Elsie Rueb, and LaVina Perman; and many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his father, George, his mother, Margaret, and brothers-in-law Shorty Rueb and Clifford Perman.