Royce Lee Hetland, of rural Plankinton, chose a tractor over an engineering degree because he could already fix most things. Royce Hetland went to meet the greatest fixer of all on July 3, 2019, following a year and a half long battle with cancer.
Royce was born January 30, 1938, to Melvin and Marie (Johnson) Hetland. He graduated from Mt. Vernon High School in 1956. His stories about his younger years include a mischievous smile and a twinkle in his eye followed by saying he, “never got in trouble.” After graduation he attended one semester at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. His dad offered him a 720 John Deere tractor and he came straight home to farm. He married Adonna Jean Dodd on October 21, 1962. Together they had two sons, Daren and Brent. Royce served in the South Dakota National Guard for seven years. He was a member of Victor Lutheran Church and Salem Lutheran Church where he served as a Sunday School teacher and member of the church council. Royce was a member of the Palatine Township board for several years. He farmed until his retirement in 1999.
Royce is known for fixing things. He often told his sons what the problem was and how to fix it over the phone without even looking. He was most proud of taking apart old rusted hit and miss engines and making them run like new. He loved starting them and watching them run. He took them to fairs and parades and even used them to make ice cream. Royce loved fishing and hunting. Many fond memories were made at “Het’s Haven,” his camper at Lake Oahe.
Royce is survived by his loving wife of 56 years Adonna, his sons Daren (Cara) Hetland of Sioux Falls and Brent of Durham, North Carolina; his grandchildren, Bailee (Alex) Clem of Sioux Falls, Taylor (Tyler Van Voorst) and Carlee Hetland of Sioux Falls, Adam and Elise Hetland of Durham, North Carolina; brothers-in-law LeRoy (Lydella) Dodd, Delmar Plamp; sister-in-law MaryAnn Hetland; many nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends. Royce was preceded in death by his parents, Melvin and Marie Hetland; his brother Harvard Hetland and sister Diann Plamp; niece Kim Schoenfelder.
Visitation is Friday, July 5, 2019, at Bittner Funeral Chapel with family present from 5-7 pm and a prayer service at 6:30 pm. The funeral is Saturday, July 6, 2019, at 10:30 am at Salem Lutheran Church in Mt. Vernon.