Wyona Hofer, 93
Wyona Elisabeth Holzwarth, daughter of Theodore and Pauline (Frey) Holzwarth, was born on Dec. 9, 1930, in Hutchinson County and passed away on Jan. 15, 2024, at Oakview Terrace in Freeman. Visitation will be at noon on Friday, Jan. 19, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Freeman, S.D., with a funeral service to follow at 1:30 p.m.
Wyona was baptized on Feb. 22, 1931, by Rev. Huenemann at Johannestal Reformed Church of rural Freeman. Rev. Korn confirmed her in May 1945 at the same church. She graduated from Freeman High School in 1948, and attended Mitchell Business School. After business school graduation, she worked for one year as the secretary for the president of a Sioux Falls telephone company.
On June 25, 1950, Wyona was united in marriage to Harris L. Hofer, and they established their home in Freeman. This union was blessed with three children: Patricia Ann, Theodore Joseph and Keith Calvin (K.C.). Wyona and Harris were a very social couple and enjoyed traveling, especially to Harris’ Navy reunions. On June 25, 1990, Harris and Wyona shared their 40th wedding anniversary together with family and friends.
Upon instruction and confirmation, Wyona joined St. Paul Lutheran Church in Freeman in April 1951. She remained a faithful member of St Paul’s until her death. Over the years, Wyona served the church willingly and dutifully in many ways, including Sunday school teacher, Vacation Bible School teacher, Ladies Aid, and the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. She also took an active role in many community organizations over the years, including the American Legion Auxiliary, Extension Club, the Hospital Auxiliary, and the Senior Citizens Center.
Wyona worked part-time alongside her husband at Merchants State Bank for many years. Their purchase of the bank in 1968 was the start of what is now a third-generation family business on Freeman’s Main Street. Both Wyona and Harris instilled in their children and grandchildren the importance of giving back to and supporting the community that supported them, as they grew the bank business over the years. One of her favorite things to remind her granddaughter, Emily, is that “to one who is given much, much is expected.” Wyona often called Emily in the mornings to make sure she was hard at work at the bank!
In addition to working at the bank, Wyona was also a substitute clerk at the US Post Office for 30 years, serving as the Officer in Charge of the Bridgewater PO for some time. She retired from the PO in 1990 to stay home to help care for her husband.
In addition to her travels around the world with dear friends, Wyona also enjoyed researching family genealogy. She maintained very detailed histories of the Holzwarth and Pullman families, and for many years was the driving force to keep family reunions on everyone’s calendars. Wyona’s gift and joy for piecing beautiful quilts was passed on to her granddaughter, Laura. She also passed her love for reading on to her children and grandchildren. “You’re never too old to learn something new, and reading is like time travel in your mind.” Her competitive spirit was evident when she played cards. There were no free passes with her when she was playing pinochle or bridge, and she was always willing to learn new games with her family.
Wyona resided at the Salem Home for the past few years. She was complimentary of the care given there and formed many friendships with the residents.
Left to mourn Wyona’s passing are a son Keith Hofer (Joann Smith) of Marion, S.D.; daughter-in-law Cindy Hofer of Sioux Falls, S.D.; granddaughter Laura Hofer (Chris Hoff), great-grandsons Brady and Jordan Hoff of Sioux Falls; granddaughter Emily Hofer (Jake O’Brien) of Freeman; sister Gloria Schnabel of Emery, S.D.; sister-in-law Alice Holzwarth of Parker, S.D.; and many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
Preceding her in death are her husband Harris in 1991, daughter Patricia in 1969, son Theodore in 2015, sister Norma Chamberlain in 1984, brother John Holzwarth in 2015, father Theodore Holzwarth in 1995 and mother Pauline Holzwarth in 2000.
God bless her memory!