At 96, Margaret DeWolfe Clepper entered into rest February 17, 2021. Born at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Hospital, Margaret grew up during the Great Depression near Gordon, Nebraska on a cattle ranch with 10 siblings and her parents, Harry B. and Cora Sears Shields DeWolf. At 20, she enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served during World War 2 achieving the rank of Pharmacist’s Mate 3rd Class while serving as a dental hygienist and assisting in the forensic dental identification of servicemen.
During her time at NAS Glenview she met the love of her life, James A. Clepper, a naval officer from Wheeler, Texas. On Christmas Eve, 1944 Margaret waited in line at the Chicago USO for tickets when Jim spotted, “The most beautiful girl I’d ever seen.” They married in Hot Springs, South Dakota in the spring of 1946 when he returned from duty in the Pacific. The devoted couple were blessed with over 75 years together.
Margaret became a certified dental technician at age 50 and made dentures for the VA. Later, she taught in the prosthetics department at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry until her retirement in 1987. Dental students voted her instructor of the year, an honor she cherished. Margaret celebrated her Christian faith, consistently teaching children’s Sunday School. In retirement, Margaret’s passion for art flourished. As a proud member of the Oglala Lakota tribe of Pine Ridge and an accomplished watercolor painter, her art celebrates her heritage and love of nature.
Margaret is predeceased by her parents and 7 siblings and is survived by her beloved husband and her sisters: Vera Faulk, Frances Walton, Alice Brewer and Vesta Strasburger. She is also survived by her children: Douglas Clepper, DMD, Rebecca Clepper Sallans and Nyla Clepper Gordon, DDS, 8 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Her loving family appreciates the long life that Margaret shared with us as a wife a sister a mother and a grandmother. We thank God for her presence in our lives and look toward reunification in Christ.