Waneta L. Ragels: 1938-2022
Waneta L. Ragels, 83, of Rapid City, S.D., passed away on Nov. 27, 2022 at the Westhills Village Healthcare Center.
Born Waneta Schrag on Dec. 1, 1938 to Edward and Elsie Schrag, she was the youngest of three children with older brothers Dellis and Larry. She grew up on the family farm east of Freeman, S.D. Waneta graduated from Freeman Junior College in 1956 with a one-year Teachers Training Course Certificate.
She met Bob Bailey at junior college and they married in 1958. To this union two children were born, Keith and Kristi. They moved to Rosebud, S.D. in 1962 to teach. Waneta continued working on her degree during the summers and graduated from Southern State Teachers College with a BS in elementary education in 1971. After a brief move to Montana, Waneta returned to Rosebud to continue teaching.
She met and married Jack Lee in 1971 and moved to White River, S.D. They owned the Lariat Market with Waneta running the dry goods portion and Jack running the grocery store. Her last years in White River she commuted to Mission, S.D. and worked in the Todd County School District. Even though her stay in White River wasn’t that long, those years solidified White River as “home” with lifelong friendships made.
Waneta moved to Rapid City in 1984 to work on her master’s degree in guidance and counseling, graduating in 1985. From 1987 to 1990 she worked for the Custer Elementary School System; in 1990-1991 as a special education aide at Death Valley Elementary in Death Valley, Calif.; and from 1991 to 1993 as a guidance counselor for the Rapid City School System.
She married the love of her life, Richard (Dick) Ragels, in 1993. While working for Xanterra Parks, Dick and Waneta traveled in their motor home, and lived for extended periods of time in Death Valley; Petrified Forest, Ariz.; Unicoi State Park, Ga.; and Crater Lake, Oregon while keeping their home base in Rapid City. From 2003 to 2005 they owned and operated the Meadowbrook Pub and Grill at the Meadowbrook Golf Course in Rapid City. Deciding to retire, they embarked on some wonderful motor home adventures. They traveled with the Nomads, a mission outreach ministry and provided labor for all of sorts of construction projects. Waneta embraced Dick’s family and they spent many precious times with the kids and grandkids. Sadly, Dick passed away in 2009. She then worked for Robbinsdale Casino, enjoying the people she worked with and the regulars who came in.
In 2019 she moved into an independent apartment at Westhills Village. Waneta embraced everything Westhills Village had to offer, from the exercise classes to the social hours to singing with Village Voices and volunteering at the Pantry. She loved being on Pactola Lake with the boat crew, played many a mean game of cards, was active in her church, traveled with family and close friends and celebrated life’s special moments. She loved celebrating. Her friendly outgoing, never say no attitude will be missed by all who knew her and that beautiful smile will always shine in our hearts.
Waneta is survived by two children, Keith (Barb) Bailey of Chamberlain, S.D. and Kristi (Bill) Barber of Rapid City; nephews Bob (Kaye) Schrag, Rob (Jenn) Schrag and Blaine, Marion S.D.; Wendy (Tony) Schrag and Koryn of Beaverton, Oregon; Myranda (Daniel) Moser and Emersyn, Hadley, Bentley, Everly and Jamison of Rock Rapids, Iowa; her adopted family: Laurie Randolph and Jamie (Mark) LeVake and Gabe, Lily, Collin and Evelyn of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Katie (Dickson) Pongrekun and Faith and Michael of Leadville, Colo.; Aaron (Nikita) Randolph and Erik, Andy and Olivia of Newell, S.D.; Trent (Megan) Randolph and Autumn and Harper of San Diego, Calif.; Beth (Lawrence “Woody”) Welke, Lindsay (Reid) Johnson-Brooks and Beckett and Easton, Sydney (Tyler) Weikel and Oliver of Omaha, Neb., and grandson Adam (Hannah) Welke of Lincoln, Neb.; Nancy (Bill) Ahrendt, Nicole Diane and daughter Madeleine, Courtnee Frick of Omaha; and Cody (Corinda) Frick of Wheatland, Wyo.; Amy (Joel) Wing, Emily (Thomas) Beebe and Grayson, Alex (Caylynn) Wing, Sarah Wing, Rachel Wing, all of Bennington, Neb.; Jake Wing of the United States Army; and her sister-in-law, Joyce (Mike) Darling of Deadwood, S.D.
Visitation and a funeral was held Dec. 2 at Canyon Lake United Methodist Church in Rapid City, with Pastor Scott McKirdy and Pastor Stephanie Eliason presiding.
A memorial has been established with Big Brother/Big Sisters of the Black Hills, and Oglala Pet Project. Friends may sign Waneta’s online guestbook at kirkfuneralhome.com.