Russell Kirkus, 93, of Mitchell, died Wednesday, May 1, 2019, at Avera Brady Health and Rehab.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 AM Monday, May 6, 2019, at Holy Family Catholic Church. Burial will be at the Mount Vernon Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5-7:00 PM Sunday at Bittner Funeral Chapel in Mitchell, with a scripture service starting at 6:30 PM. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.
Russell Ordell Kirkus was born on January 19, 1926, at the Kirkus Homestead in Aurora County, SD to Harold and Lettie (Olsen) Kirkus. Russell graduated from Hopper Consolidated School as a member of the last graduating class of the school. He married LoDema Sibley on January 30, 1948, in Mt. Vernon, SD. To this union were born four children, Douglas, Denise, Kevin, and Stacy.
The couple started farming near Mt. Vernon and later Russell started working at Scott Supply Co. in 1956 before they moved into town where they resided for over fifty years. He was an active member of his community. He was a long-time volunteer with the Mt. Vernon Fire Department and served on the Mt. Vernon School Board and the Mt. Vernon City Council. Russell and wife were members and caretakers of the St. Michael’s Catholic Church for over 45 years.
He served 3 generations of the Scott family, as the Parts Manager and Truck Sales, retiring after 42 years. Farmers always appreciated his parts knowledge, getting them back into the fields quickly, but most importantly, he will always be remembered for his customer service.
They made the hard decision to move to Mitchell in 2010. After the passing of his wife and health issues, he moved into Countryside Assisted Living in 2015, eventually moving to Avera Brady Health and Rehab in November 2018.
Russell was well known for his craftsmanship and carpentry skills as he could build or fix anything. Russell and his wife took great pride in their yard in Mt. Vernon that included perfectly trimmed hedges and beautiful roses. Their efforts were recognized when they received Yard of the Month by the Mitchell Garden Club. They also sported one of the best Christmas light display in town. Most recently, Russell was excited about the formation of the Mt. Vernon Area Historical Society and re-purposing of St. Michael’s Catholic Church as a museum and community center.
Russell is survived by his son Douglas (Susan) Kirkus and his daughter Denise (Lyle) DeKruif of Mitchell, his son Kevin (Kristy) Kirkus of New Hampton, IA; grandchildren: Danielle DeKruif of Mitchell, Brant (Kimberly) DeKruif of Dell Rapids, Michael (Amelia) Kirkus of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jamie (Brad) Shatek of Elma, IA, and a step-grandson, Scott Thomas of Brookings; great-grandchildren Sophia Shatek and Henry DeKruif.
Other survivors include a nephew Chris Kirkus of Sioux Falls and a niece Kelly (Bill) Hinds of Aberdeen. He was preceded in death by his parents, his infant daughter Stacy, his wife of 66 years, LoDema, brother Delbert, and sister-in-law Corrine Kirkus.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred.