Hiram Neiffer

Hiram Melvin Neiffer was born Feb. 9, 1931 to Jake and Viola (Kursave) Neiffer in his grandfather’s store in Longvalley S.D. He joined older brother Eugene and was raised in Longvalley with younger siblings, Mardella (Preble), Roger, Dean, Elaine and Edward, attending school through the eighth grade, leaving school to work on the family farm and for neighboring farms until he left to drive fuel liner trucks.
He was drafted in the Korean Conflict and opted to join the Marines for duty.  Stationed in Korea, he was hit with shrapnel from enemy fire and was gravely wounded. After a month on a Naval Hospital Ship he was transported back to the States to San Diego, Calif.  After a lengthy recovery with a honorable discharge and being awarded the Purple Heart he returned to his home state. 
He attended Black Hills Teacher College while he continued trucking and along his route he met Jeannette (Oleson) Patterson in Sundance, Wyo. After a short courtship they were married in Rapid City Aug. 29, 1957.
Their four children, Steven, Lisa, Ronald and Gwen, were all born there starting in 1958, and they joined older siblings Vicki and David Patterson.
In 1972 they moved to Hill City, S.D., which became their permanent home, and finished raising their family.
Working road construction off and on and at the Hill City Sawmill, the road construction took him to Wyoming, where he gained employment with the Wyodak Coal Mine in Gillette He worked there until his retirement in 1995 after 15 years. While there, he fulfilled his lifelong passion of flying an airplane.  
With commitment he did get his pilot license and delighted in taking his family and friends on his Piper airplane flying around Gillette. With his wife they participated in poker runs to smaller towns. 
After retiring he and his wife had returned to their permanent home in Hill City when Jeannette became ill and passed away in June with Hiram beside her all the time.
Hiram kept busy with various interests that included auction sales (for tractors), car and airplane shows, Threshing Bees, dancing, traveling, tinkering with his ’57 Ford Fairlane that was the only brand-new vehicle he owned and talking anyone’s ear off with lengthy conversations when he could.  He had the gift of gab with a remarkable memory of people and dates from the past.  Stories that were interesting to all.
Fulfilling his “bucket list” included visiting Oshkosh, Wisc., for fly-in show, Washington, D.C. memorials and museums, traveling to Key West, Fla., and Pikes Peak with his niece Donna Kieler.
Hiram passed peacefully Friday, Dec. 23, 2022 with his children by his side at the Primrose Retirement Home in Gillette, where he resided for a short period of time. He was 91.
He is preceded in death by his wife; parents; siblings, Eugene, Eddie, Dean, Roger and Mardella; step-son,  David Patterson; and daughter-in-law, Linda Neiffer.
Hiram is survived by his only sibling, Elaine Nelson of Rapid City, S.D.; sons, Steven and Ronald Neiffer;  daughters, Lisa (Mark) Rabenberg and Gwen Andrews; step-daughter, Vicki (Bob) Olsen and family, all of Gillette; granchildren, Jana (Corey) Virtue of Custer S.D., Houston (Lauren) Rabenberg of Casper, Wyo., and Wes and Alex Rexin and Mark Neiffer all of Gillette;  great-grandchildren, Torri, Hayden and Rylie Virtue of Custer and Graham and Jillian Rabenberg of Casper; along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be Dec. 28 from 6-8 p.m. at Behrens-Wilson Funeral Home in Rapid City. 
Funeral services will be Thursday, Dec. 29 at 10 a.m. at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Hill City with military honors, provided by the Custer Veteran’s Honor Guard at his final resting place alongside his wife in the Hill City Cemetery.
Memorials can be made to the donors choice.

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