Dean L. Axtell

Service: Service in November has been canceled.

Dean Le Verne Axtell, 89, of Harrisburg, SD passed away peacefully on May 4, 2020 at the Sanford Foundation Hospice Cottage.

Dean LeVerne Axtell, son of Charles (Ed) and Helen (Grabler) Axtell, was born on March 9, 1931, on the family homestead, near Meadowview, Alberta, Canada, 80 miles northwest of Edmonton. The family moved to Harrisburg, South Dakota in March of 1937. Dean graduated from Harrisburg High School in 1949 and he was involved in baseball, basketball, band and chorus. Dean joined the S.D. Air National Guard on January 27, 1949 and he was called to active duty for the Korean War in March 1951. He was then sent to the California School of Aeronautics to become an aircraft mechanic. In August, 1953, he went to work for the SD Air National Guard full time and he retired in March 1986 as the Flight Line Supervisor of the aircraft mechanics.

Dean was united in marriage to Min Aljets on June 10, 1951 and they lived in Sioux Falls for several years before moving a home onto the family farm north of Harrisburg. They happily shared a life together for 68 years and raised their 5 children in this home. In September 1996, they decided to move off the farm and moved to Sioux Falls and then again in May, 2017 they moved back to Harrisburg to be close to their church and friends.

After Dean retired in 1986, he and Min spent 23 winters in Tucson, Arizona where they enjoyed the warmer weather, hiking, golfing and the many Guard friends who also wintered there. Dean was an instrumental part of the development of Little League baseball in Harrisburg and he coached American Legion and VFW baseball for 4 years. He served on the Harrisburg School Board for 6 years and he was a 66 year member of the Harrisburg American Legion. He was also on the Harrisburg Cemetery Board. Dean was a lifelong member of the Harrisburg United Methodist Church, where he served on many church committees and sang in the choir.

Dean is survived by his loving wife and “best partner” Min, their 5 children, Arlene (Doyle Stern) Sioux Falls, Dee (Jon Clegg ) Omaha, Kathy (Roger Wells) Omaha, Betty Jo Cox, Omaha and Scott (Maggie) Harrisburg, 11 grandchildren and 14 greatgrandchildren.

Dean is preceded in death by his parents, Ed and Helen Axtell, his brother Lloyd and his wife Eunice and their two sons, Robert and Wayne.

There will be a private family burial .  Service in November has been canceled.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Harrisburg United Methodist Church, Harrisburg American Legion Post 45, and Harrisburg Pleasant View Cemetery.

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20 messages have been left

  1. Shelley Meier on May 6, 2020 said:

    Dean was a great guy. He reminded me of my own father. He was patient, kind and a friend to all. He will be greatly missed! Much sympathy to Min and the family. God be with you to help you thru this sad time and also in the future to comfort you.

  2. Angel Wallman on May 6, 2020 said:

    Such a wonderful human being! I feel fortunate to of met him and to be the recipient of his warm smile and personality! He will be missed!

  3. LeRoy and Mary Tarbox on May 6, 2020 said:

    We are so sorry to hear about Dean. Know that we are thinking of you in the kindest ways. He was a special person who appreciated all the people who worked for him and their families. We will not forget him. May God give him eternal rest and peace. God Bless.

  4. Ken and Gwynn Bodewitz/Etoyle on May 6, 2020 said:

    Aunt Min you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers! Uncle Dean was a great and loving person.
    Sympathy to the whole family. Love, Kenny and Gwynn and Etoyle

  5. Ken Fehrenz on May 6, 2020 said:

    Rest in peace, my good good friend and great hunting partner.

  6. Lisa Pearson on May 6, 2020 said:

    I am so sorry to hear of Dean’s passing. What an amazing man. He will be missed by many people in the community. My heart goes out to the Axtell family.
    May Dean Rest In Peace and flourish in his life in heaven.
    Love and prayers to all.

  7. Steve Davis on May 6, 2020 said:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the Axtell family.

  8. Terrie Swanson on May 7, 2020 said:

    Im so sorry for your loss, he was such an amazing man, and he was a person one who made a huge impact on me , alway will be remembered and honored by so many people. Your blessed to have had such a great man in your lives, prayers for you Scott and family.

  9. Chris Langloss on May 7, 2020 said:

    Dean was a great mentor but a greater family man. I know his influence has had a profound affect on my life. I am sad with his passing but I know his Faith has carried him home. RIP Chief!!

  10. Patti Clark on May 7, 2020 said:

    So sorry for your loss. Dean will be missed greatly. I have a lot of good memories he was always so inspiring. My deepest sympathy Patti Clark

  11. SHERYL MURRAY on May 7, 2020 said:

    So sorry to hear about Uncle Dean, he was well loved and one of my favorite Uncles… again I’m so sorry for your loss..

  12. Dan & Karen Brenner on May 7, 2020 said:

    Hi Min and Family
    I wish I had the words to express how saddened I am with Dean’s passing. What an ambassador he was for the Harrisburg
    community. I will always remember the passion he had for the things and the people he loved. I’ll always remember how much I
    enjoyed visiting with him at church and watching him, with a smile on my face, as he made his rounds greeting everyone in the sanctuary. Many times I’ve said to myself, I wish I could be like that. Our sympathy is with you and the family

  13. Donavon and Marlys List on May 7, 2020 said:

    Our sympathy and prayers are with you on the death of your loved one. May you have many happy memories to comfort you. We became acquainted with Dean and Min when we all attended the conferences of the South Dakota National Guard Enlisted Association. We had many fun times and I remember Min wore such beautiful Black Hills Gold jewelry.

  14. Joel and Kris Winckler on May 7, 2020 said:

    To Min and Family,
    How very sad to learn of Dean’s passing. You two have always been a big reason Harrisburg is so special to us, and will always be so. We send you our hugs and deepest sympathy. Holding you in our hearts and keeping you in our prayers – In Christ’s Love – Pastor Joel and Kris Winckler

  15. Donavon & Marlys List on May 8, 2020 said:

    Our sympathy and prayers are with you on the death of your loved one; may you have many happy memories to comfort you. We became acquainted with Dean and Min when we attended the South Dakota National Guard Enlisted Association Conferences. We all had such fun and I remember Min wearing beautiful Black Hills Gold Jewelry. God’s blessings to Dean’s family.

  16. Arnie and Ruth Dewald on May 8, 2020 said:

    Deepest Sympathy to You Min and your family. Dean will truly be missed by the entire community. We will continue to keep you all in our thoughts and prayers.

  17. Michelle Munns on May 8, 2020 said:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I pray God’s strength and peace for your whole family.

  18. Vicki Slack on May 8, 2020 said:

    Min and family,
    Just want you to know how sorry we are at the passing of Dean – all of our “Guard guys” (Cab Benson, Dean and Gerald Postma) are now gone – know we are thinking of you and your family as you deal with your loss.

  19. Joan Tebben Cunningham Daniel on May 9, 2020 said:

    So sad to hear about the passing of Dean!! Great neighbor for many years. Prayers for the entire Axtell family and friends. 🙏✝️

  20. Diana Meyer on May 13, 2020 said:

    Arlie and Doyle, so very sorry to read of Dean’s passing. You have my heartfelt condolences!