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Willard C. Hohenthaner

Thursday, November 18, 2004

YANKTON, S.D. -- Willard C. "Bill" Hohenthaner, 79, of Yankton, S.D., and longtime teacher, died Saturday, Nov. 13, 2004, at Avera Sister James Care Center, Yankton, S.D.

Bill was born Aug. 25, 1925, in Yankton, S.D., the son of Joseph and Bertha (Tielke) Hohenthaner. He was baptized and confirmed in the Sacred Heart Parish. He attended Sacred Heart Grade School and Yankton High School, where he played tackle on the football team. After graduating from YHS in 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and advanced to the rank of 1st Lieutenant during World War II. During this time he also attended Presbyterian College in South Carolina, the Military Navigation School and was a navigator on a B-24 and B-29 bomber. For his service in World War II, he was awarded the WWII Victory Medal, ATO Medal and the American Campaign Medal.

Following his discharge in 1946, he attended Yankton College, where he also played football for four years. Bill earned a BA degree from Yankton College in 1949 and began what was to become a 34-year high school teaching career starting in Obert, Neb., (1949-50), where he was also principal. Bill then taught at Bancroft, S.D. (1950-51) until being called back into military service for the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War in 1951. During the war, he flew 51 missions as a navigator on a B26 bomber and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross as well as the Korean Service Medal, Air Medal and the United Nations Service Medal.

After Korea, Bill resumed his teaching of chemistry, physics, other sciences and often many other subjects in the smaller schools. It was known that he had taught everything at one time or another, except for home economics. During this time he also coached many sports, especially football and continued his own studies, earning masters degrees from Creighton University and the University of South Dakota. He taught in Bancroft (1953-55), Waubay, S.D. (1955-56), Gayville, S.D. (1956-57) and Tabor, S.D. (1957-61), where he was also superintendant. Bill then went to Le Mars (1961-85), where he taught for 24 years before retiring.

Bill enjoyed hunting, fishing, his vegetable garden, feeding wild birds, politics, driving around the area "to check things out," his family and his buddies at the "Vets," where he went every day. He was an active member of the Ernest-Bowyer VFW Post 791 in Yankton since May 17, 1946, when he and his four brothers all joined on the same day.

Bill was especially proud of his service to his country and his "kids" he had taught throughout his teaching career. He always said he intended to continue teaching after his death and arranged to donate his body to Creighton Medical School in Omaha, Neb.

Bill is survived by numerous nieces and nephews and sister-in-law, Alice.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Mary Kruger; brothers: Ralph, Edward, Joseph and Carl; brother-in-law, Herbert Kruger; sisters-in-law, Lee Hohenthaner and Aurdena Hohenthaner; one niece and two nephews.

Memorial services will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Kostel Funeral Chapel, Yankton, with the Rev. John Fischer officiating. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday and continue until service time. Military rites will be provided by the Ernest-Bowyer VFW Post #791.