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Imogene K. Wittenhagen

April 24, 1934 - April 8, 2023

Location Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church

A visitation will be held on Thursday, April 13, 2023, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., with Vigil starting at 7:00 p.m., at Behrens-Wilson Funeral Home.  Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, April 14, 2023, at 10:00 a.m., at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, with Rev. Timothy Hoag presiding.


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Imogene Shaffer Wittenhagen was born in her Grandma Emma’s house north of Lucas, SD on 24April 1934 to Vilas and Florence Shaffer. She lived in Lead, SD for several years, and then her family moved to the farm north of Gregory, SD in 1941. She graduated High School in 1952 and attended the National School of Business in Rapid City, SD graduating with a Certificate in Business.

Her first job was at Standard Oil of Indiana in Huron, SD in the credit card division. She mostly used a comptometer and liked working there.

Imogene’s Mother became ill with cancer about this time, and it became apparent Florence wouldn’t survive. Imogene quit Standard Oil in December 1954 to come home to the farm to care for her mother, her dad, and brothers Marlyn, Ron, and Bob.

Imogene met Jim Wittenhagen through co-workers. They married in June 1956 in Gregory and were blessed with four children: Douglas (Stephanie), Diane, Craig (Camille), and Jeffrey (Sandi). Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren include Jennifer (Doug’s daughter) with children Evie and AJ, Nicholas (Doug’s son) and Hillary (Doug’s daughter) with her daughter Isla and son Miles; her second son Craig’s daughter Lindsey with her daughter Parker, and his son Jordan; and Jeff, her third son, with Megan (his daughter), Ethan (his son), and Callie (his daughter).

Job opportunities included volunteering for the Catholic Church, schools, and libraries, employment as a bank teller, census taker, and home health caretaker.

Imogene enjoyed thoroughly researching family genealogy tracing us back to Germany, but it was not so much work as compiling information to solve a mystery, to answer questions, to help us to understand who and where we came from, what influenced us.

Imogene loved gardening, most especially planting and caring for flowers. Hobbies included ceramics in which all things began as simple clay and became beautiful and almost alive, many bringing smiles when seen. She tried to teach her children and grandchildren how to embroider, to sew, to cook, to bake, to clean, to accept all that we were asked/told to do, to believe in God and His wondrous love for us, and His mercy. Patience was not always her greatest virtue, but it certainly helped. Imogene had a natural passion/ability to see/find excellent quality solid wood furniture, most especially made of maple. She enjoyed cleaning/stripping the wood and helping the beauty of the wood to come forth, to be seen quietly and in the background.

Imogene knew how to love, to care for others, to comfort those hurting or upset, whether she knew them or not. She gave wonderful hugs and received them well also. She had many friends who cared for her and could see the beauty and kindness within her. A smile automatically comes to many faces when they think of her. She also had a great sense of humor, one just needed to be prepared to receive a jab from her, but to look at her and see the light in her eyes and the smile on her face followed by a wonderful laugh.

Throughout her lifetime she moved several times, from Watertown to Lake Norden to Huron and Aberdeen within SD, to Lakewood, CO, returning to Rapid City, SD.

She thoroughly enjoyed traveling throughout the USA, Mexico, Europe, South America, and Australia. Her favorites included Australia and Mexico City.

As she said: “The Lord has been so good to me, I am very grateful.” May she help us to come to know how good our Lord is to us.

May you rest in His arms in Heaven, dear Mother, and help us to be with our Dear Lord for all eternity.

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