John E. Kangas


December 14, 1938 - November 18, 2020


John E. Kangas, 81, of Mitchell, SD, died peacefully Wednesday, November 18, 2020 in his home under hospice care. Funeral services will be 2:00 PM Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at Bittner Funeral Chapel. Burial will be at New Home Lutheran Cemetery in rural Mitchell. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at Bittner Funeral Chapel. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

John E. Kangas was born in Kingston, MN, to Roy and Marian Kangas. As the son of a creamery manager, John and family moved several times in Minnesota. In 1952, the Kangas family moved from Minnesota to a farmstead south of Ethan. After High School, John enlisted in the SD National Guard and was honorably discharged after his 4 year commitment. In 1961, the Kangas family moved bought a dairy farm south of Mitchell.  John always wanted to be a farmer and was a great joy in his life.  He met and married Shirley Louderback of Sundance, WY, in April of 1962 and resided at the Kangas Dairy Farm. Here they welcomed three daughters; Connie, Deanna and Nancy, into the family.  In 1977, the family moved to Wessington Springs for John to manage K & E Implement. After an implement fire, the family moved to Custer, SD, to become the shop foreman at Murner Chevrolet. In 1988, John accepted the position as Haakon County Extension Agent for 15 years and retired in 2003. He enjoyed working with the 4H kids and judging projects and assisting the ranchers in the area. After retiring, John enjoyed working as a handy man in and around Philip. In 2018, John and Shirley moved back to Mitchell to be closer to family.

John was the recipient of the Young Farmer of the Year Award in 1969. He served on countless committees, 4H boards, Philip City Council, and was the Chair of the Philip Airport Board. John had a lifelong love of animals of all kinds, but especially dogs.

John is survived by his wife, Shirley (Louderback), Mitchell, SD; daughters, Connie (Lee) Dougan, Wessington Springs, SD, Deanna (Mike) Hananel, Marina Del Rey, CA, Nancy (Kent) Wietgrefe, Mitchell, SD; grandchildren, John (Melissa) Dougan, Chester, SD, Hope (Clay) Wenzel, Wessington Springs, SD, Adam Wietgrefe (Travis AFB, Davis, CA), Luke (Kenzie) Wietgrefe, Aberdeen, SD, Jason Hananel, Marina Del Rey, CA and Joshua Hananel, Marina Del Rey, C; 6 great-grandchildre, Ben and Carson Dougan, Chester, SD, and Cole, Chase, Crew and Hanna Wenzel, Wessington Springs, SD; siblings, Glenn (Marles-deceased) Kangas, Bemidji, MN, Mona (Pete) Erickson, Plankinton, SD, Gail (Faye) Kangas, Rapid City, Jerry-deceased (Fran) Kangas, Warrensberg, MO, Kristie (Rick) Musick, Houston, TX; and sisters-in-law, Dona (Darrell) Joy, Cannon City, CO, and Dean (Ardith) Louderback, Oberlin, KS. 

He is preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Marian Kangas; sister-in-law, Marles Kangas, Bemidji, MN; and brother, Jerry, Warrensberg, MO.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be contributed to the SDSU Department of Agriculture.



Tuesday, November 24, 2020
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Bittner Funeral Chapel
805 W Havens Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301


Tuesday, November 24, 2020
2:00 PM
Bittner Funeral Chapel
805 W Havens Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301


New Home Lutheran Cemetery
Rural Mitchell, SD

Posted by Chuck and Elaine Thuringer on November 24, 2020
Many fond memories of the Kangas family and our condolences at this sad time.
Posted by Sheila Leetcher on November 24, 2020
Known John for 60 + years and loved his sense of humor, love for his family and high values. His faith in God was evident and our hearts ache that he is gone. But love lives sympathy to Shirley and the family.
Posted by Violet Wenck on November 23, 2020
Thinking of you guys and sending my sympathy with love. So hard to say goodbye to Dad.
Posted by Dan a Jan Raml on November 23, 2020
Our sincere sympathy to the Kansas family on Johns passing.
Posted by Ted on November 23, 2020
Love and prayers for all of John's family!
Posted by Val & Dawn Luckett & Family on November 23, 2020
Thoughts and prayers to all
Posted by Ida Marie Snorteland on November 22, 2020
Our deepest sympathy to the Kangas family. Nancy, I was thinking about you yesterday as someone talked about RSVP. I thought about the Martin Luther King chili feed that RSVP organized. Miss you.
Posted by Vera Boje on November 22, 2020
I’m so sorry to hear of Johns passing, He was a great co worker & Extension Agent in Haakon & Jackson county And a caring man for all who crossed his path. John will be missed by many. Sending prayers for Comfort to Johns family during this difficult time
Posted by Johanna Anderson on November 22, 2020
So sorry to hear of John's death. My sympathy to you, Shirley. May the Lord comfort you.
Posted by Sheryl Hansen on November 22, 2020
John was such a wonderful Extension Agent and I have many fond memories of working with him. He such a kind, Christian man and set such an example to all our 4-H kids and their families.
Posted by Moneik Stephens on November 22, 2020
John was a great Extension Agent and will be remembered for all the years he helped me in 4-H.
Posted by Kevin and Cindy Pfeifle on November 22, 2020
Shirley, please accept our sincere sympathy.
Posted by Kevin and Cindy Pfeifle on November 22, 2020
Shirley, please accept our sincere sympathy.
Posted by Jessica Root on November 22, 2020
So sorry ,Shirley. I have many memories of Johm sitting aroud our table after he and his partner Bud finished a job for us. He was so pleasant to visit with. May the Peace of God be with you and your family now and in the days to come.
Posted by Judy Gohl on November 21, 2020
Our sympathy to the Kangas family. God bless you as you grieve your loss and as you rejoice at John's homegoing. Love, Don & Judy (Backlund) Gohl
Posted by Velma Scott on November 21, 2020
So sorry for your loss Shirley. Sympathy to you and your family.
Posted by Joel Kangas on November 20, 2020
My deepest sympathies to Aunt Shirley, my cousins and the whole family. John was a wonderful man. He made people feel welcome and comfortable as he engaged then in conversations. You could tell he loved his Lord and other people.
Posted by Gloria Smith-Rockhold on November 20, 2020
I feel your loss. John was an extraordinary man, only a few like him. The kind of man you'd love to have in your family. A good Christian man, a man of principles and values. May the peace of the Lord be with Shirley, Connie, Deanna, and Nancy and all the Kangas family at this time of deep sorrow.
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