Elton Richard Ristesund, age 94, of Howard, passed peacefully into the arms of his loving Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on November 23, 2020 from natural causes. Funeral services will be 1:30 PM, Saturday, November 28, 2020, at the Willoughby Funeral Home in Howard. Burial will follow at Graceland Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to services.
Elton was born on December 14,1925 to Elias and Regna Ristesund. Elton was united in marriage to the love of his life Lorraine Voeltz on September 5th, 1950. They were blessed with two children: Rick and RaNette. Elton was born and raised on the family farm, where he regularly helped out. He then moved to Sioux Falls where he worked as a bell hop at the Carpenter Hotel and in his words “had his eyes opened to many things.” Elton proudly served in the military towards the end of WWII. He had wanted to serve right away, but wasn’t allowed to until some of his older brothers returned home safely.
A few years after getting married, Elton and Lorraine moved to Madison where they opened Elt’s Drive In. They boasted the first broasted chicken in the area. While operating their 24 hour cafe, Elton also worked at Morrell’s. During their time in Madison, Elton helped with the opening of the Lake County Speedway where he went on to be a flagman for many years. He enjoyed racing motorcars at the Soo Speedway near Sioux Falls as well.
After the success of Elt’s Drive In, he was asked to move to Sioux Falls to operate the restaurant in the newly constructed Sports Bowl. He later operated the restaurant in Suburban Lanes as well. During this time he was offered a job with the Department of Revenue as an auditor. He quickly worked his way up to the Deputy Director of the Audit Division. After retirement he loved to point out that despite only having an eighth grade education, he was selected for this job instead of several people who held college degrees.
Throughout the course of his life, he also drove taxi, a milk truck and school bus. He was a car salesman, reset bowling pins by hand, worked for Boeing in California as a riveter, and held numerous other jobs. Never one to stop working, later in life he went on to own and operate numerous businesses in Mitchell and Howard.
Once he truly retired, he kept himself busy by bowling, dancing, and farming. His favorite thing to do was watch his great grandsons play ball and proudly cheer them on. He was extremely proud of each of them. The most important part of Elton’s life was his faith in God. Even at the end of his life, he was still frequently sharing his love for God with everyone he encountered. He had been looking forward to spending eternity in Heaven with his Savior and being reunited with his wife.
He is survived by his great grandchildren Jadon, Kean, Thiago, Kinsley, Kennasyn, Kellen, Amelia, Azariah, Elianna and Isabella.
Elton was preceded in death by his parents, eight siblings, his loving wife and his son Rick. He is survived by his daughter RaNette Stevenson of Howard, SD as well as his grandchildren Carrie (Robert) Jones of Woodbury, MN, Corey (Jeri) Jastram of Sioux Falls, SD, Brigette (Feliciano) Stevenson of Emery, SD, and JaNae (Nathaniel) Molan of Rapid City, SD. He is also survived by his great grandchildren Jadon, Kean, Thiago, Kinsley, Kennasyn, Kellen, Amelia, Azariah, Elianna and Isabella.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate to one of the following ministries run by local friends who work with children in Africa. Simba Ministries: https://www.simbaministries.org/donate or City of Refuge Ministries: https://www.cormghana.org/donate
Due to the Covid19 pandemic, the service will also be live streamed on RaNette’s Facebook page for those unable to attend in person.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Elton R. Ristesund, please visit our floral store.