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Norris Meland

June 27, 1931 ~ July 28, 2018 (age 87)

Norris S. Meland, age 87, of Wallace, SD passed away on Saturday, July 28th, under hospice care at Ava’s House in Sioux Falls, SD.  He was diagnosed with cancer three months ago. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, August 3, 2018, at New Helgen Lutheran Church in Florence, SD. Rev. Mindy Ehrke will officiate. Music will be provided by Dorothy Anderson as organist. The family is requested to meet by 10:00 a.m. at the church on Friday for a family prayer service.

Visitation will be at Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel in Watertown on Thursday from 4-8 p.m. and prior to the service at the church on Friday.

Burial will be at Goodhue Lutheran Cemetery in Florence. Military graveside honors will be conducted by Codington County Post #17 of the American Legion, Watertown, and the Funeral Honors Team of the U.S. Air Force. Honorary pallbearers will be the Watertown Chapter of Gideons. Active pallbearers will be Norris’s grandchildren: Luke Meland, Jordan Meland, Mark Meland, Lars Meland, Tanya Meland, Kristian Asfeldt and Hannah Asfeldt.

Norris was born on June 27th, 1931, in Waubay, SD, to Arthur and Agnes (Larson) Meland. He grew up on the family farm and attended the Meland District #53 country school, graduating from Wallace High School in 1949.  Following high school, he farmed with Lars Arneson near Florence, SD.  In 1952, Norris enrolled in the US Air Force and served four years as a diesel mechanic.  He was stationed in Alaska, California, Texas, and New Mexico. After his honorable discharge, Norris earned a Bachelor’s degree in Ag Education from SDSU and later returned for a Master’s degree in School Administration.

Norris married Lorraine Hagen on June 26th, 1960.  After teaching two years in New Effington, SD, they began ten years of service as mission educators with the American Lutheran Church in Papua New Guinea.  Norris directed a boarding school including food production, served as a headmaster for an agricultural school, and developed curriculum for vocational education, but first and foremost, he was devoted to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Norris and Lorraine returned to the Florence area in 1972 with their children, Nathan, Steven, and Karen in order to re-establish their roots and spend time with their aging parents. The circle was completed by 16-year-old Dongau (Song) Singin, who traveled from New Guinea to live with the Melands in Florence for one year. The family eventually moved to the Hagen family farm in 1976, where Norris pursued his love for farming.

Norris served as the high school principal in Florence and later became superintendent.  In 1981, he became the director of the multi-district career center in Watertown, SD and thoroughly enjoyed his 13 years of service to vocational education.  Following their retirement, Norris and Lorraine became winter Texans for 13 years. His beloved Lorraine died on January 12, 2009, after 48 years of marriage.

Norris was actively involved with the Gideons International Association as he distributed Bibles and gave many presentations at local churches.  He was a loyal member of the New Helgen Lutheran Church and served in many different roles. He was the Eden township clerk for many years and involved with the St. Pauli and Goodhue cemetery associations. Norris liked tinkering with tractors and enthusiastically competed in many tractor pulls with his Farmall.  He also helped Nathan and his sons with whatever needed to be done around the farm and really looked forward to the haying season.

Norris took great joy in sharing time with his seven grandchildren, from telling stories about “Gray Wolf” as he tucked them in bed during their early years to providing advice from his many years of life experience as they grew older.

He was a grateful person who always looked for the best in others, frequently engaged people in conversation, and will be remembered for his curiosity, quick wit, and ability to creatively solve problems and bring a sense of fun to any situation.

Norris is survived by his two sons, Nathan (Kathy) Meland, of Wallace, SD, and Steven (Laura Bradfield) Meland, of Sioux Falls, SD; one daughter, Karen (Thomas) Asfeldt, of Sioux Falls, SD; seven grandchildren: Luke, Mark, and Jordan Meland, Lars and Tanya Meland and Kristian and Hannah Asfeldt; two brothers,  Arvid (Paulette) Meland, of Sturgis, SD, and Gerald (Joyce) Meland, of Watertown, SD; and one sister-in-law Corinne (Miguel) Colón, of Sioux Falls, SD.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Lorraine, and his parents.

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