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Debra Ann Conrad, entered into eternal peace with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, after a long and courageous twenty-plus year battle with Parkinson’s. God brought her home to Him peacefully while she slept.
All are invited to celebrate her life on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Tyndall, SD. Visitation will be from 9 a.m.-10 a.m. with the funeral service following at 10 a.m. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Burial will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Alexandria, SD, where she will be laid to rest next to her brother.
She was born June 18, 1961 to her parents, JaVern John Hofer and Anna Mae (Murray) Hofer. She grew up on a farm south of Alexandria, SD…with brothers, “All brothers, I was the only girl!,” she would say, “but I was treated like one of the boys.” I remember vividly my sister and I sitting on our mother’s lap in our light blue Ford Courier, begging her to tell us another story of her childhood. She loved to recall stories! She talked about electric fences, riding horses (bareback of course), sledding on a car hood, and the chores they had. One chore in particular always made her laugh. She and Steve had to finish the field before they could go to town on Friday night, she said they “put the hammer down” on the tractor. I don’t think that worked out so well for them.
She graduated from Hanson High School in 1979. She moved to Mitchell, having enrolled in Mitchell Technical College; graduating in 1980 with her LPN degree. Before moving, her big brother Steve told her to find him a good looking girl. Well, God must have been listening because Deb became roommates with another young woman named Kim. They became best of friends, and Kim ended up marrying Deb’s brother Steve, and she finally had the sister she had always prayed for. Steve repaid Deb by introducing her to his best friend, Gale. Gale was the love of her life and they married in 1980.
Deb and Gale settled down in Tyndall, SD, where she worked at various establishments, making friends along the way; the Good Samaritan Nursing Home, CR Industries, St. Michael’s Hospital and lastly Mike Durfee State Prison. They raised two daughters, who were the joy of her life. She enjoyed going camping and fishing with her family, teaching her girls to hook a worm and hold the fish, and she was always there to add new tackle when we broke the line. She could never pass by a rummage sale without stopping. She loved going for motorcycle rides with Gale and singing and dancing to loud music at home or in the car with her daughters. She was the best asparagus spotter in the tri-state area! She could spot it going 80mph with one eye covered, or so legend has it. Many good times were had by a creek seining for crawdads, or around a pool table hustling with her brothers. Any time spent with family was a good time for Deb.
All people have good and bad times in their life and so did Deb. She lost her brother, Brad at a young age, and later her father. Also, she and Gale chose to end their marriage after 16 years. However they remained the closest of friends until the day of her passing. What many people will remember Deb for was her strength! She was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s in her very early forties, but she did not let that stop her from doing anything that she wanted to do. She was blessed with three grandchildren and she pushed her body to be there for each of them. She was never the one to say she was too tired to play one more board game or read one more book. She loved to get on her mobility scooter while her grandkids rode their bikes alongside her. She picked up vegetable gardening when her daughter decided she wanted her kids to eat organic baby food. She crocheted them scarves, sewed them many cherished stuffed animals and clothes for barbies, and served them a big bowl of ice cream every night before cuddling them to sleep. To quote her grandchildren, “You’re the best nana ever!!”
As the years passed on, Parkinson’s took its toll on our mother. Her smile never stopped, but the pain she was in wasn’t as easy to hide. She would never complain about the life God had given her, she would always remind us of her blessings. If she did start talking about her limitations she would stop herself and say, “Nope, I’m not going to complain” and smile and change the subject. If she were here today, I think she would tell us to be kind and take the extra time to be with someone. Enjoy the moment, smell the flowers, watch the birds, and enjoy the breeze on your skin.
Thankful for sharing their life with her is her ex-husband Gale Conrad, daughters Kristina Conrad and Kelly Conrad, grandchildren Devan Conrad, Destany Jennings, and Deon Jennings, mother Anna Mae Hofer, brothers Steve (Kim) Hofer, Greg (Rebecca Hofer), Doug Hofer and Jason Hofer, many nephews and nieces, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends.
She is preceded in death by her father JaVern Hofer, brother Bradley Hofer, grandparents John and Elsie Hofer and Don and Margaret Murray.
Floral Tributes are included at the end of the service program.
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
9:00 - 10:00am (Central time)
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Starts at 10:00am (Central time)
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Starts at 1:00pm (Central time)
Saint Marys Cemetery, Alexandria, SD
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