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Oris Holden

Oris Holden

Elk Point, S.D.

Oris Edsel Holden, 91, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and uncle, passed away on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, at Wel-Life at Elk Point, an Assisted Living Residence.

Service will be 2 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, rural Elk Point, with the Rev. David Bentz presiding. Burial will be in the church cemetery. A prayer service will be held 7 p.m. Friday (viewing from 5 to 7 p.m., at Kober Funeral Home in Elk Point, with the Rev. Dr. Deanna Langle presiding. Condolences may be posted online to

Oris, known to most as Edsel, was born May 20, 1927, to Edward and Keise Holden in rural Elk Point, and had one sister, LaVonne. Edsel lived his entire life in the Holden farm house where he was born and was a life-long member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, where he was baptized, confirmed, served in many leadership positions, and will be laid to rest. Edsel attended grade school at Richland Country School, and Elk Point and Vermillion High Schools.

In 1945, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was transferred to the European Theater, stationed at Furstenfeldbruck, Germany. Once his service obligation was completed, Edsel returned to South Dakota to complete his education at SDSU, where he received a bachelor of Science degree in agriculture. Following college, Edsel returned to rural Elk Point to manage and farm the Holden farm.

Edsel married Orma May Strong on Dec. 29, 1952, in Tempe, Ariz. Orma joined Edsel in June, 1953, on their farm where they raised four daughters and lived together until her move to Morningside Manor in Alcester, S.D., in the fall of 2005. Edsel continued living independently on the Holden farmstead until November 2018, at which time he moved to Wel-Life Assisted Living Residence.

Edsel was a hard-working farmer, a devoted husband for 60 years, and a supportive and patient father, as well as a talented card player, musician, motorcyclist, and avid reader. Edsel probably was best known for his cunning card-play (always the score-keeper), his problem solving skills, his adventurous spirit and his quiet, yet devilish sense of humor. Over the years, he was involved in the Farm Mutual Insurance Companies, served on a number of other boards within the community, and was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for close to 68 years.

Edsel is survived by a loving family and many dear friends; his four children and their husbands, Keise Holden and David Oerke of Denver, Colo., Kristi (Holden) and Jeff Henson of Wickenburg, Ariz., Karla (Holden) and Dennis P. Donovan (LTC and Col. Ret.), and Koren Holden and Randall Toney, all of Littleton, Colo.; his 10 grandchildren, Dennis H. Donovan, Keise (Donovan) Spaulding, Erik Oerke, Kesley Henson, Abigail Donovan, Hayden Henson, Kaitlin Donovan, Kari Donovan, Kameron Toney, and Kiera Toney; his nephew, Todd Sayles; and great-nephew, Stephen Sayles.

Edsel was preceded in death by his wife, Orma May (Strong) Holden; his parents, Edward Holden and Keise (Newgard) Holden; and his sister, LaVonne (Holden) Sayles.

the life of: Oris E. Holden
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