Udyene "Deanie" Christopherson
Udyene Lucille (Rubida) “Deanie” Christopherson was born on June 14, 1920 near Jefferson, South Dakota where her parents, Lawrence and Ruth, farmed. “Deanie” passed away on May 31, 2018 at Sanford Vermillion Care Center, just two weeks shy of age 98.
She grew up with two older sisters and three younger brothers and learned to herd and graze cattle in bare feet and also to milk cows by hand. Herding cattle between the highway and railroad tracks became even more exciting when a train came by and startled them into running off.
Deanie was especially interested in wild birds on the farm and spent a lot of time in the big fruit orchard learning about every bird of summer and investigating their nests and eggs. She was also known to frequently climb up the outside of the silo using just her hands and bare feet. When her Dad saw her doing it, he quickly put a stop to that form of childhood entertainment!
Deanie and her siblings all attended country grade school at Pleasant View District #14 in Union County. Walking to school and cutting across pastures caused many experiences of Deanie being chased by various bulls and cows in the fields.
She attended four years of high school in Elk Pont, SD, graduating in 1937. Deanie participated in music, band, home economics and declamatory activities, as well as school dances. Typing and shorthand were her favorite subjects. After high school she worked at various part time jobs to earn enough to start higher education at Southern State Teachers College in Springfield, SD and earned her teaching certificate.
Deanie then went on to teach country grade school at the very same location where she attended for eight years herself….Pleasant View #14 in Union County! During her teaching tenure she married Dallas Christopherson, a jeweler and watchmaker from Vermillion on June 30, 1941. They moved to Vermillion, where she substitute taught and worked at JC Penney’s and Dallas Jewelry.
Shortly after Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, Dallas was sent to US Navy training in San Diego, CA. Deanie followed him to California and secured employment at Douglas Aircraft Company in Santa Monica. Dallas was on board a ship in the Pacific for three solid years until the end of the war in 1945 when they were reunited in Los Angeles. Together they owned and operated Dallas Jewelry in Vermillion for 50 years beginning in 1946. Dallas passed away in 1996.
In 2000, Deanie and Van Pierce became partners and each other’s support system. Van died in 2013.
Deanie is survived by her brother Larry, three children, Dan, Sally & Tim; six grandchildren; Michael, Megan, Barry, Becky, John, Sarah; and nine great grandchildren; Samantha, Truman, Peyton, Dallas, Presley, Marley, Jackson, Grant and Madelyn.
Funeral Mass will be 11:00 AM Tuesday, June 5 at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Vermillion with burial to follow in the Calvary Cemetery in Vermillion. Visitation will begin at 9:30 AM on Tuesday at the church.