Viola Fern Johnston Reeves was born Sept. 1, 1912, in Corsica, S.D. She was the fifth child, second daughter of John and Elizabeth Maahs Johnston. Soon after her birth, the family moved to Belvidere, S.D., where she grew up on a ranch and attended schools, both in the country and in town. There she met her husband, Lawrence Reeves, and they were married on March 18, 1930. They lived in Lead, S.D., for the first 11 years of their married life while Lawrence worked in the Homestake Gold Mine. They then moved to a farm near Merrill, and a few years later to a farm near Paullina.
Viola was active in the Presbyterian Church in Paullina, including the Ladies Aid groups. She worked for a time as a cook in the Paullina School District and then drove school bus for the district for many years.
After retirement Lawrence and Viola moved to Kimberling City, Mo., Le Mars, and Nixa, Mo. They spent winters in McAllen, Texas. Following the death of her husband in 1986, Viola rotated homes between Missouri and Iowa. In 2001 she lived for nine months with her daughter while battling lymphoma, after which she elected to move into the Assisted Living Facility in Chamberlain, S.D., near her sister, where she resided at the time of her death.
She is survived by a son, LeRoy Reeves of Spokane, Mo.; a daughter, Dorothy Salsbury, of Waseca, Minn.; 11 grandchildren: Connie, Cheryll, Cindy, Larry, Cathy, Joshua, Tim, Scott, Michelle, Jeff, and Tom; 32 great-grandchildren; and a sister Frances Jensen of Kimball, S.D.
She is preceded in death by her parents; six siblings; her husband Lawrence of 56 years; and a son Dale.
Funeral services will take place at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Mauer - Johnson Funeral Home of Le Mars. The Rev. Jon Meredith will officiate. Burial will follow at Resthaven Memory Gardens in Le Mars. Visitation will begin at 2 p.m. today (Wednesday) at the Mauer - Johnson Funeral Home with the family present from 5 to 8 p.m. There will also be one hour of visitation at the funeral home prior to the service on Thursday.
Expressions of sympathy may be directed through www.mauerjohnsonfh.com