Diane Stahl: 1930-2023
Diane Zoe (Wipf) Stahl, beloved mother, grandmother and aunt, was born in the brick house just east of Bridgewater, S.D. on March 11, 1930. She was the youngest of three children born to Joe S and Susie (Hofer) Wipf. She passed away peacefully in her home on Aug. 31, 2023, at the age of 93.
She attended school in Bridgewater and graduated from Bridgewater High School in 1948. Shortly after graduation on May 30, 1948, Diane was united in marriage to Mike M. Stahl. The wedding was officiated by her uncle, Michael J. Hofer in the Zion Mennonite Church in Bridgewater. They began farming east of Bridgewater and operated a Holstein dairy farm for 37 years. They were blessed with five children. On June 28, 1998, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Mike passed away in 1999 and Diane carried on.
Diane was a strong, hard-working farmer’s wife milking cows and feeding calves. Mom enjoyed farm life. She loved the cows, the dogs and her many cats. Mom especially treasured being able to stay in her home on the farm until her passing. Two factors allowed her to do that: her feisty and stubborn nature and the constant and increasing care given by her son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Sue. She was very grateful for their help.
Mom continued to care for the farm acreage, mowing with the tractor and mower, picking up branches, etc. until she fell and broke her hip in 2016. After she recovered, she continued in a more limited fashion, mowing with the riding mower even until recently (with supervision). She enjoyed the freedom her golf cart gave her to move about: inspecting the farm, tending to her garden, flowers, and rhubarb, feeding her cats, and supervising the upkeep of the property. After some persistent coaxing last year, she finally agreed not to drive the golf cart on the gravel roads near her house to pick up trash and aluminum cans. As far as we know, she abided by that agreement.
One of her other joys was the many long-time friends and relatives that she kept in contact with. She enjoyed writing and receiving cards and telephone calls. To the end, Mom maintained her sharp wit and was constantly working on crossword puzzles. She enjoyed board games and attending her grandchildrens’ activities. She was an avid storyteller, and her grandchildren enjoyed many hours of conversation sitting at her kitchen table. Her family looked forward to her tradition of calling and singing Happy Birthday on their birthday. She had a love of music and encouraged her family to develop it. She was a proud Bridgewater Wildcat, a regular attendee at the Bridgewater Alumni Banquet, and a past President and Vice President of the Alumni Association. She was honored at this year’s alumni banquet for being the oldest graduate in attendance.
Most important to Mom was her faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. She was baptized upon her confession of faith by her uncle, Rev. Michael J. Hofer. Perhaps her most consistent endeavor (besides her children) was helping at the church she attended and being with the friends she had there. She was a faithful member of Neu Hutterthal Mennonite Church in rural Bridgewater for over 70 years. There, she was a member of the Willing Workers ladies’ group, taught Vacation Bible School, and directed the annual Christmas Program. Throughout her time at Neu Hutterthal, Mom found great meaning and joy regularly teaching Sunday School class, spending many hours each week preparing for it. The last lesson she taught was just four days before her passing. She felt everyone needed daily spiritual guidance, so she regularly mailed the quarterly devotional, Daily Bread, out to family members and anyone else she felt would use it.
Those remaining with loving memories are children: Karen and Dennis Brannan, Garden Grove, Calif.; Dorothy and Roger Thomas, Bismarck, N.D.; Barry Stahl, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Brian and Sue Stahl, Sioux Falls; and Michael and Sue Stahl, Bridgewater; grandchildren: Tyler Brannan, Drew (Kayla) Thomas, Jessica (Eric) Flock, Meghan Stahl, Zachary Stahl, Nicole Stahl, Katelyn Stahl (Chase Jensen), Emily Stahl (Jon Landon); great-grandchild: Brooks Michael Thomas; sisters-in-law: Mary Stahl, Sioux Falls, Joann Stahl, Bridgewater and Judy Stahl, Freeman; brother-in-law: Jacob Stahl, Sioux Falls; nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
Preceding her in death were her husband, an infant son, parents, twin siblings Marvin Wipf and Nadine Wipf, brother and sister-in-law’s: Anna Stahl, Paul and Hulda Stahl, Kathryn and Marvin Hofer, John and Deloris Stahl, William Stahl, Marvin Stahl and Melvin Stahl.