TISKILWA — James Leonard "Hessie" Denholm of Tiskilwa passed away of natural causes Saturday, April 27, 2013, at Methodist Hospital in Peoria.
He was born Feb. 11, 1919, to John James Denholm and Laura Anna Mathis Denholm at the Denholm Farm Homestead south of Andover, S.D. He attended elementary school in District 217-18 and graduated from Andover Public High School in 1938. Leonard enlisted in the South Dakota National Guard from 1934 to 1939. On Aug. 25, 1939, he married Ellen Emma Brown in Sisseton, S.D. The wedding dance was held in Eden, S.D. This union of marriage continued for 27 years.
He farmed from 1945 to 1981 in the Andover, Webster and Waubay area. Leonard served on the school boards in Scotland and Racine Townships, the Day County ASC committee, the Farmers Union Oil Co-op Board of Directors, was county chairman of the Day County Farmers Union for several years, secretary of the Third District Farmers Union for several years and was a delegate to the National Democratic Convention in San Francisco, Calif., in 1984. In 1988 he was elected South Dakota Delegate to the Electoral College in Washington, D.C.
Leonard served as a field representative for the South Dakota Farmers Union from 1949 until 1951. During that time he organized three Farmers Union Co-op Oil Stations, four Farmers Elevator Associations, three Federal Credit Unions and consulted for several other Farm Co-operatives in South Dakota. He managed the Day County Farmers Union Shipping Association in the early 1950s. In 1960 he was an organizational coordinator for a Farmers Co-op Milk Drying Plant at Waubay, S.D. He was well-known in his home community from engaging in custom farm work, sheep shearing and haystack moving. He married Audrey M. Duncan of Tiskilwa on Nov. 8, 1992.
After his marriage to Audrey, they traveled the country visiting family and friends. He was a member of the Boyd's Grove Methodist Church, working with the Boyd's United Methodist Men's Service, served on the voting polls until the age of 93, he volunteered with Hospice and visited many shut-ins throughout the area. He and Audrey had a winter home in Ocala, Fla., for a few years where they enjoyed the warmer weather. He loved to work and had the patience to fix anything he put his hands on. Working past his retirement, he continued farming in the area and at home.
Leonard is survived by Audrey, his wife of 21 years, and eight children from his first marriage, two daughters and six sons, Twyla Denholm Barron of Sioux Falls, S.D., Ila Denholm Thompson of Webster, S.D., James W. Denholm of Rapid City, S.D., Jerry J. Denholm of Omaha, Neb., Arby C. Denholm of Granbury, Texas, Scott J. Denholm of Sioux Falls, S.D., Dan F. Denholm of Bellview, Neb., and Rocky L. Denholm of Sioux Falls, S.D. He has two surviving sisters, Marietta Morehouse of Austin, Texas, and Annetta Belle Dedrickson Smith of Arlington, Texas; one brother, Frank E. Denholm of Brookings, S.D.; more than 20 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; three stepdaughters, Sandy Stewart of Mesa, Ariz., Shirley Feurer of Lynnwood, Wash., and Joann Golden of Henry; three stepgrandaughters, Jennifer Tucker of Henry, Mariah Calkins of MountLake, Wash., and Tess Prange of Belleview, Neb.; and six stepgreat-grandchilden.
Preceding him in death are three brothers, John Millard Denholm of Webster, S.D., Robert Lawrence Denholm of Denver, Colo., and Burdette Elroy Denholm of Webster, S.D.; one sister, Laura Jean Golden of El Monte, Calif.; and his mother and father. Leonard lost a son and twin daughters in infancy.
A memorial service will be held at the Boyd’s Grove United Methodist Church in Bradford, at a later date.
Burial and funeral services are being provided by Coester Funeral Home in Webster, S.D., at 2 p.m. Monday.