Lewis Shelsta, 82, of Brookings, formerly of Clear Lake, died the morning of Feb. 4, 2018, at the United Living Community in Brookings.
Funeral services are at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Ascension Lutheran Church in Brookings. His ashes will be interred at Lakeview Cemetery in Clear Lake at a later date. Visitation is Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Eidsness Funeral Home in Brookings.
Lewis was born Jan. 30, 1936, in Hayti to James and Elizabeth (Hentges) Shelsta. He grew up on the family farm and graduated from Hayti School. During high school he played basketball for the Hayti Redbirds, winning the State Basketball Championship in 1954.
Upon graduation, he moved to Clear Lake and worked at the local Red Owl grocery store. It was while he was working here that he met Betty Crerar. A friend bet him $200 that they would be married within a year. A little over a year later (and $200 richer) they were married on Feb. 28, 1957, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Clear Lake. Thirteen days later Lewis left for basic training in the Army.
During his two years in the Army he was stationed in a supply depot in France. Upon returning to Clear Lake he worked as an electrician with Piper Electric. He took a job after that as assistant manager of Hayes-Lucas Lumberyard. He left the lumberyard to work for several years as the maintenance manager at Deuel County Memorial Hospital. His next job was at Clear Lake School where he was the maintenance and custodial supervisor, a job he kept until his retirement. After retirement he worked part time at Clear Lake Golf Course. Lewis and Betty moved to Brookings in 2007 where he had a part time job managing the fall harvest at KC Dairy in Elkton.
Lewis enjoyed the outdoors, and spent many hours hunting and fishing. He was a member of Kiwanis for 52 years serving as president in both the Clear Lake and Brookings chapters over the years. He served as a volunteer fireman and on the volunteer ambulance service in Clear Lake. Lewis was active in the Isaac Walton League, Ducks Unlimited and taught hunter’s safety courses to hundreds of kids in Deuel County. He was an active member of St .Paul’s Lutheran Church, serving on the church council several times and singing in the choir. He was an avid sports fan, rarely missing a game while he lived in Clear Lake, and continuing after his move to Brookings following the Brookings Bobcats and the SDSU Jackrabbits. He had attended a Jackrabbit basketball game the day before he entered the hospital.
Lewis touched the lives of many people over the years with his dedication to community and family, his sense of humor, his skills as a handyman and his deep faith in God.
He is survived by his wife, Betty (Crerar) Shelsta of Brookings; his son Corey (Stacy) Shelsta of Brookings; two grandchildren; a sister, Elda Rae (Shelsta) Jensen; two sisters-in-law, Eileen (Mel) Engelbrecht and Clara Crerar; a brother-in-law, James Meyer, and several nieces and nephews.