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E. R. 'Duke' Testerman
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E.R. "Duke" Testerman, 66, of Dell Rapids, S.D., passed away Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2004, following a 20-year battle with heart disease.

His funeral service was held on Saturday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m. in the First United Methodist Church in Sioux Falls. Interment was in the GAR Cemetery at Miller.

Elbert Ray Testerman was born May 16, 1938 to Freel and Orena (Hale) Testerman on the family farm south of Wessington. He and his twin sister, Ella, were the youngest of nine children. They were named "The Duke and the Duchess" by loving family members, and for 66 years Elbert was "The Duke."

He graduated from St. Lawrence High School in 1957. He attended the University of Wyoming in Laramie; Northern State University, Aberdeen; and received his degree in Hospital Administration from the University of Minnesota.

He was united in marriage with Carolyn Blakslee July 30, 1961. They had two daughters, Robin and Renae. Their family resided in Miller until 1985.

Duke was a bank officer of First National Bank in Miller for 13 years following college. He became a hospital administrator in 1972 and was CEO in Miller, in Polson, Montana, and in Lynch, Nebraska, where his hospital was one of the top 100 performing hospitals in the nation.

He was president of the South Dakota Hospital Association; a member of the United Methodist Church in Miller; Past Master of St. Lawrence Masonic Lodge No. 39; El Riad Shrine; a 20-year 4-H leader; and a Dell Rapids City Council Member.

He enjoyed fishing with his son-in-law, Joel, and hunting on his son-in-law David's ranch. Duke was proud "PaPa" to Rachael and Matthew, his beloved "Lil' people." His happiest moments were spent gardening, canning and watching nature. Duke was extremely proud that both his daughters chose "healthcare" as their profession. Duke was the ultimate "jokester."

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Carrie, of Dell Rapids; his daughters, Robin (David) Gadd of Highmore, and Renae (Joel) Clark of Sioux Falls; his two grandchildren, Rachael and Matthew Clark; two brothers, Russel (Berniece) and Philip (Phyllis) of Miller; three sisters, Marion Sears of New Kirk, Ok, Aloa (Roger) Carter of Greensboro, N.C., and twin sister, Ella (Richard) Cotton of St. Lawrence; sister-in-law, Eva Testerman of Seattle, WA.; numerous nieces and nephews; and a host of close neighbors and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, three siblings, a nephew and a niece.