Gwen Biersbach was first USD homecoming queen
Funeral services for Gwen Biersbach, 96, of Mobridge, will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, at Trinity Lutheran Church.
Burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery under the direction of Kesling Funeral Home of Mobridge.
Visitation will be Thursday, Oct. 3, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with family present to meet friends at 6 p.m. at Kesling Funeral Home. Prayer service will be at 7 p.m.
Gwen passed away Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, at Mobridge Regional Hospital.
Gwenneth Artley was born Dec. 1, 1916, at Vermillion, to Kenneth and Eleanor (Rutherford) Artley. Gwen grew up in Vermillion and graduated in 1933. She then attended USD in Vermillion, graduating in 1937 with a B.A. in journalism and English. While a college, Gwen was affiliated with Chi Omega Sorority. She was very involved in the Wet Hen Mag. and the USD Coyote and KUSD radio at the university, as she enjoyed being a part of the journalism activities at the school. Her junior year she was inducted into the Alpha Chi Alpha Journalism Fraternity for outstanding journalistic achievements. Her senior year she was elected Miss Dakota at USD (which was homecoming queen). This was the first year that an official coronation was held.
Gwen taught in Dickens, Iowa, and Harold for two years before moving to Mobridge in 1940. She taught in Mobridge from 1940 to 1941. On Aug. 7, 1941, she married Henry Biersbach in Vermillion. After Dec. 7, 1941, because of the war, she returned to teaching in Mobridge. In April of 1942, she moved to Camp Roberts in Lawton, Calif., to be nearer to Henry while he was in the service. Henry was discharged in 1944 and they returned to Mobridge where Gwen returned to teaching until 1949. Gwen also worked the society desk at the Mobridge Tribune from 1950 to 1955. She became a member of the Eastern Star and was Worthy Matron in 1953. In 1959, she went back to teaching for another 12 years and in 1972 she retired, after 28 years of teaching, to care for her husband, who was ill. Henry passed away in June of 1975.
Gwen enjoyed golfing and during her time won city champion for three years in a row. She played duplicate bridge with Lucy Rothstein and helped organize a state duplicate bridge league. She also enjoyed traveling, going to many places in the United States, making nearly every state.
She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Women of the Moose, order of Eastern Star, and belonged to the Arts and Travel Club for more than 50 years.
Gwen is survived by her 12 nephews and nieces, Mary Mirabella, Janet Weiger, Robert McDonald, John McDonald, Don Artley, James Howell, Robert Biersbach, Jon Biersbach, Shala Knutsen, Glenda Biersbach and Margo Harbridge. Also surviving are two sisters, Eleanor McDonald and Sally Meisneholder, both of Fallbrook, Calif.; sisters-in-law, Dorothy Artley of White Fish, Mont., and Maxine Biersbach of Bristol.
Gwen was preceded in death by her husband, parents, brother Carvel Artley, two brothers-in-law, and sister-in-law Florence Howell.