David M. Rager

March 23, 1951 - December 28, 2012


Service: His memorial service will begin at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, January 5, 2013 at Anderson Funeral Home in Canton, SD.

David Merritt Rager, age 61, of Montrose, SD, passed away on Friday December 28th, 2012.  He was able to spend his last weeks with family and close friends.

David was born March 23rd, 1951 in Yankton, SD to Wayne and Mary Ann Rager.  He was the older brother of Dan and Tom Rager.  David spent his childhood in many South Dakota small towns.  He lived in Scotland, Tyndall, White, Hitchcock and Canton.  David spent a lot of his youth hunting, trapping and fishing and could often be found traveling the Big Sioux with his beagle Pal.  David graduated from Canton High School in 1969 and attended Springfield College for a short time.  David joined the Air force in 1972 and served proudly until 1975.  He joined the South Dakota Air National Guard in 1975 and served for 22 years before his retirement in 1997.  David traveled and served in 18 different countries during his time in the service.

After returning from service in the Air Force, David resided in Canton, Sioux Falls and Mitchell before moving to Fort Pierre, SD.  David was a gentle, caring man who spent his career helping people with disabilities during his employment in Mitchell and Pierre, SD.  He retired in 2010. 

David was passionate about the outdoors and shared many days afield with good friends.  He would rather be out hunting and fishing than doing anything else.  He spent countless hours ice fishing and chasing catfish on the Bad River.  Some of his favorite days were spent fishing bluegills on the grasslands ponds.  David was a “dog man” and had many fantastic days afield with his Shorthairs and English Pointers.  He so looked forward to chasing grouse on the National Grasslands and spent many a good day with his dogs Slick and Big Ace.  David also had a passion for water fowling and was happiest when he was setting decoys and calling in flocks of mallards.  David also enjoyed trap shooting, metal detecting, mushroom hunting and anything that involved the outdoors.  David was a proud member of the NRA.

David is survived by his parents Wayne and Mary Ann Rager of Canton, SD; his brother Dan and wife Linda Rager of Sioux Falls, SD; his brother Tom Rager of Luverne, MN; many nieces and nephews; and long time friends Chad and Lisa Bare of Montrose, SD.

David was preceded in death by his Grandparents Karl and Johanne Damm and Clarence and Florence Rager.

David wished that any memorial donations be applied to a lifetime membership to the NRA for him.

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21 condolences have been left

  1. My memories of Dave are of a strong advocate for excellence in public land management who greatly valued the years he spent enjoying the Ft. Pierre National Grassland. As an employee of the FPNG office staff, I had many chances to listen to Dave talk about fishing, hunting and the great outdoors here in central SD. The day he brought in a nice big blue gill that he caught on the grassland and offered it as an addition to our front lobby was very memorable. Today his blue gill greets visitors who stop in from all around the country and beyond. It was a pleasure to have known Dave and his spirit and love of the land will endure in all that knew him.

  2. My sympathy to Dave’s parents and family. Dave was a good man. I will rmember him for his good conversations, talking about his dogs and loving Chad and his wife. You will be missed my friend. Rest In Peace

  3. Dave’s death is a shock to me. He and I worked together for years at Capitol Area Counciling. To me he was a wonderful caring person and very private about his feelings. I will miss his voice and all the conversations we shared. Rest in Peace Dave. God Be With You

  4. So sorry to hear of the death of your son. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  5. To the family of David Rager,
    My sincere sympathy goes to your family in the loss of your son, brother, uncle, friend and any other title he held. I know a few of your family members and just wanted to let you know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers. It must be very difficult to lose one you love, but a comfort in knowing that one day we will again see those that have gone on before. Take care and may God give you the comfort you need in these days ahead.
    God bless you all
    Gloria Meyer

  6. Deepest condolences to the family of Dave. Dave and I had many interesting conversations during our time at the Air National Guard as did many of his other friends there.

