Welcome to the memorial page for

Raymond D. "Ray" Rylance

April 21, 1945 ~ January 6, 2018 (age 72)

Obituary Image

**Please note the location of Ray's visitation...Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer


Raymond D. “Ray” Rylance, age 72, of Watertown, SD, passed away on Saturday, January 6, 2018, at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. Funeral services will be at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, January 12, 2018, at Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer in Watertown. Rev. Kent Stillson and Pastor John Semchenko will officiate. Music will be provided by A. J. Sherrill as organist and Robbyn Givens as soloist.


Visitation will be at Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer in Watertown on Thursday January 11, 2018 from 5 to 7 p.m. and prior to services at the church on Friday.


Burial will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Watertown. Military honors will be conducted by the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Marine Corps League - Kampeska N.E. Det. #1079, Watertown. Active pallbearers will be grandsons Austin and Zach Heins and nephews Chad, Steve, Jarrett, and Dan Andersen. Honorary pallbearers will be grandchildren: Amanda Rylance-Bednar, Jennika, Kaden and Nikolas Rylance, Lincoln and Andersen Semchenko and his coffee buddies.


Ray was born on April 21, 1945, in St. Cloud, MN, to Allan and Ruby (Anderson) Rylance. The family moved to Aberdeen, SD, where he spent his youth. He graduated from Aberdeen Central High School in 1963. Ray attended USD where he was a catcher for the baseball team. He was the first USD baseball player to be inducted into the Coyote Sports Hall of Fame. He earned all-North Central Conference honors in 1966 and 1967. In 1966, he led the team with a 0.351 average and was named the team’s most valuable player. Ray graduated from the USD School of Business in 1967.   


Ray served in the US Marine Corps from 1967 to 1973 rising to the rank of Captain. During that time, Ray was united in marriage to Roberta Gayle Andersen on June 30, 1968, and graduated from the USD School of Law in 1970. He was a Vietnam-era veteran. Upon completion of his time in the military the family returned to Mitchell, SD where Ray become owner and manager of Andersen Farms, Inc.


Ray and his family moved to Watertown, SD, in 1986.  He began a law practice with Wiles and Rylance which he continued until the time of his death. In 1989, he was chosen as the first 100-year South Dakota All-Time All-College baseball team. He became a supporter of Watertown athletics and was an active member of the Arrow Booster Club for 30 years. He served as president of the Boys and Girls Club of Watertown in 1990. Ray served as treasurer of the Watoma Club for 20 years and was responsible for the pole vault competition during the Watoma Relays. He received an award for outstanding service and served as an honorary referee at the 2000 Watoma Relays. He spent more than 27 years as the clock operator at Watertown High School varsity football games. In 2017, Ray received a Distinguished Service Award from the South Dakota High School Coaches Association. He was active in the Elks Club and served as a trustee and treasure, receiving Elk of the Year in 1999-2000. Ray loved hunting and fishing but most of all he loved his family. He enjoyed attending the activities of his children and grandchildren over the years.  Family gatherings were a source of much joy.  He loved spending time at the lake, especially the 4th of July where fireworks were never in short supply.  Christmas time was a favorite in the Rylance household, and one of Ray’s favorite activities over the last few years was to make popcorn balls with his family to share with friends.


Ray is survived by his wife, Roberta, of Watertown; his children: Jodi (Russ) Heins of Sioux Falls, SD, Heath (Anne) Rylance of Watertown, SD, and Dayna (John) Semchenko of Brandon, SD; his brothers: Bob (Mary) Rylance of ­­­­­­New Prague, MN, John (Jill) Rylance of Buffalo, MN, and Rick (Rhonda) Rylance of Aberdeen, SD; his grandchildren: Austin and Zach Heins, Amanda Rylance-Bednar, Jennika, Kaden, and Nikolas Rylance, Lincoln and Andersen Semchenko; and numerous friends and loved ones.


He was preceded in death by his parents; twin grandsons, Luke and Tyler Heins; granddaughter Sydney Heins; and his sister, Kathy Brick. 










 Service Information

January 11, 2018

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer
2001 2nd Street West
Watertown, SD 57201

Funeral Service
January 12, 2018

3:00 PM
Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer
2001 2nd Street West
Watertown, SD 57201

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