LaRue August Vihauer was born on Sept. 23, 1945 at Leola, S.D. in the home of Ann Meier an R.N. LaRue lived at home with his parents, August J. and Alma (Heupel) Vilhauer on a farm fifteen miles west and one and a fourth miles south of Leola, S.D. until his eighteenth birthday. On this day, they had an auction sale and sold the farm, livestock and machinery. He attended high school in Leola, S.D., graduating in the class of 1963.
He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force for four years being stationed in Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Spain and New Mexico. He worked as a radio relay equipment repairman and attained the rank of Sergeant. In the fall of 1969, after being discharged with an honorable discharge, he enrolled at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD. as a full time student. After doing many different jobs from post office, radio station manager, and owning and running East Side Grocery from 1971-1973 in Redfield, SD. he went back to school at Presentation College in Aberdeen. In June of 1974 he passed the South Dakota licensing test for nursing home administrator. He became administrator-in-training at Mobridge Manor in Mobridge, SD, in the spring of 1975.
In August of 1975 he began his 30 year career with the railroad. He started as a section laborer and in a few months became a brakeman. In the fall of 1976 he and his family moved to Jamestown, ND, where he worked for BNSF as a brakeman, being promoted to conductor on June 20, 1978. He and his wife began building their family home on Skyline Drive where his children were raised.
The last years of his railroad career he lived in Nashua, MT. In 2005 he retired and spent the next 13 years spending time with his family and enjoying the sunshine with his “buddy” Betty Sexton of IL. They were always off to the next adventure. They were able to spend many winters in FL, AZ, Branson MS, Hawaii, and time in Mexico besides a few trips to Alaska.
His life was made fuller by the two roles he shined at; being a father and becoming a grandfather in 1995. He was very active in his three grandsons childhoods and was full of joy being willing to help out in anyway.
In 2018 he attended his oldest grandson’s college graduation and the previous years his second grandson’s high school graduation. The past few winters he has been able to watch many hockey games and sporting events of his youngest grandson. LaRue has been a grandfather and father figure to others as well.
He is survived by one son; Ronnie Vilhauer, of Terry, MT, one daughter; Connie V. Varela and her spouse Juan V. Varela of Butte, MT. Three grandchildren; Crecencio G. Varela, Diego E Varela, both of Butte, MT and Andrew Vilhauer of Terry, MT. One sister; Audrey Arleen Lapka of Kalispell, MT. He was preceded in death by his two sisters and two brothers, as well as his parents.
LaRue looked forward to being in Heaven with the Lord and his loved ones that are now rejoicing with him.
Pastor Tim Therrien will conduct the service. Burial will be at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Aberdeen, SD. Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home of Miles City is in charge of the arrangements. Condolences to the family may be sent by visiting www.stevensonandsons.com.