Cover photo for Jean Bakke's Obituary
Jean Bakke Profile Photo
1924 Jean 2024

Jean Bakke

August 9, 1924 — May 6, 2024

My Jean Avis Bakke passed away at the Bethesda Home in Webster, South Dakota on Monday, May 6, 2024 at age 99.

Visitation and funeral service will be held at the Fiksdal Funeral Service chapel on Saturday, May 11, in Webster. The family will be present from 1-2 PM and the service will begin at 2 PM. In honor of her service in the United States Navy, inurnment will be in the Black Hills National Cemetery.

 Jean was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on August 9, 1924, the first of six children born to Elmer and Dorothy Selgestad. Jean grew up on various farms in the Madison area in an era that demanded extreme effort and perseverance, traits that would continue in Jean throughout her life. Through it all, The Depression, the lack of electricity or running water, the need to work the land and care for animals, no matter the conditions, and the need to survive as a family, the Selgestad family manifested a great sense of humor and zeal for life. Jean was certainly known for her humor, razor-sharp wit and her wonderful laugh.  Jean and her family remained close, and Jean was particularly devoted to her mother until her death, also at age 99.


 Jean attended high school in Madison, graduating in 1942 in the midst of World War II. Jean enlisted in the Navy and served as an airplane mechanic in Norman, Oklahoma until the end of the War. (Jean felt it a distinct privilege to travel on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. in 2010 to be recognized there along with other World War II veterans.) Following an honorable discharge, Jean returned to Madison, where she had her own apartment and was employed as an office worker and later as the manager of Buches clothing store. It was in Madison that she met and later married, Graydon Bakke. They were married in 1947 and welcomed two sons, Gregory Allan in 1948 and Kevin Gene in 1949. The family moved to Mitchell where Graydon was a member of the South Dakota Highway Patrol, and then to Webster in 1952 where Graydon continued with the Highway Patrol and Jean worked for Halbkat Drug Store. Graydon was elected Day County Sheriff in 1970, serving three terms. During this 12-year period, Jean worked at the Day County Jail with Graydon, living in an apartment next to the Jail, caring for and managing the detainee population.


 Jean was a very active member of the Webster community, beginning as a volunteer at the Day County Museum in 1954 and eventually becoming the (volunteer) Director of the Museum, serving for 66 years until the museum was temporarily closed due to Covid.  Jean’s dedication and service is evident in the quality of this extraordinary institution. Jean was a member of the St. John Lutheran Church and St. John W.E.L.C.A. She was a 50-year member of the Day County Legion Auxiliary, a member of the Red Hats and a founding member of the Jr. Websterian Club.


 Jean loved to socialize and was an avid bridge player and member of several bridge clubs. Jean loved to play host to her various bridge clubs and her beautiful and creative tablescapes and luncheons were highly anticipated and appreciated by her friends. She also loved to dance and kept active by dancing regularly well into her 90s.
 
 Jean had an indomitable spirit and strength. She was a hard worker whose service to her family, her community, and her country, as an exemplary member of The Greatest Generation, was an inspiration to all those she leaves behind.


 Jean is survived by her son Kevin (Patty), Rapid City, SD; grandchildren Trevor Bakke, of Minnesota, and Sara Bakke (Jamie Stanton), Rapid City; great-grandchildren Madeline Bakke, Graydon J. Bakke and Seth Bakke-Stanton; and, two sisters, JoAnn Redmann, Renton WA and Susan Deniger, Port Orchard, WA, as well as many admiring nieces and nephews. Jean was preceded in death by her husband, Graydon P., her parents, her son, Gregory, grandson, Travis Bakke, and two brothers, Leon and Vincent Selgestad, and a sister, Mary Newcomb.


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