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July 15, 1929 ~ October 8, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old
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Mass of Christian Burial for Eugene Prunty, 94, of Andover will be 10:30 a.m., Saturday, October 14th at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. Father Gregory Tschakert will officiate. Burial with military honors will follow in All Saints Catholic Cemetery, Andover under the direction of Paetznick-Garness Funeral Chapel, Groton. Services will be broadcast live on GDILIVE.COM and will also be broadcast on GDIRADIO at 89.3 FM, available within 1 mile of Groton.
Visitation will be held at the church from 5-7 p.m. on Friday with a wake service at 7:00 p.m.
Gene passed away Sunday, October 8, 2023 at Sun Dial Manor, Bristol.
Eugene “Gene” Patrick Prunty was born on July 15, 1929 to Francis Patrick (FP) and Victoria Josephine (Schmit) Prunty at their home outside Andover, South Dakota. He was delivered by his father and was the 7th of 16 children. He was baptized and confirmed at All Saints Catholic Church in Andover. He attended the country school and graduated from Andover High School in 1947. After the fall harvest he went to Tioga, North Dakota for the grain and potato harvest. He returned to the Andover area in 1949.
Gene was drafted into the Army in December 1951. During the Korean War, Gene worked as a construction engineer in the Combat Corps of Engineers building roads from July to October in 1953. One road was on the 38th parallel north of Seoul and another to an Air Force radar station on top of the highest mountain in South Korea. His unit also built the compound at Panmunjom, where North and South Korean officials met, and he was present for the prisoner exchange. While stationed in Manchuria, (now North Korea), Gene told a reporter, “We didn’t have a warm meal for two and a half months.” Gene served 22 months and was discharged at Camp Carson, Colorado in October 1953 at the rank Sergeant.
Following military service, Gene attended the Agricultural School (GI Farm School) in Andover, SD and then returned to the family dairy farm. Over the years he raised cattle, sheep, chickens, pigs, dairy cows and farmed 400 acres of crops (barley, oats, rye, corn, wheat, alfalfa, sorghum and hay).
He was united in marriage to Bernice Louise Nehls Larson on September 21, 1982 (the same day as his parents wedding). Bernice had two adult children Dennis and Ruth (George) Kimball. Bernice and Gene made their home on the Prunty Registered Holstein Farm for the next 20 years. They enjoyed traveling to visit relatives and friends in Seattle and Alaska. Gene visited Ireland, from where his namesake, Patrick Henry Prunty immigrated in 1845 to Shiocton, Wisconsin, the site of the original Patrick Prunty Family farm. For several years Gene was the Andover Santa Claus driving his team of miniature horses to town. Gene served as treasurer for the Threshing Association for 7 years. He also served on the Andover centennial committee. On November 10, 2017, Eugene Prunty received the Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal. He was also a continuous member of the American Legion Post 258, Department of South Dakota for over 70 years.
Gene was widowed in June 2002. In 2014 Gene moved to The Groton Manor and then in 2017 to Sun Dial Manor in Bristol, SD.
Gene is survived by one brother: Bill (Betty) Prunty, Salinas, CA; Three sisters: Sister Pat Prunty PBVM, Sioux Falls, SD; Dorothy (John) Meier, Normal, IL; Theresa (Darell) Evers, Mankato, MN; step-daughter, Ruth (George) Kimball, Anchorage, AK and many nieces and nephews.
Gene was preceded in death by his wife Bernice, his parents, four brothers: Robert, Edward, Tom and Clarence; seven sisters: Mary Prunty, Marge Wing, Evelyn Overas, Cecelia (Heinen) Jurgens, Betty (Grode) Gollnick, Ruth Prunty, and Marian Grode.