Verna May (Foote) Ellenson

Verna May (Foote) Ellenson, 69, of Redfield, SD, passed away Friday, May 5, 2023, at Community Memorial Hospital Avera Hospice in Redfield after a year-long battle with cancer.

   Visitation will be from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., with family present, on Monday, May 8, at Hyke Funeral Home in Redfield.  A prayer service will begin at 7:00 p.m.

   Verna’s funeral service will be at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 9, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Redfield, with Ray Dunn officiating.  Interment will follow at Greenlawn Cemetery in Redfield.  After the committal service, lunch and fellowship will take place in the church hall.  

   Both the prayer service and funeral service will be live-streamed on the funeral home’s website below Verna’s obituary.  Arrangements have been entrusted to Hyke Funeral Home ( 

   Verna was born in Britton, SD, on May 16, 1953, to Ralph and Anna Jean (Hanson) Foote.  She grew up on the family farm northeast of Langford, SD.  All schooling was done at Langford, and Verna graduated with honors in 1971.  One of her favorite high school memories was visiting Washington, D.C.  She attended Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD, and graduated in May 1974. 

   Verna married James Ellenson, and they enjoyed life together for 52 years.

   Verna taught school at Holabird, a rural school in the Hyde County School district, from August 1974 until May 1975, and then taught at New Effington from August 1975 through May 1978.  From August 1978 through May 2008, she taught at Redfield Public Schools, primarily the 3rd and 5th grades.  She also assisted in the operation of Dairy Queen in Redfield and decorated many ice cream cakes for Redfield area residents through the years. 

   Reading, attending grandchildren’s activities as well as NSU sporting events, watching the Minnesota Twins and Vikings, camping (especially at Roy Lake), and traveling were some of her favorite pastimes.  She enjoyed traveling to 44 of the 50 states, taking cruises, and visiting both state and national parks.  One of her favorite places to visit was Las Vegas, Nevada.  She valued her time as a member of the Redfield Carnegie Library Board.  She was also an active member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Redfield.  Some of her recent church activities include attending Circle, Book Club, and serving on the endowment committee.

   Verna will be missed by her husband James Ellenson; and children: Justin (Chantel Voeltz-Schmit) Ellenson of Aberdeen and his children Tim and Hannah; Melissa (Austin) Zastrow and their children Micah, Zoe, and Malachi, all of Redfield; and Jill (Thomas) Tomsha of Tulare.  She is also survived by her great-grandchildren; mother Anna Jean Foote; mother-in-law Ruth Ellenson; siblings: Reta Thovson, Neil Foote, Wayne Foote, Ward Foote and their families; and siblings-in-law:  Joan Tisher, John Ellenson, Judy Ellenson, and Gene Ellenson and their families.

   She is preceded in death by her father Ralph Foote, father-in-law Don Ellenson, son-in-law Jason Schumacher, and granddaughter Kennedy Tomsha.