August “Augie” Laurenz

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Mass of Christian Burial for August “Augie” Laurenz, age 88, Eagle Butte will be Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 10:00 AM, All Saints Catholic Church of Eagle Butte. Burial will be in the Eagle Butte Cemetery under the direction of Kesling Funeral Home of Mobridge. Visitation will be Wednesday, May 7, 2014 begin at 4PM with a rosary at 7PM at the church. “Augie”   passed away Thursday, May 1, 2014 at Rapid City Regional Hospital.

August Henry Laurenz, 88, of Eagle Butte, SD, took his journey home on May 1, 2014.  He was born to Frank and Elizabeth (Weiker) Laurenz on November 26, 1925, on the Laurenz Family Homestead five miles northeast of Eagle Butte, SD.  Augie came into this world on Thanksgiving Day at a whopping 13lbs., weighing more than the turkey.  Augie grew up working the farm alongside his two brothers Henry and Frank, and four Sisters; Helen, Marion, Ann and Bette.  Augie attended public school through the 11th grade.  He then decided to focus on his farming business.

Augie met and fell in love with Helen (Heddy) Briggs and pursued her all the way to the west coast.  His persistence paid off and on March 1st, 1945, they married in Vancouver, Washington. They were blessed with six children:  Sandy, Lindy, Liz, Peggy, Rob, and Shane.   Augie and Heddy made their home farming in Eagle Butte, SD, during the warm months and traveled to the west coast during the winter where Augie drove truck, and worked in the shipyards.  In 1952, they added ranching to the business and started running cattle on Little Creek, approximately 14 miles south of Parade, SD.  When they began, there were no fences; they continued to build their operation where he remained active in farming and ranching his entire life.

Augie had an uncanny business sense and could easily recall things from memory.  He would often provide financial advice to family and friends when requested, sometimes even when it wasn’t.

Augie loved spending time with his family.  Watching his children play sports was of great interest and it was not unusual to see him running down the sidelines alongside Rob or Shane during a football game… keeping up, we might add, and after the game, providing “Aug’s unsolicited, constructive criticism”.  When it came to his daughters, protective is not a strong enough word.  The girls and all their friends knew the drill if it was after curfew and Aug’s pickup was on patrol.  With this system, sneaking into the house between laps was down to an art.  By the time grandchildren came along, he had mellowed considerably.

Another joy in Augie’s life was his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He always had a smile on his face with the grandkids and they seemed to gather around him.  He enjoyed taking them everywhere with him.  Many hours were spent around the table with “Gramps” teaching various card games.  No slack was given and when the grandchild would lose, you would hear him say, “Well, you better get used to losin!”  If diligent enough to defeat him, he was no longer eager to play.

Augie would often be seen driving (or “putting,” if you will) around town checking things out on his way out to the place and back.  He was slow and steady behind the wheel of his pick-up, but as captain of his boat, it was an altogether different story.  Many a white knuckle was experienced on that boat at West Whitlock.

Augie and Heddy enjoyed throwing card parties, singing, going to local dances and spending time with friends.  Augie was a talented harmonica player and spent many hours playing for his children and grandchildren.  Not only could Augie play a mean harmonica and game of whist, but was also known to belt out “Bad LeRoy Brown” on occasion.  Many would be surprised by his expertise in cake decorating supervision, although never actually touching a cake in the decorating capacity. (This was always well received by Heddy)

He was widely known for his creative use of words, fondly referred to as “Augisms”.  His colorful original phrases remain affectionately, in common use among friends and family.  Among his favorites were, “I’ll bet you a dollar to a dried up donut”, “ aaw, they played like sausages”, and  “aww, well, that’s what they say!”

Five years ago, Augie was diagnosed with dementia.  He spent a short time in Selby and the remainder of his days in Rapid City, SD, at the Clarkson Health Care Center.  He made many friends during his stay.  His connections at Clarkson resulted in a Happy 87th Birthday letter from Senator John Thune.

August is survived by Heddy, his wife of 69 years, their children Lindy Sherwood of Rapid City, SD, Liz (Wes) Gibson of Thorpe, WA, Peggy (Dick) Gallipo of Eagle Butte, SD, Rob (Lana) Laurenz of Pierre, SD, and Shane Laurenz of Eagle Butte, SD; 22 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren; siblings Frank (Maggie) Laurenz of Eagle Butte, SD, and Bette (Raymond) Ross of Faith, SD; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother;  Henry Laurenz,  sisters;  Helen Rich; Ann Pinnel; and Marion Fett;  daughters;  Sandra Laurenz; and Monica Laurenz;  granddaughters; Tory Briscoe and Ash’Lea Sherwood;  and great-grandson Nicolas Gibson.

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