Richard "Dick" Arthur Trankle was the eldest of John and Eva Trankle's four children, born June 14, 1936 in Rapid City and raised in Johnson Siding, SD. Growing up on the farm, Richard was raised with a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility, unwavering commitment to his family, and an appreciation for all of life's joys large and small (including well-timed practical jokes), all of which remained hallmarks of his character throughout his life. He graduated from Rapid City Stevens High School with the class of 1955 as a proud member of the Good Ol' Boyz car club. Richard and his beautiful bride of 62 years, Betty Granaas, began their married life together February 14, 1960, before welcoming a son (Kenneth Dean Trankle) and daughter (Karla Kay West).
Although his children and grandchildren were his greatest joys, his point of personal pride set in his 42 years of service to the South Dakota Army National Guard (SDARNG). Over the first 25 years of his career, Richard served the U.S. Property & Fiscal Office, South Dakota Emergency and Disaster Service, and South Dakota Department of Transportation and Highways. In 1974, Richard was appointed as the state Command Sergeant Major for the SDARNG, serving until his appointment to Warrant Officer in 1985. Richard was honored with many awards and decorations during his military career, including the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters, and the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters. After retiring from the U.S. Army as a Chief Warrant Officer Four on June 14, 1996, Richard reentered public service as a Special Projects Officer for the state.
Of special note in Richard's service to others was the instrumental role he held in the week following the 1972 Rapid City flood. Within minutes of the floods beginning, Richard was selected by state leadership as the civil defense coordinator, where he led the rescue, recovery, and rebuilding efforts.
Throughout his civilian and military career, Richard – a life-long learner – pursued many continuing education programs, including Explosive Ordnance Reconnaissance, U.S. Corps of Engineers Flood Water Studies, DoD Contract Law, Advanced Warrant Officer School, as well as numerous others.
Richard's life of service extended beyond his professional career with service on various committees, boards, and organizations, including lifetime membership in Disabled American Veterans, Yelduz Shrine, S.D. Civil Preparedness Association, National Search and Rescue Association, the Military Officers Association of America, and many others.
Those who knew Richard knew his personality extended far beyond his illustrious career and commendations. He was an avid reader with a particular fondness for historical fiction and action mysteries. He looked forward to coffee with his friends and "Sunday Night–Pizza Night" with Betty. He insisted peanut butter went well with everything, always asked if "rattlesnake or alligator" were on the menu, appreciated a good scotch, and could spend hours watching Gunsmoke reruns.
Richard was met in Heaven by his parents, brother Ronald Keith, and sister Barbara Ann; his memory lives on in those who survive him, including his daughter Karla (and Wally) West, son Ken (and Jill) Trankle, granddaughter Courtney West, grandson Brandon West, brother Raymond (and Kathy) Trankle, a large family of great-grandchildren (Chayton, Lexi, and Kiara), cousins, nieces, and nephews, and all those who were lucky enough to cross his path.
Richard lived every day of his life in devoted service to God, his family, the State of South Dakota, and the United States of America. He was an incredible man. We miss him deeply and are forever grateful to have known him.
Dick's Funeral Service was Friday, June 10, 2022 at Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home in Rapid City. Burial was at 1:30 that afternoon at the Blak Hills National Cemetery with full military honors rendered by the South Dakota Army National Guard and VFW Post 1273.
A memorial was be established in Dick's memory to the Shriners Hospitals for Children.