Ray Neal Telkamp, 78, of Spearfish, passed away on Thursday, April 26, 2012, at his home after a valiant decade-long travail with cancer. Born December 7th, 1933 at Brookings, SD, he was the son of Albert Harm and Thelma (Tifft) Telkamp. Ray attended Trenton Township School through the eighth grade and then Brookings High School, graduating in 1952. During high school, he was active in FFA, track, and football, proud of being the smallest starting guard his junior and senior years in the ESD.
Attending SDSU for a year, he then enlisted in the United States Army. Ray returned to Brookings graduating in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. He taught at New Rockford, ND; New Underwood, SD, and Pine Ridge, SD, teaching math, science, and agriculture, his involvement in FFA continuing as an advisor. In 1962, he joined the FHA and was dedicated to serving his clientale, many remaining friends long after his government career was finished. His work took him to offices in Winner, White River, Buffalo, Bison, and Belle Fourche. He retired in 1994 with over thirty-two years of government service.
Ray enjoyed life! Ray loved his family, sharing his presence and time while helping with chores, relishing their company at meals, or savoring outdoor activities. Whether hunting, camping, or riding on his motorcycle, memories were made and shared. He could recount first hunts with his father, sons, and grandsons. Camping meant family fun from fishing to marshmallows to pies. During a trip, rally time, or simply a shared afternoon ride up Spearfish Canyon, the Telkampitos were a blessing and made the day.
Receiving his amatuer radio (ham) license in 1973, Ray continued this hobby the rest of his life and earned his Extra Class license. He loved a QSO (conversation) with people around world as well as his Hills friends. Saturday morning breakfasts provided face-to-face time among friends spiced with laughter and conversation. He was a member of the ARRL and the QCWA.
Willing to lend a hand, Ray served the various communites in which he lived. He was a fireman, an EMT, an ambulance driver, and a school board member. He also assisted NARFE serving as chapter treasurer, district legislative representative, and state treasurer and first vice president. Always up for a visit, coffee klatch enlivened his days in retirement and enriched friendships.
Visitation will be from 4PM - 6 PM on Thursday, May 3 at Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapel. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Spearfish United Methodist Church on Friday, May 4th at 11 AM. In lieu of flowers a memorial has been established to the Spearfish Veterans Monument. Burial will be at Black Hills National Cemetery.
Grateful for sharing his life are his wife of thirty-one years, Darlene of Spearfish, and four children and their families. The three sons are Lee (Kristin) and grandchildren Jessica, Joe, Simon, Kelby, and Henry of Johnstown, CO; Scott (Carolyn) and grandson Josh of Gillette, WY; and Christopher (Marni) and grandson Brock of Centennial, CO; and his daughter is Betty (Daniel) McKellar and grandchildren Ryan and Maggie of Hillsdale, NJ. He is survived by his “Mom” Betty Telkamp who joined the family in 1950 and two brothers Norman of Mitchell, SD and Douglas (Teresa) of Colman, SD; three sisters-in-laws: Mrs. Ethel (Marvin) Telkamp, Mrs. Shirley (Bill) Povandra, Mrs. Geraldine (Rex) Keller and numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. In addition to his father in 1994 and mother in 1943 when he was nine years old, he was preceded in death by brothers, Marvin (Jack), Kenneth, Keith and brother-in-law, Bill.