Richard (“Dick”) Minnaert, 92, peacefully passed away surrounded by his family at the
Madison Regional Health System on Saturday February 18, 2023. Dick was born on October 13 th ,
1930 to Achille August and Luella Dorothy (Erickson) Minnaert. Dick was the second born of 13
children born to Achille and Luella, and the first-born brother and he attended school in Orland,
South Dakota. Throughout school and after graduating, he began his lifelong career of farming. Dick
was drafted into the military in 1951 at the age of 21 years old. He served in the Korean war and
was stationed in Japan and finished his career in the military in 1953 having reached the rank of
After Dick’s return to South Dakota, he began seeing Elizabeth Jean (Rensch) Minnaert,
(deceased September 3, 2002) and the two married on February 11, 1961. Dick and Jean had six
children, namely: Mary, John, Kim, Jane, LeeAnn, and Eric. The family lived on a farm in the Franklin
township, and Dick continued farming. Dick was always working on projects and building
machinery for the farm, frequently inventing new parts or uses for his farming machinery, often
creating something completely new out of what he already had. Dick always had a winter project
that he worked on in the shop, and all the kids recall warm memories of spending time in the shop
while he worked on his various projects. Dick’s kids and grandkids always looked forward to riding
in the combine with Dick every fall and it was not unusual for there to be a sleeping child (or two)
in the cab of the combine while he worked on his harvest.
During the summer, the family spent a lot of time at Green Lake or Oakwood camping with
Jean’s twin sister’s family, the Hoftiezers. During the camping trips each summer, Dick could be
found playing cards or dice with the other adults while the kids, grandkids, and great grandkids
rode bikes, swam, and fished. As one of Dick’s many projects, he built a grill from scratch, and he
would frequently be found grilling up food for the families during the camping trips. Everyone
looked forward to asking Dick how the food tasted, as everyone wanted to get Dick’s famous
response: “Helluva good!” At night everyone would sit around the campfire telling stories, and
everyone looked forward to hearing one of Dick’s funny stories. When Dick would begin telling one
of his stories, he would often laugh so hard and so contagiously that everyone listening would be
laughing too, even before anyone knew what the story was about. It was common for the family to
have to ask Dick to repeat his stories multiple times so that they could get all the details of the story
between the laughter. Even after Jean’s death, Dick continued to attend the family camping trips,
remaining close with the Hoftiezers and the entire Rensch family until his passing.
Dick remarried on January 31, 2004, marrying Deanna (Kappenman) Beck. Deanna had five
children of her own, making 11 children between the two families. Dick and Deanna continued
living on the farm in Franklin township for few years before moving into Madison, South Dakota,
where he would live for the remainder of his life. Dick and Deanna spent many winters travelling
between South Dakota and Arizona. Dick frequently called back home to South Dakota from Arizona
to ask about the weather and was always careful not to rub it in that they got to enjoy the warm
Arizona weather all winter.
Dick’s whole family recalls how warm and how gentle of a human being he was. Dick was an
inventive and hardworking farmer, but everyone that knew him will remember his calming
presence and tender heart. He was a life-long learner, and even later in his life when he was no
longer able to see well enough to read, he listened to endless audio books, which were usually
westerns or history books. Through his inventiveness and constant thirst for knowledge, Dick
passed down the importance of hard work, creativity, and continuous learning to his kids and
grandkids. Dick was the definition of always keeping a soft heart, even in trying times. His family
members all feel extremely lucky to have gotten to have him as an example of how to approach life
with both gentleness and grit, and they all feel it was an incredible honor to be able to say they
belonged to his family.
Dick was preceded in death by his mother and father, wife Elizabeth Jean (Rensch)
Minnaert, sister Audrey, and many in-laws and extended family members. Surviving Dick is his wife
Deanna (Kappenman) Minnaert, his children Mary (Terry) Hart, John (Barb) Minnaert, Kim
Minnaert, Jane Minnaert, LeeAnn Minnaert, and Eric (Betsy) Minnaert. Dick was survived by his
grandchildren, Andrea Keupp, Tony (Ashley) Keupp, Tyler (Heather) Minnaert, Marie Oldenburg,
Abby Oldenburg, Nick Oldenburg, and Ginelle Minnaert. He is further survived by his great
grandchildren, Jude Keupp, George Keupp, and Eleanor Keupp. He is also survived by Deanna’s
children Jan (Phil) Wernisch and their children Amanda and Lindsey, Shirley (John) Ebsen and their
children Tina, Paul, and Sara, Dennis Beck and his children Bradon, Katie, and Taryn, Mary (Brian)
McFadden and their children Samantha and Joseph, and JoAnn (Jon) Alverson and their children
Mackenzie and Aleesha, along with Deanna’s 10 great grandchildren. Dick is also survived by
several of his siblings: Margaret Logan, Delores Staudenmier, Lynnette Ball, sister Marlene
Minnaert, Ron Minnaert, Marcella Headley, Joe Minnaert, Ken (Elaine) Minnaert, Rosemarry (Arvin)
Limmer, Kathy (Jerry) Elshere, and Fran (Joan) Minnaert.
There will be a visitation from 5-7 PM on Friday, February 24, 2023, at Rustand-Weiland
Funeral Chapel, with a prayer service at 7 PM and a Knights of Columbus rosary to follow.
Visitation will continue on Saturday from 9:30-10:15 AM at Rustand-Weiland Funeral Chapel
followed by procession to the church for mass. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 AM on
Saturday, February 25, 2023, at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, followed by a burial at the St.
Thomas Cemetery, with military honors provided by Madison American Legion, Madison VFW, and
US Army personnel.
In lieu of flowers, please direct memorials in honor of Dick to: Lake County Food Pantry,
111 N. Van Eps Ave., Madison SD, 57042, or the Dravet Syndrome Foundation, a foundation
dedicated to assisting those that suffer seizures associated with a rare form of epilepsy which Dick’s
great granddaughter Eleanor has been diagnosed with. The Dravet Syndrome Foundation address
is P.O. Box 3026, Cherry Hill, NJ, 08034, or www.dravetfoundation.org.