Bernard “Bernie” Schmanski, age 89, of Sioux Falls, formerly of Madison, died on Monday, March 30, 2020 at Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls.
Bernard Thomas Schmanski was born May 14, 1930 in Owatonna, MN to Andrew & Irene (Hartle) Schmanski. He graduated from Blue Earth High School in 1948 and continued his education at St. Mary’s College in Winona for one year. He enlisted in the US Navy and served from 1949-50. Bernie attended the University of Minnesota Mortuary School in the fall of 1951 and graduated in the spring of 1952. He worked for one year at Landkamer Funeral Home in Mankato and moved on to Breckenridge, MN and started work for Joseph Vertin & Sons Funeral Home from 1953-55. After Breckenridge, he worked one year at Red Lake Falls and one year in Superior, WI until he moved to Madison, SD in 1957. The next four years he worked for the Sioux Council for Boy Scouts of America as Scout Executive. In 1961, he moved to Minneapolis and worked as Scout Executive for the Viking Council of Boy Scouts for four years. In 1965-68, he worked for Anoka County and helped develop the very first headstart program in the country. Bernie was drawn back to funeral service and moved to Fort Lupton, CO where he and his wife, Theresa, owned and operated Schmanski Funeral Home from 1968-95. He moved to Madison in 1995 and worked part-time for Weiland Funeral Chapel from 1998-2014. He kept his funeral director’s license up till the end of 2019, serving grieving families for 67 years!
He was a retired firefighter of 22 years with Fort Lupton Fire Dept. He was on the Fire Protection Board for fifteen years and during that time, he helped develop the pension for retired Ft. Lupton Volunteer Fire Department firefighters, which became the model and was eventually adopted by other Volunteer Fire Departments in the state. From 1990-92, he served as mayor of Fort Lupton with his greatest accomplishment of securing mountain water for the city. When Bernie had some spare time, he would often be found in his wood workshop or on the lake fishing.
Bernie is survived by his three sons-Thomas (Kris) Schmanski of Rapid City, SD, Robert (Dana) Schmanski of Spring, TX and William (Jennifer) Schmanski of Erie, CO; four daughters-Jeanne (Joseph) Anderson of Gillette, WY, Mary Beth (David) Shagena of Timnath, CO, Janet (Michael) Zingale of Edina, MN and Susan (Thomas) Lietheiser of Tea, SD; 17 grandchildren & 9 great-grandchildren and one sister, Donna Kowal of St. Peter, MN.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife-Theresa and brother, Don.