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Denise L. Sotka, age 79, of Watertown, SD, passed away on Saturday, January 20, 2024, at Prairie Lakes Hospital. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 25, 2024, at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Watertown. Rev. Paul Kuckhahn will officiate. Music will be provided by Julie Sulzle as organist. The family is requested to meet at the church on Thursday by 10:00 a.m. for a prayer service.
Visitation will be at Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel in Watertown on Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. and prior to services at the church on Thursday. Burial will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Watertown. Active pallbearers will be Darrick Koch, Mike Starr, Bob Starr, Rod Koch, Dillon Koch and Dean Walsh.
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our “Bingo Queen” Denise (Koch) Sotka. She was a beloved mother, grandmother, soon to be great-grandmother, and friend, who left this world at the age of 79. She peacefully departed on Saturday, January 20th surrounded by her loving family. Born on a spooky fall night on October 30th, 1944 in Watertown, SD to Otto and Lucille Koch. She was a spunky woman of grace, kindness, and unwavering strength. On July 3rd 1968, Denise married the love her life Eugene “Sudsy” Sotka. Together they dedicated their lives to creating a warm and nurturing home for their two daughters, Nikki (Greg) Gronau and Kristi (Kerry) Jurgens both of Watertown. As a mother, she imparted valuable life lessons and instilled a sense of compassion, resilience, and love that will forever be cherished.
Denise graduated from Watertown High School in 1963 and started working at Herbergers department store shortly thereafter. She later began working at the Codington County Courthouse, where she spent thirty seven years working in the Register of Deeds office and later in the county welfare office. Family was the cornerstone of Denise's life, and her role as Grandma Beamer brought her immense joy. Holidays were her favorite and she loved to play games, stuff giant stockings, and prank her five grandchildren. During one of her most memorable Halloween pranks, she was sprawled out on her kitchen floor covered in ketchup. Her intentions were for the grandkids to think there was an accident, only to be foiled by the speed of her eldest catching her in the act. She leaves behind a legacy of love in the hearts of those grandchildren: Logan (Annie) Jurgens of Sioux Falls, Morgan (Harrison) Wookey of Watertown, Madison Gronau of Sioux Falls, Brooklyn Gronau of Aberdeen, and Talan Jurgens of Watertown. Her home was always filled with laughter, warmth, the Game Show Network, and the comforting aroma of her delicious sugar cookies, Saturday morning pancakes, and world famous divinity at Christmas time. In addition to being a devoted family woman, Denise and Gene were known for their love of the casino, bingo to be exact. They spent their days traveling around to different casino resorts having a ball and hopefully winning some money.
If you ever needed to find her you just had to check the bingo halls in town, where she was either calling numbers or winning jackpots. She had an abundance of bingo friends that we know will miss her dry sense of humor and fiery competitiveness. Denise lived a life rich in experiences and cherished moments. Her memory will be forever engraved in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to know her. As we mourn her passing, let us also celebrate the beautiful life she led and the profound impact she had on those around her.
Denise was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Eugene Sotka, who passed away before her. Their love was a source of inspiration for all who knew them, and now they are reunited in his red pickup on their way to play bingo up in heaven. She is also reunited with her siblings, Dennis and Carol Koch, Delbert Koch, and Doug and Barb Koch, her parents, Otto and Lucille Koch, her mother and father-in-law Audrey and Lyle Sotka, sister-in-law Becky Koch, and half-siblings, Gerhardt Koch, Bernice Muller, Barb Starr, Eugene Koch, Robert Koch, Rosemary Koch all of whom she cherished throughout her life. Denise is survived by her children and grandchildren; her brother Darrel of Watertown, SD; sister-in-law Pam (Kendall) Mino of Ledyard, IA; and many nieces and nephews who will continue to carry forward her spirit of love and kindness.
May her soul rest in eternal peace.
Arrangements by Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel www.crawfordosthus.com Watertown, Hayti, De Smet, Bryant