Emily Grace Wittenhagen


November 16, 1926 - April 8, 2016


Emily Grace (Olson) Wittenhagen was born in rural Platte to Hans and Lela (Ellsworth) Olson November 16, 1926. She passed away April 8th, 2016 at Prairie View Health Center with her family by her side and her wonderful caregivers taking care of her many needs.

She was baptized and confirmed at Dunlap Methodist Church. She attended school in the Torrey Lake (Brule County) through the 10th grade. At that time she and her father hitch-hiked to Mitchell and she lived with a cousin, Opal Sweeney. They hitchhiked because of the shortage of gas and the war. Her first job was at the Mitchell Laundry folding sheets. There she met Max’s sister, Luetta, who introduced her to Max. They wrote letters and dated while Max served in the Army. On April 21, 1945 they were united in marriage at Grand Island, NE while Max was home on leave. In 1946 Emily joined the Zion Lutheran Church which she attended all of her life.

Our home was filled with accordion music with 3 girls singing and dancing to dad’s songs. If dad heard a song on the TV he sat down and learned to play it by ear. Anyone was welcome at our home. Mom was a wonderful cook. We all loved going to eat her dumplings, pies and homemade bread. Mom was a beautiful seamstress. When her daughters were in grade school she sewed all the choir gowns for the children’s choir at Zion. Wedding dress, bridesmaids and flower girl dresses, drapes, upholstered chairs; she could do it all perfectly. She was a meticulous house keeper which at times we girls did not appreciate but we all learned well. If we helped clean the house Saturday morning we danced to KORN Dance party or later American Bandstand. Mom could dance all popular dances with us girls. She and dad loved going to dances. They floated across the floor so beautifully.  We were all close to her. She was our mother, confidant, teacher and best friend. She had a soft heart and we all knew if we needed a shoulder to cry on she would be there for us. 

There were the six girls in her family. They all stayed close and spent a lot of time together. Much of that time was playing pitch. They set a wonderful example of what families should be like and get along. Five of them met at Daylight Donuts every Tuesday for many years.

There is only one wish we could not fulfill for her funeral. She told us she wanted to be buried in her and dad’s one and only new car a 1977 Ford LTD. She loved that car. She looked like a little kid driving around in a big car. Sorry mom, we would have if we could.

Survivors include 3 daughters: Cheryl (Ken) Floberg, Overgaard, AZ, Linda (Lee) James, Mitchell, SD and Marla (John) Finck, Tripp, SD; eight grandchildren: Dawn Tunny and Kim Troksa of AZ.,  Kellee Barefoot VA, Brad James, Mitchell and Stefanie Kummer of Sioux Falls,  Quentin Finck CA, Brandon Finck MN and Heidi Finck, Tripp,SD; eighteen great grandchildren and two great great granddaughters; three sisters: Viola Winters, Joann Vogel and Lillian Greenway of Mitchell; one sister-in-law, Donna Newlon, Lead, SD and many nieces and nephews.

Preceding her in death was her husband, Max in 1986; her parents; sisters: Esther Johnson and Gertrude Twombley; her parents-in-law, Anton and Anna Wittenhagen and 3 sisters-in-law: Alma Titze, Eleanor Grohs and Luetta Hornback.

RIP dear momma. No more suffering and pain. The world lost a wonderful soul but you left us many precious memories to be treasured in our hearts forever.  Love you always.




Tuesday, April 12, 2016
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Bittner Funeral Chapel
805 West Havens
Mitchell, South Dakota


Wednesday, April 13, 2016
10:30 AM
Zion Lutheran Church
620 East 3rd Avenue
Mitchell, South Dakota


Servicemen's Memorial Cemetery
Mitchell, South Dakota

Posted by bonnie on May 11, 2016
Cheryl, Linda and Marla and families !! So sorry for your loss - always remember the fun times Cheryl that we had at your house . Love and Prayers GOD BLESS
Posted by linda james on April 17, 2016
Thank you fall or your kind words and expression of sympathy at this sad time in our lives. To have your mother in your life and live close to her all of those years is a blessing. I will miss her so very much but could not wish her journey on this earth to lat longer.. RI P you are in our hearts forever. We love you.
Posted by Judy & Doug Tews on April 12, 2016
Cheryl & Ken, so sorry we could not be at the service with you and family. I can still see you mom in my mind from many years ago with her beautiful smile & laughing. Thank you for keeping us posted on how Emily has been doing. She is dancing in heaven now with your dad.
Posted by Sheryl Kelly on April 12, 2016
Of course meant my regards and prayers to Lee.......typo. Be strong.
Posted by Sheryl Kelly on April 12, 2016
Linda and James, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of mom. Linda, as you know my mom was also 88 when she passed in 2012 and it makes us so sad, but our memories of them will last forever in our hearts. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Sheryl
Posted by Kathy (Ollenburg) Willmes on April 11, 2016
I am so sorry to read of your mother's passing. Karen had sent me a text and told me a few days ago. Your mother was such a pretty lady, as I remember her. These last few years have been difficult for you, and I can relate 100% of the heartache you've endured. The battle is over for your mother now, and she is at peace. I hope we can get together this summer.
Posted by Carol Bonine on April 11, 2016
Linda ,I am so sorry to hear your Mother has passed, We will keep you in our Prayers.
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