Eugene Halverson, age 101, of Madison, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, August 8, 2020 at Bethel Lutheran Home.
Funeral service will be 10:30 AM on Friday, August 14th at Rustand-Weiland Funeral Chapel with Rev. Shelly Gehring. Visitation will be noon-7 PM on Thursday at Rustand-Weiland Funeral Chapel with the family present from 5-7 PM. Burial will be in Graceland Cemetery with military honors provided by the Madison VFW & Madison American Legion assisted by active US Air Force. It is requested that facemasks be worn while in attendance and will be provided if needed. The funeral will be livestreamed on funeral home Facebook page. Online condolences can be sent at www.weilandfuneralchapel.com.
Memorials can be directed to: St. John Lutheran Church, 122 N. Grant Ave., Madison, SD 57042.
Eugene “Gene” Edwin Halverson was born January 11, 1919 in Oldham, SD to Edwin and Anna (Moberg) Halverson. He graduated Oldham High School in 1936.
After high school, Gene was employed by Lockheed Defense as a riveter on the Lockheed Hudson Bombers, before serving 2 tours of duty as a Staff Sergeant in the Army Airforce 868th Bombardment Squadron during WWII. Gene saw action in the Philippines, New Guinea, and Okinawa, witnessing the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan. He was awarded the following ribbons and medals: Philippine Liberation with 1 Bronze Star, American Theater Service Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Service Ribbon, and the Good Conduct Medal. After the war, he was stationed at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington DC, where he was chosen to march in President Truman’s inauguration parade in January 1949. Over sixty years later, Gene would join his fellow WWII veterans as part of the Honor Flight trip back to Washington D.C., where they were honored for their service during the war.
After WWII, Gene married Rosella Christoff in 1950 and worked for Halverson Brothers Electric, wiring rural farms for electricity as part of the 1936 Electrification Act. Gene was briefly employed by Madison Coast-to-Coast before becoming a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. He delivered mail for 32 years of dedicated service; 16 years as a city carrier and 16 years as a rural mail carrier, later retiring in 1983.
A lifelong aviation enthusiast, Gene obtained his pilot’s license in 1969. He was also an avid, accomplished bowler, bowling at least once a week until he was 98 years old. He maintained a 170 average through his late 80’s, including bowling a 523 series at 97 years old. Gene relished his morning and evening walks. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, golfing, repairing anything mechanical, and reading. Gene married Helen Aker in 1970. The two of them dearly loved to dance up a storm at local dances and spent 22 happy winters with family and friends in RV parks at Big Bend and La Fiera, TX. He was a faithful member of St. John’s Lutheran Church. He was also a member of Elks Lodge 1442, VFW Post 2638, and Experimental Aircraft Association.
Survivors include five children, Michael (Laine) Halverson of Sioux Falls, James (Rozanne) Halverson of Grants Pass, OR, Robert Halverson of Madison, Anne (Michael) Hurst of Vacaville, CA, Thomas (Sandra) Halverson of Oviedo, FL; four step-daughters, Lee Ann (Gary) Stofferahn of DeSmet, Cheri (Mark) Mergen and Barb (Chris) Mergen both of Dell Rapids, Tammy (Dan) Palli of Ramona; 26 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren.
Gene was preceded in death by his two wives, Rosella Christoff 1950-1968 and Helen Aker 1970-2015; parents, Edwin & Anna; one sister, Virginia, and one step-son, Darroll.