Lyle Sturdevant, 94

Lyle V. Sturdevant, of Sioux Falls, former Brandon postmaster, Dell Rapids Dairy Queen owner, Sioux Falls area realtor and El Riad Shrine clown, died Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at age 94. Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022 at the George Boom Funeral Home & On-Site Crematory, Sioux Falls, S.D. Visitation will be from 9–10 a.m. on Tuesday at the funeral home. Additional obituary, online guestbook and link to view the livestream of Lyle’s service are available at The family requests memorials to the El Riad Transportation Fund and Dow Rummel. 

Born Aug. 6, 1927 in Sioux Falls to Arthur H. and Clara Olson Sturdevant, Lyle moved with his family in 1928 to rural Park Rapids, Minn. There the family established a small resort and Lyle acquired a prodigious work ethic and a lifelong love of the outdoors. The family returned to Sioux Falls in 1939; Lyle graduated from Washington High School in 1944 and joined the U.S. Army on his 18th birthday in 1945. After two years of stateside military service, he attended Augustana College before opting for a career in the U.S. Postal Service. He was a Sioux Falls letter carrier for nine years.

Lyle married Sunshine Mutual Insurance Co. staffer Verla Elaine Rebel on Nov. 11, 1950. They moved to Dell Rapids in 1957 to own and operate Lyle’s Dairy Queen, developing it as a full-service drive-in restaurant. After selling that business, Lyle returned to the Postal Service, becoming Brandon’s postmaster in 1972 and moving to that city in 1974. He retired from the postal service in 1991 and for the next decade worked as a realtor associated with Hegg Realty in Sioux Falls.

Lyle was passionate about bringing help and a smile to those in need. Those sentiments gave birth to “O-O the Clown,” the unicycle-riding, joke-telling alter ego Lyle developed during more than a half-century as an El Riad Shrine clown. Lyle was El Riad’s potentate in 1996. He also held leadership posts in the Masonic Order and Scottish Rite; played leading roles in committees that built sports facilities in both Dell Rapids and Brandon; raised funds annually for Minnehaha County United Way; and served as treasurer of Faith Presbyterian Church in Brandon for 11 years.

In all that he did, he was assisted to an extraordinary degree by his wife Verla. She survives him, as do his daughter, Lori, and her husband, Martin Vos of St. Paul, Minn.; son, James, and his wife, Diane, of Sioux Falls; five grandchildren, Ted Carroll (Kendra Grams), John Carroll (Brianna Olson-Carr), Emelia Carroll, Anna Sturdevant Jankord (Bradley Jankord) and David Sturdevant (Anja Cucak); four great-grandchildren, Tobias and Anika Carroll and Grace and James Jankord; and sister-in-law Eleanor Sturdevant.

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