Verla M. Heikkila 89


Verla M. Heikkila, 89, of Belle Fourche went home to be with the Lord on December 20, 2023.

Verla was born September 19, 1934 in the South Cave Hills of Harding County, SD to Jahlmer “Prince” and Evelyn (Hilton) Josephson. She grew up on the family homestead and attended the country school in the Cave Hills and Buffalo High School. She worked as a telephone switch board operator while in high school.

She married Milo Richard September 27, 1952. Together they raised four children, her pride and joy. She was always involved in her children’s activities and often hosted a houseful of their friends. No one left her house hungry. Verla took great pleasure in her family and friends. She enjoyed music, growing roses, quilting, creating artwork, hunting, and fishing. Verla was well known having worked in various Belle Fourche businesses in her younger years. Verla was widowed in 1974.

She married Howard Heikkila in 1978 and they lived on the ranch in the Short Pine Hills. They enjoyed traveling throughout the United States, Canada, Hawaii; their favorite was Alaska. She loved living on the ranch with Howard and espe- cially when people stopped to visit, always ready with coffee and cookies. She was widowed again when Howard died in 2006.

She was preceded in death by her parents and both husbands; sisters, Elsie Enerson, Shirley Peterson, Joyce Jones and Rose Schar; her brothers, Donald Josephson and Virgil Josephson.

She is survived by her children, Lester (Debra) Richard of Campbellsville, KY; Loretta (LeeRoy) Waugh of Yucaipa, CA; Ruby (Paul) VanderMay of Long Valley, SD and Margaret (Gary) Collins of Belle Fourche, SD; a sister, Gloria Flinn of Belle Fourche and much loved grandchildren, Monty (Clarissa) Waugh, Autumn (Jason) Stenerson, Cody (Matt) Burkart, Heath Hitzel, Ryton (JJ) Hitzel and Lyle (Misty) Collins and seven great grandchildren and 2 great great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation was held Wednesday, December 27 at Kline Funeral Chapel in Belle Fourche.

Funeral services were held Thursday, December 28 at the Black Hills Gospel Assembly in Belle Fourche with Kenny Riley officiating. Interment will followed at 2:30 pm at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

An online guest book and video tribute is available at