Betty J. Niemi, 89, of Buffalo, SD, passed away at Monument Health Spearfish Hospital on Dec. 6, 2020 due to COVID-19. A private graveside service will be held at a later date. There will be a public visitation for Betty on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Krebsbach and Kulseth Funeral Home Chapel in Bowman, ND. Family will be present from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Betty Joyce (Johnson) Niemi was born on Sept. 4, 1931 to George J. and Mamie E. (Stolnack) Johnson in Deadwood, SD. She was the oldest of ten children.
Betty attended country schools in Butte and Harding County, SD and Carter County, MT. She graduated from the eighth grade at Plainview School in Carter County in the spring of 1945. Her parents decided to delay her start of high school for one year so she and her sister, Doris, could go at the same time. Betty helped her parents on the ranch during that year, spending much of the time herding sheep along the Little Missouri River.
Betty attended the first nine-week session of her freshman year at Ekalaka High School and then transferred to Buffalo High School for the remainder of the year. She attended her sophomore year at Newell High School and her junior and senior years at Belle Fourche High School, graduating in 1950.
Betty earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at Montana State University, graduating in 1954. Betty worked as a Registered Nurse at the former John Burns Memorial Hospital in Belle Fourche, SD for one year prior to being married. After moving to Harding County, she used that nursing education countless times to provide medical assistance to Harding County residents at a time when there was no PA or active clinic in Buffalo.
Betty married John H. Niemi on Oct. 9, 1955 in Belle Fourche, SD. They lived their entire married life on the ranch four miles north of Buffalo. Betty continued to live at the ranch after John’s death in 2011 until moving to Peaceful Prairie Estates in Buffalo in 2017.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband, John, in July 2011; an infant daughter; one sister, Marilyn Schmidt; one brother, Doug Johnson; one sister-in-law and four brothers-in-law.
Betty is survived by four children, David (Roxie) Niemi of Buffalo, SD; Diane (Ross) Johnson of Townsend, MT; Dorene (Kelly) Lorge of Bowman, ND; and Debra Niemi of Rapid City, SD; one brother, Andy (Linda) Johnson of Rapid City, SD; six sisters, Doris Johnson of Rapid City, SD; Beverly Miller of Mission, TX; Darlene Schafer of Mission, TX; Arlene Reynolds of Rapid City, SD; Judy Johnson of Sioux Falls, SD, and Ida (Mel) Johnson of Apple Valley, MN; special cousins, Annitta Stolnack of Newell, SD and Janet Hardy of Largo, FL; and numerous nieces and nephews.