Home is what you make of it and Lucille Dwyer, who passed away peacefully in Sioux Falls on Monday, November 9, 2020 made a lot of hers! She packed her tiny first home, the “little white house on Summit Avenue,” as her entire family affectionately remembers it, not just with her husband and 3 children, but with a rotating collection of relatives, shirt-tail relatives, friends and friends of friends. All were fed, made welcome, and left with loving memories of their time under Lu’s roof.
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Lucille Alvina Peterson Dwyer, was born August 7, 1923 on the “Hill Farm” northwest of Wakonda, South Dakota and was the second of Bert and Inga Anderson Peterson’s six children. She attended and graduated Wakonda public school and in 1941 married Gene Dwyer, also a native of Wakonda. They were married 79 years until Gene’s death on September 3, 2020. In 1946, after Gene’s discharge from the Army Air Corps, Gene and Lu moved from Wakonda to Sioux Falls and were blessed with three children; Barbara, Thomas and Cindy. All were raised in the little white house on Summit Avenue. Gene supported, put up with, and deeply loved his wife, his kids, and even the sometimes overpacked boarding house of love that was Lucille’s life’s work.
During those lean, early years, Lu baked, sewed clothes for her growing family, fixed the plumbing, painted, tiled the floors and did home carpentry. Those years previewed the caring for others that would come to define Lucille Dwyer to all who knew her as she poured her energies into caring for her own parents, other elderly relatives and neighborhood friends. That caring continued to be on display where Lu took in her grandchildren for multiple summers and became friends with seemingly every kid within miles during nearly 10 years she and Gene lived in Kansas City after his job was moved there from Sioux Falls in 1977. Lu’s big heart was further on display after 1985 when she and Gene returned to Sioux Falls and over the years turned the sunroom of their new home into a loving, sometimes months long hospice for her sister’s husband, her son’s wife, and finally her own husband as they gently passed away.
Lucille is survived by her daughters, Barbara (Peter) Stavrianos, Myersville, Maryland and Cindy Dwyer, Sioux Falls. Grandchildren Cindy Stavrianos (Joe Gardner), Spokane, Washington; Michael Stavrianos (Zoya Gleizer), Potomac, Maryland; Christopher Stavrianos (Jennifer), San Diego, California; Patrick (Tabitha) Dwyer; Ryan Dwyer; Kathleen (Jon) Brudvig, all of Sioux Falls. Great-grandchildren, Chloe and Jacob Stavrianos, Potomac, Maryland; Athena, Nikolas, and Eleni Stavrianos, San Diego, California; Alexis and Johnessa Dwyer; Julian and Emerson Brudvig, all of Sioux Falls and one great-great grandson, Thomas Dwyer, Sioux Falls. One brother, Kenneth (Ilene) Peterson, Wakonda, South Dakota; sister-in-laws Jean (Dale) Peterson; Audrey (Bernell) Peterson and a host of beloved nieces and nephews.
Lu was preceded in death by her husband of 79 years, Gene Dwyer; son Tom (Jeri) Dwyer; her parents Herbert R. and Inga Anderson Peterson; brothers Milo, Dale and Bernell Peterson; sister Darlene Sabag and daughter-in-law Karen Dwyer.
In her last years, Lucille was deeply frustrated by her growing inability to do as much for others as she used to do. Her fierce determination to continue despite maladies ranging from macular degeneration to severe arthritis and circulatory failure seemed to her family to be born of the belief there was always one more thing she needed to do for someone. With the passing of her beloved husband, Gene, and son Tom and finally discovering that maybe her two daughters could manage without her, Lu decided on November 9th that she could rest and those remaining behind would be okay. She, her courage, her compassion, and even her sometimes bossy belief that she knew best what you needed and would get it for you come hell or high water, will be deeply missed by all who knew her.
Public visitation will be held two hours prior to services at the Hansen Funeral Home in Irene, SD. Family burial services will be graveside at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 18, at Union Cemetery near Wakonda, SD. To protect against Covid 19, all attendees are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing. A celebration of life will occur at a later, safer date. In Lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to be directed to Ava’s Hospice Program or the Wakonda United Methodist Church.