Ethel was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on September 6, 1921, to Charles and Bessie Dirks. Ethel graduated from Harrisburg High School in 1939 and went to work at John Morrell & Co. She married Thomas G. Risty on April 8, 1944, at East Side Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls. Following her employment at John Morrell & Co., Ethel worked for the Minnehaha County Court Services as Secretary to Judge William Heuermann until her retirement.
Ethel was an active member of East Side Lutheran Church, where she taught Sunday school for many years. Ethel was also a lifelong member of the VFW Women’s Auxiliary, serving terms as the local and state President. She was a member of the Harrisburg American Legion Auxiliary, and was also active with United Commercial Travelers for many years. Ethel enjoyed a variety of hobbies, such as music, playing cards with her family and friends, sewing and cross-stitching and, most of all, her beautiful flowers.
Ethel is preceded in death by her husband, Tom, her parents Charles and Bessie Dirks, five brothers, Richard Dirks, Howard Dirks, Calvin Dirks Herbert Dirks and Alfred Dirks, and two sisters, Margaret Dirks and Lois Huisman. She is survived by her sister Helen Larson and brother Warren Dirks, of Harrisburg, SD, one daughter, Roxanne Patzlaff (Morris), sons Ronald (Lynn) Risty, Roger (Julie) Risty, all of Sioux Falls, and Robert (Brenda) Risty of Dell Rapids. She is also survived by 12 grandchildren, including Carmen Fisher, Jacob (Noelle) Egge, Brett Egge, Justin Egge, Jamelle Moen, Janece Risty, Angela (Chris) Northrop, Jalona (Rick) Gillette, Jeremy (Becca) Risty, Brittany Risty, Ondrea Patzlaff and Karissa (Mike) Haddican, 13 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
The family would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to her special caregiver Colleen Miles, Sanford Hospice and the great staff at Good Samaritan Luther Manor, whose kindness and special care were of great comfort to her.
Visitation will be held at George Boom Funeral Home on Monday, August 5, 2013, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. The funeral service will be held at East Side Lutheran Church on Tuesday August 6, at 10:00 a.m., with interment following at Hills of Rest Cemetery in Sioux Falls. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to South Dakota Special Olympics and Outlaw Ranch/Lutherans Outdoors.