Wanda Stange

March 1, 1938 ~ April 23, 2022 (age 84)


Services for Wanda Stange, 84, of Stratford will be 10:30 a.m., Thursday, April 28th at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Ferney.  Rev. Lloyd Redhage will officiate.  Burial will follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens under the direction of Paetznick-Garness Funeral Chapel, Groton.


Visitation will be held at the chapel from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m.


Wanda passed away April 23, 2022 at Bethesda Home of Aberdeen.


Wanda (Vitense) Stange was born to Rudy and Lois Vitense on March 1, 1938 and grew up with 10 siblings.  She graduated salutatorian from Columbia High School and gave up a scholarship to Jamestown College to marry Leon Stange May 25th 1956. They farmed with Leon’s parents, Hubert and Viola Stange for many years. As part of the farming operation, Leon regularly took livestock to Sioux Falls in a semi, and one became two and so on.  Behold Stange Trucking began and needed a bookkeeper. So along with Wanda’s mom duties, cooking, 4-H leadership, gardening, sewing, helping at church, cleaning, and keeping kids in line, she added bookkeeping and bossing truck drivers around, who lovingly called her “the old Lion”. 


Stange Trucking Inc. grew and moved to Redfield where Leon, Wanda (and Channon) went daily, while at the same time also managing the family farm.  A 10 to 12-hour workday wasn’t abnormal for them.  Stange Trucking Inc. operated from 1968 until 1975.  Leon and Wanda returned to the family farm and Wanda went to work for Braun Trucking in Warner.  She got so skilled at doing truck drivers’ paperwork that she created her own service bureau in 1976.  Wanda ran Wanda Stange Prorate Servicesfrom her home, becoming the second largest service bureau in SD, and doing drug and alcohol testing for over 500 companies.  She also kept books for the farm and Truck World, a company that was created by Leon, Wanda, and Loy in 1979. She rarely sat down.


In her ‘spare’ time she was an officer for LWML, embroidered baptism napkins, made baby blankets & other crafts and printed Playlists for Stratford Community Theatre.  She was secretary for the Northland Independent Automobile Dealers Assn for many years which Leon and Wanda attended annually.  She was also secretary of North American Transportation Services Assn and enjoyed attending national events with her sister-in-law, Darlene Wahl in tow.  Leon and Wanda spent many February’s in Yuma, Arizona with friends and Wanda’s extended family.


Wanda sold the company in 2015 and it is still growing strong in Stratford today.  Wanda retired to the family farm until 2018, when Leon passed away on their 62nd wedding anniversary.  Later that year, Wanda moved to a memory care unit in Sioux Falls to be closer to children and grandchildren. After a repaired broken hip she moved to Bethesda Home in January of this year.


Wanda was one smart lady, an incredible cook, and her potato salad is legend around these parts. She loved her 14 grandchildren so very much and always had a large pan of rice crispy bars waiting.  Holidays with the extended family were one of the joys of her life. She loved every minute of watching her families engage without her being the center of it.


She leaves behind children Cal Stange of Sioux Falls, Pam (Tim) O’Neil of Overland Park KS, Loy Stange of Stratford, Von (Cathy) Stange of Coralville IA, and Channon (Julie) Stange of Sioux Falls; 14 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren; sisters Ione Schelbitzki, Shirley Dayton, Mavis Leif, Murriel Oles, brothers Forrest Vitense and Neil (Nan) Vitense, and sisters-in-laws Kathy Vitense and Darlene Wahl.


In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to LWML St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Ferney, the Stratford Community Theater, or the Alzheimer’s Association SD Chapter.

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