Gene Stensland, 86, of Ludlow, S.D., passed away at his home in Buffalo, S.D., surrounded by his family on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. Funeral services for Gene were on Saturday, March 25, 2017 at the Harding County Rec Center in Buffalo, S.D., at 2 p.m. Beau Butts officiated with burial to follow in the Buffalo Cemetery. There was a public visitation on Friday with the family greeting friends from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Rec Center.
Eugene (Gene) V. Stensland was born to Owen and Elena (Nina) Giannonatti Stensland on Aug. 7, 1930, the youngest of three children. He was delivered by his father in the old stone house at the ranch near Ludlow, S.D. The umbilical cord was around his neck, but since some people called him the “human calculator,” it obviously didn’t cause any brain damage. Gene attended Lincoln grade school and graduated from Buffalo High School in 1948. He attended the South Dakota School of Mines and joined the U.S. Army in 1953. On Jan. 23, 1954, Gene married Dakota (Coty) Brengle. They lived in Germany until 1955 when he was honorably discharged, and they moved to the ranch at Ludlow, S.D. To this union five children born. He loved serving on boards-Lincoln School Board, Harding County School Board, Farmers Union Board, and Grand Electric Board of Directors. He was serving Harding County School as the representative when NorthWest Area Schools was formed. Gene was a former member of the Ludlow Volunteer Fire Department and provided maintenance on the truck for many years. He was a member of the American Legion, Cedar Branch Lodge #179, Shriners, Naja Cowboys, and Loyal Order of Moose. Gene enjoyed visiting with everyone and had a great time telling jokes, teasing, cracking one-liners, and singing “ditties” to his kids and grandkids.
His wit was quick and could be colorful! He was cracking one-liners to the end: the doctor thumping on his back asked, “Does this hurt?” His reply was “No, you don’t hit as hard as my wife,” or “You need oxygen?”
“Ahh, just get an air compressor.” His fiery, redheaded temper was matched by his love of having fun, be it hamming it up with grandkids in a photo booth, doing the chicken dance (at the age of 81), or playing pinochle hour after hour!
Sometimes Gene was called Mr. Fix It. He could fix almost anything: appliances, vehicles, wiring, and bald tires! He loved the challenge of patching tires to see how long he could drive on them! Gene is survived by his wife, Coty; one son, Ryan; four daughters, Lori (Tom) Wilson, Kim (Dan) Johnson, Leslie Strand, and Stacy (Tom) Burns; 15 grandchildren, 20+ great grandchildren; one brother, Mial; two sisters-in-law, Farrol Thompson and Maurine (Leet) Fowler and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Owen and Nina; parents-in-law, Maurice and Margaret Brengle; sister, Gladys (Neilo) Oja; sister-in-law, Susan Stensland; brother-in-law, Don Thompson; and one grandson and one great-granddaughter
Krebsbach and Kulseth Funeral Services of Bowman was in charge of the arrangements.