The memorial service for Vic Runnels, 81, of Aberdeen, S.D., will be 3 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, at Spitzer-Miller Funeral Home, 1111 S. Main St., with Reverend Sheila Richards officiating. Vic died Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at Avera St. Luke’s Hospital, Aberdeen.
Wake services will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, February 4, at the Batesland School in Batesland, S.D.
Victor “Vic” Runnels was born Dec. 15, 1935, to Raymond and Cecilia (Conroy) Runnels at Batesland, S.D. As a young boy in grade school, Vic’s family moved to Gordon, Neb. He graduated from Pine Ridge High School and went on to a year of college in Huron, followed by a year of college in Brookings.
Vic was united in marriage to Marlys White on Nov. 9, 1956, in Pipestone, Minn. He joined the United States Air Force in 1957 and served for four years. During that time, he was stationed in Greenland, Texas, and New Hampshire. While in New Hampshire, Vic attended two years of college in Exeter, N.H. He also attended two years of college at the Ray-Vogue School of Design and the American Academy of Art, both in Chicago, Ill. He spent twelve years in Chicago as a commercial artist-illustrator before returning to Pine Ridge in 1973. He then moved to Aberdeen, S.D., working and retiring from BIA after several years. Vic designed the Wahpeton School, the Indian Health Hospitals in Pine Ridge, S.D., and Rosebud, S.D., and the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribal Building. Poetry was also very important to Vic. He and his brother took part in the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev. Vic’s love of art took him to Europe where he taught at an art school in Luxemburg and attended art shows in Germany and Switzerland.
Vic was a charter member of the Dream Catchers Guild, which works in schools with artists and residents to share the importance of art in the Sioux culture. He won many awards at the annual Red Cloud Art Show and numerous art shows around the country. Vic was a talented musician and played the guitar and sang Bluegrass and old time music in BOTMA at the Red Rooster Coffee House in Aberdeen. His greatest joy came from spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren who he loved to tease.
Grateful for having shared Vic’s life are his wife of 60 years: Marlys Runnels, Aberdeen; sister: Etta Mae Runnels; brother: Dean Runnels; his children: Randy Runnels, Vicki (John) Gebhart, Debbie Trottier, Jane Dildine, Joan (Art) Witchey, Rob Runnels, Jason Runnels; grandchildren: Randy Jr., Monique Runnels, Angel (TJ) Murphy, Tony Reger, Nicole (Shaun) Thompson, Leslie Trottier, Carmen Trottier, Richie (Maddie) Tiger, Tonya Tiger, Carissa Stern, Lisa (Gentry) Gauer, Ryan Stern, Rachel Runnels, Alicia Runnels, Luta Runnels, Aaliyah Bruce, Jayda Runnels, Stormy Runnels, Victoria Runnels, Jason Runnels Jr., Cecelia Runnels; great-grandchildren: Maya, Ethan, Devin, Joey, Brady, Jack, Zelda, Jasmine, Jayvon, Jordan, Jacob, Tyrel, Jonathan, Naomi, Kaydi, Aubrey, Gabe, Camryn, Elliot, Alaina, Luzahan, KimimilaLuta, Keya, KizaOhitika, Elijah, Araya; and Michael Spears (Hunka Son) along with many nieces and nephews.
Preceding Victor in death are his parents: Raymond and Cecilia Runnels; siblings: Betty Sharp, Jack Runnels, Gerry Runnels, Lonnie Runnels; numerous relatives.