Ray Lapka

Ray Lapka


July 23, 1945 - February 27, 2024


Ray Lapka, 78, of Mitchell, SD, died on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, at his home. Funeral services will be at 10:30 AM Monday, March 4, at First United Methodist Church in Mitchell with visitation one hour prior to the funeral service. Burial will be in Servicemen's Memorial Cemetery in Mitchell. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

Ray Lapka was born July 23, 1945, in Aberdeen, SD, to Laverne and Elta (Bain) Lapka and raised on a farm near Leola.

He attended a one-room school through the 8th grade and graduated from Leola High School in 1963. He earned a degree in auto mechanics from Southern State College, Springfield, SD, graduating in January 1966. On Dec. 27, 1965, he married Barbara Mae Sperle. The couple moved to Mitchell, where he worked for and later managed Phillips 66 gas stations. He entered the United States Army in May 1966 and served with the artillery in Vietnam, returning home in November 1967. He worked at Trail King for 26 years and retired in 2010.

Ray will be remembered for his great sense of humor. He loved to spend time in the Black Hills and knew it like the back of his hand. He often took friends and family on tours of the Hills. In his younger days, he hunted deer and antelope, and had many good hunting stories. In his later years, he hunted prairie dogs. He had a lot of fun on his 4-wheeler driving pastures or local roads.

He enjoyed spending time playing pinochle in a couple card clubs and with family. He especially enjoyed spending time with his kids, grandkids and great-grandchildren, who knew him as Grandpa M for his unending supply of M&Ms. Coca-Cola, Baby Ruths and oatmeal raisin cookies also satisfied his sweet tooth. Ray loved the Grand Ole Opry. Ray and Barb took several cruises with the Larry's Country Diner crew.

His memory will be cherished by his wife Barb of 58 years; three children: Lilah (Mike) Gillis, Yankton, Corey Lapka, Mitchell, Heidi (Brian) Pringle, Sioux Falls; 8 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; and his sister, Eileen Merkel, Newport News, VA.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers.


Monday, March 4, 2024
9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
First United Methodist Church
310 N Rowley St
Mitchell, SD 57301


Monday, March 4, 2024
10:30 AM
First United Methodist Church
310 N Rowley St
Mitchell, SD 57301


Servicemen's Memorial Cemetery
Mitchell, SD

Posted by Linda Aldrich on March 10, 2024
Condolences to the Lapka family. Ray was one of the good guys.
Posted by Al and Donna Christianson on March 4, 2024
Remembering all the fun times at Holy Spirit. Barb, you and your family have our deepest sympathy. We will keep you all in our prayers.
Posted by Sandy Grosz on March 4, 2024
Thinking of you today,Barb
Posted by Don and Faye Kallas on March 3, 2024
Our hearts go out to the family.
Ray was a great friend and classmate.
He seemed to always have a great attitude and encourager.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family!
May God comfort you through this very difficult time!
Posted by Rose Nesheim on March 3, 2024
So sorry for your loss Barb and family. You are in my prayers.
Posted by Alice Mentele on March 2, 2024
Barb and family, My deepest condolences on the loss of your husband and father. I have so many wonderful memories of your family. May God bless you during this difficult time.
Posted by Charlotte Kraemer on March 2, 2024
My sympathies to Barb & the family. Ray was a good friend in our Class of 1963. Hugs, thoughts & prayers!
Posted by Kalen Shuck on March 2, 2024
My condolences to the family
Posted by Joe and Helen Puetz on March 1, 2024
Barb and family. So sorry for your loss. Our prayers and thoughts are with you all. Joe and Helen
Posted by Jo and Garry Freier on March 1, 2024
Barb and family, our sympathies are with you and pray the warm, loving memories will provide you comfort in the days ahead.
Posted by Amy and Phil Kempf on March 1, 2024
Hugs and prayers to your family at this difficult time. 🙏
Posted by Mary Ann Osen on February 29, 2024
So sorry to see that Ray has passed. Hugs t and prayers to you and your fa ily
Posted by Steve Sandgren on February 29, 2024
Ray was one of my greatest friends and hunting partner. My sympathy goes out to Barb and his children. May God Bless him on his journey
Posted by Pat A Helgeland on February 29, 2024
I was so sorry to hear about Ray. I worked with him at Haven's & Burr 66. My thoughts and prayers go out to Barb and the family.
Posted by Hollie karber on February 29, 2024
Barb so sorry to hear of Ray's passing, He was a great guy.
Thoughts and prayers for you all.
Posted by Rhonda Pudwill-Munier on February 29, 2024
I am so sorry to hear of Rays death. We have just had too many losses in our family this year already. May Gods peace help you through this difficult time.
Posted by Tim Wermers on February 29, 2024
I worked with Ray at Trail King. A nice man. Sympathy to his family.
Posted by Elwin Hohn on February 29, 2024
My deepest sympathy, may God grant you strength through this difficult time.
Posted by Jim Carr on February 29, 2024
Sorry for your loss.
Posted by Marsha Wagner on February 29, 2024
Barb...hugs and prayers for you and your family. God bless you all.
Posted by Linda on February 28, 2024
Praying Gods peace for your family 🙏.
Posted by Dennis Brown on February 28, 2024
I met Ray in college and have never had a finer friend. May your spirit wander the Black Hills you loved until we meet again.
Posted by Colette Stadlman on February 28, 2024
Barb, I didn’t know or I would have given you a hug at the dentist office. Hugs friend.
Posted by Jackie Christiansen on February 28, 2024
I worked with Ray at Trail King. He was always a very kind, friendly and gentle man. REST IN PEACE RAY
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