Otha Joens never stopped learning
Funeral services for Otha Joens, 92, of Mobridge, were held Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, at UCC Church in Eagle Butte.
Burial was at the Eagle Butte Cemetery under the direction of Kesling Funeral Home of Mobridge.
Otha passed away Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014.
Otha Marie (Roy) Joens was born Jan. 8, 1922, to Fred and Dessie (Kerns) Roy in Orofino, Idaho. She grew up in Orofino as one of 11 children. When she was in the first grade, she delivered The Times, Grit and the Spokane Chronicle and at age 81 she worked for the Mobridge Tribune in the production department, ending her newspaper career there.
Hans Joens of the Eagle Butte area came to her city looking for work with the Civilian Conservation Corps and met, fell in love and married Otha on Feb. 17, 1937. They farmed and ranched in Idaho for seven years. They then moved to Eagle Butte to be close to his parents.
Otha graduated from the eighth grade in 1936 and never went to high school. In 1964 she decided to return to school and get her diploma. She rode the bus with four of her own children, while pursuing her dream. Later, at the urging of her teachers and superintendent, Otha took her GED test and passed it with flying colors. She then worked odd jobs for the next three years to save up for the college education she wanted. First she attended Black Hills State College in Spearfish and then transferred to South Dakota State University in Brookings to take the required courses to become a home economics teacher and receive her BS degree.
In 1971 she received her teacher’s certificate and by 1973 had been named as the Teacher of the Year in South Dakota. She then taught home economics in the Cheyenne-Eagle Butte system for a number of years and was also in charge of the kitchen of all nine BIA schools on the Cheyenne River Reservation for 12 years before her retirement in 1992.
Otha was always improving herself and received her master’s degree at BHSC in guidance counseling. Her education did not stop with her degrees. She traveled to Italy to take a special course in textiles, and took workshops at SDSU and courses at BHSC and the University of Arizona.
Other was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, was a 4-H leader and was a Farmer’s Union Junior Leader.
In 2001 Otha moved to Mobridge, where she resided until the time of her death.
Otha is survived by her sons, Fred (Jackie) Joens of Eagle Butte and LeRoy Joens of Kingston, Pa.; four daughters, Dorothy Clark of Aberdeen, JoAnn (Paul) King of Naples, Fla., Connie (Ralph) Falcon of El Dorado, Ark., and Donna (Farrell) DeLapp of Deer Lodge, Mont.; three brothers, Lewis Roy, Larry Roy and Don Roy; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband in 2001; one son, Lloyd Joens; one daughter, Tillie Woolsey; sisters, Pat, Mildred, Bernice and Alma; and brothers, Stanley, Hermet and Jerry.