Roland Small, age 72, passed away at Prairie Lakes Hospital, on Saturday, February 29, 2020, following an extended illness. Funeral services will be at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, March 6, 2020, at Grace Lutheran Church in Watertown. Pastor Cheryl Rondeau-Bassett will officiate. Music will be provided by Marcia Jelsma as organist. The family is requested to meet at the church on Friday by 9:30 a.m. for a prayer service.
Visitation will at the Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. and prior to the service at the church on Friday.
Burial will be at Telemarken Cemetery, Clark County, SD. (Wallace). Honorary pallbearers will be all of his racing family at the Casino Speedway. Active pallbearers will be: Alex Burghardt, Brady Burghardt, Carson Burghardt, Dean Small, Bill Hackett and Lynn Jensen.
Ronald Dean Small was born on September 9, 1947 to Lewis and Alma (Paulson) Small, in a Watertown hospital, while his family’s residence was Henry, South Dakota. The family moved to a ranch north of Pierre, South Dakota and later to a farm near Garden City, SD, before settling in Watertown where Roland began elementary school. Roland also attended school in South Shore, SD for about three years before the family returned to Watertown.
Roland developed a degenerative disease of one hip joint at about eight years of age and was forced to use crutches for two years. He was very energetic, and the crutches did little to slow him down. The trait served him well throughout his life-he viewed adversity or illness as a challenge to overcome. Early in his life Roland became interested in machines and was fascinated by anything with wheels. He began racing Soap Box Derby cars and quickly moved to bigger machines with louder engines. Dirt track racing was his passion and he earned many trophies and track championships throughout the upper Midwest.
On September 9, 1966, Roland married Gloria DeWall at Grace Lutheran Church. Together they raised two daughters, Lisa Small Burghardt and Patty Small Anderson. Gloria enjoyed cheering for Roland while he raced, and dirt track racing was a passion they shared. Gloria passed away on October 24, 1994. He enjoyed having his friends stop by for a visit and a cup of coffee. He always had a fresh pot brewing, and he passed on his love of strong coffee to his daughters.
Roland worked for a local highway sign company for a few years before he began his career with Quadee/Minnesota Rubber. In recent years Roland has worked as a truck driver hauling mostly grain from producer to grain elevator.
Many years after Gloria’s passing, Roland was remarried and later divorced. From this union they were blessed with a son, Dean Small, and a daughter Cara Small.
Roland is survived by his four children; Lisa (Joe) Burghardt of rural Hayti, Patty (Arne) Anderson of Watertown, Dean Small and Cara Small of Arlington; nine grandchildren; one great-grandchild; his sister, Donna (Ken) Yocom of Sioux Falls, and brothers Dwight (Carol Ann) Small of Tucson, AZ, Gayle (Dorothy) Small of Watertown, Rick (Sharon) Small of Watertown, Michael (Cindy) Small of Citrus Heights, Ca, and Steven (Annie) Small of Lewiston, ID.; sister-in-law Dr. Donna Small of Aberdeen and 15 nieces and nephews.
Roland was preceded in death by his mother and father and by his wife Gloria, and three brothers, Roger Lee Small, Dan Small and Larry Small.
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