Andrew (Andy/Trigger) Deis, 91, of Pierre, SD, entered into eternal life on Monday, November 29, 2021, surrounded by his wife, Jan Deis, and his children. A funeral service will be held Friday, December 03, 2021, at 10:00 AM at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church (304 N. Euclid Ave, Pierre, SD). A luncheon at the church will follow the service.
Inurnment will take place 10:30am(MST) Monday December 6th at Black Hills National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to American Legion Post 8 building fund or the Oahe Family YMCA.
Andrew “Andy” Deis
Andy was born in Onaka, SD, on November 27, 1930. One of the youngest children in the large family of Paul and Lena Deis, he was always very close to his twelve brothers and sisters. When he was four years old, an older brother let Andy sight an empty BB gun. Somehow, Andy snapped his nose, thus earning himself a lifelong nickname, “Trigger”, among the Onaka crowd. He graduated from Onaka High School in 1948, worked at his brother-in-law’s grain elevator, then joined the US Air Force in 1951, during the Korean War.
In April 1952, Andy deployed to Ramstein Air Base in West Germany. He was a member of US Forces occupying West Germany to create post-war economic stabilization and to deter Soviet aggression (The Marshall Plan). Andy trained as a Quartermaster, rose to the rank of Staff Sargent and earned the Good Conduct Medal as well as German Occupation and National Defense pins. Andy thoroughly enjoyed serving his country and exploring Europe with his buddies. After completing his service, he graduated from South Dakota State University with a B.S. in Business, then returned home to Onaka to run Deis Grocery, the family business.
In 1958, Trigger married his first wife, Ruby, and together they had six children: Cullan, Carmen, Jayme, Paula, Laurie and Tracy. The Onaka years focused on time spent with extended family—snowmobiling, snow skiing, attending local dances, playing baseball, hunting, fishing, bowling, and spending every summer Sunday afternoon water-skiing with family. In 1978, Ruby and Trigger divorced and both moved to Pierre.
In Pierre, Andy expanded his “Renaissance man” hobbies by participating in several Pierre Players community theater productions and singing tenor in Barbershop Quartets. His love of singing made him a dedicated member of the Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church folk group for over 40 years.
In 1990, Andy married Jan Erickson, with whom he shared many interests such as dancing, travel and community involvement. Together they kept busy after retiring, he from 18 years as an Internal Auditor for the SD Dept of Transportation and she from teaching elementary school for decades. Jan—along with her children, Jason, Kristin and Todd—converted Andy to being an avid world traveler. With Jan, Andy sky-dived in Wisconsin, hiked a mountain in New Zealand on his 65th birthday, cruised oceans and rivers, visited museums, and made an especially poignant trip to Normandy, France, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Retirement wasn’t all play for Andy and Jan. Together they volunteered at the SD Cultural Heritage Center and were committed IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers at the Pierre Senior Center for over 26 years. Andy was active in the local Veterans Association and could always be counted on to provide military honors at funerals. He loved keeping busy at home too, through woodworking, gardening, pickling, canning and making the world’s best homemade deer sausage.
Andy and his charming smile, talents, competitiveness, and love of family, will be greatly missed by those who survive him; his wife, Jan; children, Cullan (Diane) Deis, Carmen (Dan) Carda, Jayme (Dee) Deis, Paula Deis, Tracy Deis; step-children, Kristin Erickson (partner Todd), Jason Erickson, Todd (Michelle) Erickson; grandchildren, Ryan (Amber) Carda, Melissa (Tyler) Harbeck, Daniall Deis (partner, Matt) , Amanda (Connor) Deis, Christina (TR) Stirling, Morgan (TJ) Scharge , Ben Deis, Alec Deis, Trent Erickson, and Nick Erickson; and 13 great-grandchildren. Preceded in death by daughter, Laurie Deis; his parents,11 siblings and many friends and family.