Darwin “Dar” Leroy Vilhauer 86, of Strang, Nebraska , passed away peacefully on Monday November 9th , at the VA medical Center in Omaha Nebraska after contracting the Corona Virus, that has stolen way to many , way to soon.
Darwin Leroy Vihauer was born in Tyndall South Dakota on May 15, 1934 to Emil and Helen (Fode) Vilhauer. Darwin spent all of his school years in Tyndall, and after graduating high school, he enlisted in the army where he proudly served our country for four years in ft Hamilton New York , before receiving an honorable discharge. Darwin’s next job was as an orderly at the Yankton veterans hospital, where he met (while completing her RN rotation) and soon after wedd his loyal and lifelong bride Helen Marie Knudsen. They soon started their family and had the first of three sons. During that time Darwin worked as a delivery driver for Borden’s Dairy, in Sioux City Iowa, and Helen as a registered nurse. Careers which they both would eventually retire from, and which would afford them the opportunity to discover what new parts of the country they wanted to settle in. During that time, they made their homes in Iowa, Colorado, and Wyoming , where both of their other sons would graduate from high school . After their sons left the nest, Darwin and Helen embarked on an adventure to follow their shared passion , to travel and buy and sell antiques and collectables. So they soon retired, sold their small farm, and hit the road with a pick-up , a camper, a little pocket change, and the desire to roam and discover the west , following the flea market circuit and antique shows, where they would spend the next decade. They met thousands of people, and formed close friendships with several couple’s they’d met , and shared many stories of their adventures. They enjoyed yearly get togethers at several sales and shows where they would all gather together at the end of the day , and sit outside their campers to talley the days sales, or share the days unique finds. They would battle for bragging rights about who found the best treasure, who brought top dollar on a hidden gem , and what dives and diners they encountered along their way. Often having long conversations, and debates which about what dishes they enjoyed, and which ones to avoid . While traveling to a new flea market they’d never been to, they stumbled into the sleepy, quaint little town of Strang Nebraska , and fell in love with the town and its people, and soon after purchased a home base to land on when winter halted their travels. They enjoyed many happy years in Strang, and proclaimed it to be the best place , with the best people , they had ever lived. They even celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the Strang Town hall with all of their family and friends surrounding them fo celebrate the couple that were never apart ! Darwin and Helen surrounded them selves with all their favorite treasures, and never grew tired of going to the next auction to find the next hidden gem. After losing Helen, his bride of 58 years in 2016, Darwin continued to attend auctions , which thankfully kept him active and engaged, until just over a year ago, when it became physically to much for him to live on his own, and moved into a VA assisted living center in Fairview Nebraska. Though he wasn’t able to attend auctions any more, he still had every sale bill, from every county, within 300 miles, and would discuss them at length with any and all who’d listen. God Bless You Darwin Leroy Vilhauer, you are greatly missed , and forever loved.
Darwin is preceded in death by a son Sheldon Scott, his mother Helen Vilhauer, his father Emil Vilhauer of Tyndall South Dakota, a granddaughter Stephanie Lynn Vilhauer, and his cherished wife Helen Vilhauer of Strang Nebraska.
Survivors include a son Del Vilhauer and wife Kathy , of Sheridan Wyoming. Grandsons , Justin Vilhauer of Gillette Wyoming, and Kyle Vilhauer , and wife Itelya Vilhauer, twin great granddaughters , Melony and Adia , all of Sheridan Wyoming. Son Doug , and wife Bobbi, Vilhauer, step granddaughter Jill Stern and daughters Bayle and Peyton Stern. Step granddaughter Kim and Husband Jim , and their children son Easton, daughter Hudson Buie of Spokane Washington.
He will be laid to rest in a closed ceremony , with Military Honors , at Hillcrest Cemetary in Irene, South Dakota, on November 17th , 2020