Constance “Connie” Ackerman, 92, of Mitchell, SD, passed away peacefully with her daughters at her side Wednesday, July 15, 2020 in Yankton, SD under hospice care. A Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 AM Saturday, July 18, 2020 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Mitchell. Burial will be in Servicemen’s Memorial Cemetery in Mitchell. Visitation will be one hour prior to the funeral service. Due to the current circumstances, the funeral mass will also be live-streamed on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/BF6-BYndGEM. The live-stream can also be found by searching “Constance “Connie” Ackerman Funeral Mass” on YouTube. Social distancing will be observed, and masks should be worn. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.
Connie Genevieve Ackerman was born on October 16, 1927 in Chester, SD to James Louis and Mary Mae (Cline) Traupel. Following her mother’s passing in 1932, she was cared for by family both in South Dakota and in Minnesota until her father remarried in December 1934. James Traupel and Anna Kludt Weller made a home for Connie, her brother Jimmy Jr., and step-sister Phyllis Weller.
Connie graduated from Mitchell High School in 1945, and immediately enrolled at Methodist Hospital School of Nursing. In 1948, she graduated with a Diploma Degree in Nursing. She worked at the Methodist Hospital in Mitchell as a night float RN until her marriage to John H. Ackerman on May 28, 1949 at the Holy Family Catholic Rectory in Mitchell, SD. Following their marriage, John and Connie moved to Pickstown, SD where she worked at the Pickstown Hospital as a staff RN until 1950. She spent the next several years raising their five children. Aside from managing their activities, Connie was the manager of The Point at Ft. Randall Dam, a souvenir store catering to the many travelers including those from Europe in their “airstreams”, the motorcycle clubs going to Sturgis, and even the “gypsies” traveling cross country. For seventeen years, Connie thoroughly enjoyed meeting people from all over the world.
In 1974, John and Connie built their own home in Lake Andes and remained there for 22 years. In 1975, she started working as a staff RN at the Lake Andes Health Care Center becoming their Director of Nursing from 1976-1980. For the next 16 years, she worked part-time at the Medical Center in Lake Andes and loved that phase of nursing as much as all the previous positions.
Connie retired in 1996, and they moved to Mitchell, her old stomping ground. She was an active member at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, bridge club, couple’s pinochle, and volunteered at Friends of the Middle Border Museum of Pioneer Life. For over forty years, Connie kept in touch with her nursing classmates with a “round robin” newsletter. She was a skilled seamstress who made clothing, drapes and quilts for her children and grandchildren. She loved crafts of all sorts leaving a legacy of items to be treasured by her beloved family.
She is survived by her three daughters, Maryl Hatwan of Mitchell, SD, Barbara (Thomas) Vasquez of Scottsdale, AZ, Ladonna Kniffen of Yankton, SD; daughters-in-law, Betty Sue Ackerman of Hope Mills, NC and Judy Ackerman of Fairmont, MN; sixteen grandchildren, twenty-seven great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild; brother, Jimmy Jr Traupel of Mitchell, SD; and sister-in-law, Marge Ackerman of Iona, MN.
Connie was preceded in death by her husband, John; sons, Michael and James Ackerman; son-in-law, Bruce Kniffen; step-sister, Phyllis; and great-granddaughter, Rayne.