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Leora Ortman

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Leora Ann Ortman, age 95, of Freeman, SD, died April 30, 2020 at Oakview Terrace.  Due to current health care precautions, there will be private grave side services at the Salem Zion Mennonite Church.  A public service and celebration of her life will be held once gathering concerns have ceased.

Born to Joseph J. and Marie (Albrecht) Graber on June 22, 1924, Leora grew up on a farm a few miles northeast of Freeman SD with her two sisters, Elta and Bernita, and two brothers, Hilbert and Johnny.

Leora graduated high school from Freeman Academy, and then went on to Freeman Junior College and Black Hills State.  She then taught in several surrounding communities, and in 1952, set off on an adventure of teaching for one year in Tenakee Springs, Alaska.  Upon returning to South Dakota, she completed her Bachelor’s Degree earning a teaching degree from Augustana College in 1955.  Leora married Walter Ortman on June 8, 1957, and together taught in Allakaket, Alaska, for 5 more years.

After returning from Alaska, they settled down on the farmstead that Walter was born on near Canistota.  Leora continued to teach as a substitute teacher in several surrounding towns.  In the mid-seventies, she started working at the Good Samaritan Home in Canistota and retired from there after 19 years.

Upon retirement, Leora and Walter moved to a house in Freeman where she continued to stay busy by working at the Salem Mennonite Home and volunteering at the Et Cetera Shop.  She loved to garden and travel, but her favorite hobby was bird watching.

Leora is survived by her sons, Ross (Teri Abel) of Sioux Falls, SD and Karl of Owatonna, MN, and brother Johnny of Freeman, SD.  She was preceded in death by her parents, two sisters, Elta and Bernita, and brother Hilbert.