February 9, 1931 - December 23, 2022
Service Date: December 29, 2022
Visitation will be held on Wednesday December 28th from 6-8 pm at Behrens-Wilson Funeral Home in Rapid City. Funeral services will be on Thursday, December 29 at 10 am at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Hill City with military honors, provided by the Custer Veteran’s Honor Guard, at his final resting place alongside his wife in the Hill City Cemetery.
Hiram Melvin Neiffer, 91 passed peacefully on Friday December 23 with his children by his side at the Primrose Retirement Home in Gillette WY where he resided for a short period of time.
Born February 9, 1931 to Jake and Viola (Kursave) Neiffer in his grandfather’s store in Longvalley SD, he joined older brother Eugene and was raised in Longvalley with younger siblings, Mardella (Preble), Roger, Dean, Elaine and Edward, attending school through the 8th grade. Leaving school to work on the family farm and for neighboring farms until he left to drive fuel liner trucks. He was drafted in the Korean Conflict and opted to join the Marines for duty. Stationed in Korea he was hit with shrapnel from enemy fire and was gravely wounded. After a month on a Naval Hospital Ship he was transported back to the States to San Diego. After a lengthy recovery with a honorable discharge and awarded the Purple Heart, he returned to his home state. He attended Black Hills Teacher College while he continued trucking and along his route he met Jeannette (Oleson) Patterson in Sundance WY. After a short courtship they were married in Rapid City August 29, 1957. Their four children, Steven, Lisa, Ronald and Gwen were all born there starting in 1958, and they joined older siblings Vicki and David Patterson.
In 1972 they moved to Hill City which became their permanent home and finished raising their family. Working road construction off and on, and at the Hill City Sawmill, the road construction took him to Wyoming where he gained employment with the Wyodak Coal Mine in Gillette. He worked there until his retirement in 1995 after 15 years. While there, he fulfilled his lifelong passion of flying an airplane. With commitment he did get his pilot license and delighted in taking his family and friends on his Piper airplane flying around Gillette. With his wife they participated in poker runs to smaller towns.
After retiring he and his wife had returned to their permanent home in Hill City when Jeannette became ill and passed away in June with Hiram beside her all the time.
Hiram kept busy with various interests that included auction sales (for tractors), car and airplane shows, Threshing Bees, dancing, traveling, tinkering with his ’57 Ford Fairlane that was the only brand-new vehicle he owned and talking anyone’s ear off with lengthy conversations when he could. He had the gift of gab with a remarkable memory of people and dates from the past. Stories that were interesting to all. Fulfilling his “bucket list” included visiting Oshkosh Wisconsin for fly-in show, Washington DC memorials and museums, traveling to Key West, Florida and Pikes Peak with his niece Donna Kieler.
He is preceded in death by his wife, parents and siblings, Eugene, Eddie, Dean, Roger, Mardella, Step-son David Patterson and daughter-in-law Linda Neiffer.
He is survived by his only sibling Elaine Nelson, Rapid City, sons Steven and Ronald Neiffer, daughters Lisa (Mark) Rabenberg and Gwen Andrews, step-daughter Vicki (Bob) Olsen and family all of Gillette. Granchildren Jana (Corey) Virtue of Custer SD, Houston (Lauren) Rabenberg, Casper WY, Wes and Alex Rexin and Mark Neiffer all of Gillette. Great grandchildren Torri, Hayden and Rylie Virtue of Custer and Graham and Jillian Rabenberg, Casper, along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorials can be made to the donor’s choice.