Ray E. Kepplinger was born on a farm south of Scotland, S.D. on Dec. 28, 1932 to Frank and Myrtle (Ireland) Kepplinger. Later, the family moved to a farm west of Freeman, S.D., where he attended country grade school. He was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith of which he remained a member at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Scotland. He graduated from Scotland High School in 1950 after the family moved west of Olivet, S.D. While going to high school he worked for E. V. Wilcox and also his uncle, Pat Ireland, feeding cattle and doing farm work. For a time, he was employed at the Scotland Creamery as a milk truck driver when it was in full swing managed by Harry Nelson. In later years he was a feed salesperson for various feed companies.
In 1953, Ray was drafted into the U.S. Army and received his basic training at Camp Chaffee, Ark. in field wiring and switch board operations for the next two years which were served in Korea within the 38th parallel. He was honorably discharged in May of 1955. He returned to the farm, which gave him much pride.
Ray married Velma Bjorum on Sept. 29, 1956. Together they had two sons, Steven Scott and Kerry Keith. They worked side by side on the farm for many years. There were usually baby lambs at Christmas, calves in the spring and baby pigs year-round. He dedicated his entire working life to raising and feeding livestock.
In 2004 he attended the 50th Anniversary of the Korean War Memorial dedication in Pierre, S.D. In 2016, he received the Ambassador Peace Medal.
While at the nursing home he always enjoyed watching and listening to Pastor Harold Salem on the Christian Worship Hour. He peacefully passed away early Sunday morning, March 10, 2019, having attained the age of 86 years.
He is survived by his sons, Steve and Kerry (Kathy); grandsons Kyle (Kelsey), Kory and Kreg; siblings Clyde (Marilyn), Melvin and Norma Schamber, all of Scotland, and Clark (Alba) of Boynton Beach, Fla.; aunt Agnes Ireland of Faulkton, S.D.; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He is preceded in death by his parents; brother-in-law Marvin Schamber; sister-in-law Virginia Kepplinger; and niece Pam Schamber Cool.
Services were held Saturday, March 16 at Goglin Funeral Home in Scotland, with Rev. Terry Makelin officiating. Flag Presentation was given by Paul Grosshuesch, VFW Post #2966, and Joseph Verm, American Legion Post #155.
Burial followed at Rosehill Cemetery, Scotland. Active casketbearers were: Frank Burke, Michael Dvorak, James Smith, Kyle, Kory and Kreg Kepplinger. Honorary casketbearers were: James Dvorak, Lyle Ireland, Russell Ireland, Gary Konstanz, Frank Kloucek, Elton Lehr and Milo Schaeffer.