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Roger A. Tufte, age 87, of Watertown, SD, passed away on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at Sanford Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, at Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel in Watertown. Jim Lohrman will officiate. Music will be provided by Joan Lohrman as organist with Saundra Larson and Mike Cole as vocalists.
Visitation will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, prior to services at the chapel.
Burial will be held at a later date at Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, SD. Military honors will be conducted by Codington County Post #17 of the American Legion, Watertown, and the Funeral Honors Team of the U.S. Air Force. Honorary pallbearers will be Roger’s grandchildren.
Roger A. Tufte was born on December 6, 1930, to Ralph and Lillian (Christensen) Tufte in Hazel Run, MN. After his mother passed away in 1935, he moved to the farm of his aunt and uncle in Hanley Falls, MN. Roger’s father remarried in 1936 and moved the family to St. Louis, MO, where he attended school through the ninth grade. The family moved to Sioux Falls, SD, where he attended high school. Roger enlisted in the US Air Force in 1951 and spent the greater part of his enlistment in the Canal Zone, Panama.
Roger met the love of his life, Connie (Meier) McConnell, in Rapid City, SD. They were married in Wayne, NE, on November 5, 1976. Through the years, the couple lived in various cities in South Dakota. Roger was employed as a salesman for a welding and safety equipment company in Minneapolis, traveling nine states. He retired in 1981 and they moved to Lake Poinsett where he helped friends and neighbors build decks and garages. Roger loved camping and spending time in the Black Hills.
Roger is survived by his wife, Connie; his daughters: Nery (Tufte) Karasch and Gary Santjorian of Apple Valley, MN, Kelly (McConnell) and Mike Cole, Korey (McConnell) and Frank Carlson both of Sioux Falls, SD; his son, Kevin McConnell and Diane Krixer Lusby, MD; ten grandchildren; twenty-one great-grandchildren; his sister, Karen Sussin of Algonquin, IL; his brother, William (Bud) Tufte, of Annandale, VA; several nieces and nephews; and his best little buddy, George.
He was preceded in death by his mother; his father and step-mother; 3 infant sons; one infant daughter; one brother-in-law; a cousin; and aunts and uncles.