Tom Heibel, Leola banker, dies

Thomas Heibel

Thomas Heibel

Thomas John Heibel, 85, of Leola, passed away peacefully with his daughters by his side at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 2013.
A memorial service for Tom will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. at St. James Lutheran Church in Leola.
Burial with military rites will be held at Green Mound Cemetery in Leola under the direction of Schriver’s Memorial and Crematory of Aberdeen.
Tom was born July 31, 1928, to Andrew J. and Elma (Knudson) Bentz in Mobridge. Tom spent his childhood years in Mound City. He moved to Leola in his teenage years with his mother and stepfather, Leo Heibel, and graduated from Leola High School.
He attended college for a year at the University of South Dakota before serving in the United States Army, stationed in Japan. After his military service he returned to USD to complete his degree in political science.
Tom married BettyLou Boyle on Nov. 2, 1952, in Leola, where they made their home.
He then began his long financial career with Leola State Bank, where he became president. Tom was instrumental in selling the bank to CorTrust Bank (Hopkins Financial) in 1987.
He also served on the Board of Directors of Valley Telephone Cooperative in Herreid for 40 years. Tom was involved in bringing many advancements in the telecommunications industry to Valley Telephone.
Tom was a great father as well as an awesome grandfather. It would be hard to say which he enjoyed more, fishing for walleyes at the Missouri River or working with the guys on restoring old Jeeps. Travel was high on his list. He and BettyLou spent their winters in Hawaii and Arizona. He considered his trip to Alaska, by himself at the age of 78, one of his greatest adventures. So much so, the next summer he returned to Alaska with his son-in-law, Paul. Tom loved running the bank along with buying and selling stocks. He never missed his twice-a-day breaks to shake dice for coffee. Tom truly loved all the friendships he made in his life; both at home in Leola and his travels around the country.
Grateful to have shared his life are his two daughters, Tarrill (Paul) Abney of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Rhondi (Steve) West of Andover, Minn.; two grandchildren, Teresa Marie Abney of Washington, D.C., and Dennis John Abney of Ames, Iowa; and a stepbrother, Gary (Doris) Hepperle of Aberdeen.
Tom was preceded in death by his wife, BettyLou.

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