Leona Fern Klinkner


May 25, 1926 - November 22, 2016




Leona Fern Klinkner was born May 25, 1926 at her grandparent’s farm in Charles Mix County, SD to Joseph and Tillie (Merkwan) Trantina. She graduated from Scotland High School in 1944 and then attended Southern Normal College in Springfield for teaching. On May 14, 1945 she married George Harold Klinkner in Scotland. They moved to Oakland, CA, where George was stationed in the Navy. Leona worked at Montgomery Wards while in California. Following George’s discharge from the Navy they moved to Artesian and began farming. She began her 37 years of teaching at Kneen Country School, Argonne, Plano, Bradley Young and Longfellow Schools. She attended Northern State and Black Hills State Colleges, DSU in Madison, and earned her B.S. Degree from USD and Master’s Degree from SDSU in Brookings. After retirement she did substitute teaching for 20 years.

She was a member of St. Charles Catholic Church, where she taught religion and was a member of the Altar Society, Catholic Daughters, the 8 & 40, lifelong member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Delta Kappa Gamma, NEA, MEA, retired Teachers Association, Sanborn County Extension and SDEA.

She is survived by one son, Donald (Karen) Klinkner of Artesian; two daughters: Cheryl (Jerry) Toering of Chamberlain and Joanne (David) Munsell of Minooka, IL; 13 grandchildren, whom she watched for two weeks every summer holding grandma K’s summer camp and 23 great grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her husband, George, daughter, Teresa Weisz, grandchild, Justin Munsell and brother, James.


 Leona will be greatly missed.

She loved her family and they loved her.



Friday, November 25, 2016
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Bittner Funeral Chapel
Scripture Service ~ 7:00 PM
805 West Havens
Mitchell, South Dakota


Saturday, November 26, 2016
11:00 AM
Saint Charles Catholic Church
Artesian, South Dakota


Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Artesian, South Dakota

Posted by Katherine Moller-Magee on November 9, 2017
One of my favorite teachers @ Bradley Young, a wonderful teacher..
Posted by Amy (Pollreisz) Dummer on December 4, 2016
My thoughts are prayers are with Mrs. Klinker's family. She was a super amazing 3rd grade teacher to me at Longfellow in the late 80's. She was in my top 2 favorite teachers I had while attending Longfellow from K-5. Sorry to hear about this, know she was a great teacher.
Posted by Anne Messerli on November 25, 2016
What an amazing educator and mentor! I student taught under Mrs. Klinkner in the fall of 1977. It was the last year of Bradley Young's existence. Many of the students in the class had Mrs. Klinkner multiple years as their classroom teacher and principal. She created an atmosphere of community, collegiality, acceptance and belonging. I learned from a master, and I know she would be happy to learn that I, too, have been an elementary educator for over 35 years.
Posted by Dean & Cindy Bullerman on November 24, 2016
Heaven just got a little nicer when Leona strolled through the gates! God Bless her and your whole family--she was an awesome gal. Her spirit will live on....I suspect Derek and Audra's baby girl will bring some "Leona spice" when she arrives. Thanks be to God for the life of Leona Klinkner!!
Hugs from the Bullermans-- Dean & Cindy.
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