Joe Stratton, age 86

Joe Stratton

Joe Stratton, age 86, Kadoka, S.D., died Monday, July 3, 2017, at the Maryhouse Long Term Care in Pierre.
Wilbur Joseph (Joe) Stratton was born Nov. 22, 1930, at his Overman grandparents’ farm near Crookston, Neb. He was the second son of seven children – six boys and one girl – born to Bill and Josie (Overman) Stratton. 
Joe grew up near Wanblee and graduated from high school in Kadoka in 1950. After high school, he worked for area ranchers before entering the United States Army in 1952, where he deployed to Korea. He was honorably discharged in 1954 but remained in the Army Reserves until 1960. 
Joe was united in marriage to Betty Lou Allen June 9, 1956. Joe and Betty Lou moved to Billings, Mont., after Joe got a job at Firestone Tire while they were on their honeymoon. Two of their three children, Cynde and Dick, were born while they lived in Montana. The couple returned home to South Dakota in July 1958. In Kadoka, Joe was employed at the grain elevator and as the water superintendent before he started driving truck in various positions, including the U.S. mail truck. In retirement, Joe and Betty Lou owned several rental houses in Kadoka; he was a handyman who could fix or build almost anything.
Joe was a member of the United Presbyterian Church. He had a lifetime membership to American Legion Post 27; he belonged to the VFW in Rapid City and he was a founding member of the Kadoka Lions Club. Joe was a talented wood worker – he both built and refinished furniture. He donated his woodworking skills to several local projects, including building the concession stand at the Kadoka rodeo grounds and assisting with a Habitat for Humanity house in Pierre with the Lions Club. He also collected rare coins. 
Joe was a patriotic American and staunch conservative. He immensely enjoyed keeping up with current political events and discussing them with family and the coffee group at the local café, where he was a regular customer. Joe was also a fierce competitor at card games with family during holiday gatherings or weekends at the cabin; he was the scorekeeper and he usually won. 
Joe passed away July 3, 2017, at the Avera Maryhouse Hospice facility in Pierre surrounded by his family, who had been constantly at his bedside for the week he was in hospice care. 
Joe is survived by Betty Lou, his wife of 61 years; daughters, Cynde (Dennis) Stoakes, Hartford, and Rose Ann (Greg) Wendell, Pierre; son, Dick (Phyllis) Stratton, Hartford; granddaughter, Anna Stoakes-Wong (Nathan Wong), Valley Springs, and grandson, Preston Stoakes, El Paso, Texas; five stepgrandchildren; sister, Elaine Staben, Bozeman, Mont., and brothers, Stanley Stratton, Waverly, Kan., and Gary (Janet) Stratton, Great Bend, Kan.; and a sister-in-law, Jean Stratton, Loveland, Colo. 
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Jim, Jay and John (Jack). 
Services were held Friday, July 7, at the Presbyterian Church in Kadoka, with Pastors Gus Craven and Gary McCubbin officiating.
Military graveside services were at the Kadoka Cemetery.
Arrangements were with the Rush Funeral Chapel of Kadoka. His online guestbook is available at

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