  7. Wishing you peace and comfort at this difficult time. Praying for you in your loss.
    Dorothy and LaVerne

  8. my heartfelt sympathy to Dave’s parents, brothers and special friends. I worked with Dave for many years at Capital Area Counseling Service in Pierre. Dave and I had many good times taking a van load of clients to Sioux Falls, Rapid City, the State Fair. I regret that Dave and I never got a scrabble game in, so I’ll never know who was the better player. Dave will be missed by many. He was such a kind, caring and compassionate person. May he rest in peace.

  9. Deepest sympathy. One of the hardest things in life is to lose a child. God’s blessings on two of my favorite people. Dick.

  10. I worked with Dave years ago in Pierre. He introduced me to cat fishing and I also hunted ducks, grouse and pheasants as well as coins and mushrooms. Dave was a true Sportsman. I had not seen Dave for a number of years so imagine my surprise when he showed up at my door in Viborg early last year. We picked up our friendship where we left off. I last saw Dave when he came down and spent the day for the Viborg “Danish Days” annual celebration. We talked about doing some cat fishing together in the coming year and I introduced him to another friend of mine who was an avid cat fisherman and we drove around to some area fishing spots. The one topic I remember the most about that day that day was our discussion about “Faith in God.” Dave had some concern about another close individual and where that person was “at with the Lord” and he said “I just can’t understand how anybody doesn’t believe in God, just look at creation and all this beauty” as we drove the countryside. I believe I’m going to see Dave again and I’m looking forward to it. Dave will always be someone I am thankful to the Lord for knowing. God’s richest blessings to his family!

  11. Very sad to hear about the loss of one of South Dakota’s true conservationist and avid outdoorsmen. Dave and I shared countless days ice fishing and grouse hunting in the Ft. Pierre Grasslands with his beloved Ace and Slick, cat fishing the Bad River in old “stumpie”, chasing rabbits with his beagles, shooting ducks and geese at Antelope creek, set lining for catfish on the Missouri River and sitting around his kitchen table telling stories over a beer or cup of coffee and a cigarette. I will never forget the times Dave and I shared afield. He is part of many of the outdoor stories I now tell my kids and friends. He taught me a lot about the outdoors and was always offering me “deals” on fishing and hunting equipment he had aquired. He was proud of his service to his country and believed in conserving and protecting South Dakota’s natural resources for future generations. RIP my friend. You will be missed but never forgotten.

  12. To the Rager family, i’am so very sorry for your loss.but i know he’s in good hands! I wish i was able to be with at this time as David is and always will be dear and close friend! My prayers are with David and with you. God Bess!!!

  13. My heartfelt sympathy goes to the family of David. I remember him and his brothers coming out to our farm and playing with my brother, Tom, who resides in Huron, SD now. The boys (and probably me) played up in the barn making sure we didn’t break the hay bales as we played hide-and-seek. We probably rode our horse, Speed, also while they were visiting.
    May David rest in peace. May the Lord be with you and your family as you celebrate his life and all the memories you have.
    Blessings to Rev. Rager & MaryAnne. Thank you to Dan for putting a PIK line in my arm when I was hospitalized in Nov. of 2007. I’m sorry to say that I don’t remember much about Tommy. I suppose because he was much younger than I was. God bless you all.
    Judy (Hajek Nelson) Hall (I married a bachelor-farmer when I retired from teaching 10 years ago and we live right across the road from Springdale Lutheran Church where we attend.)

  14. My deepest sympathy to David’s family. I retired from the Air Guard in 2008. David will be remembered as kind, friendly and very willing to help.

  15. My deepest sympathy to you Wayne and Mary Ann and your family. You are in my prayers and thoughts at this very diffucult time. Dave will be truly missed

  16. My sympathy to Dave’s family and friends. I worked with Dave for many years in Pierre. He was truly a good person. He was also my friend. Rest in Peace Dave.

  17. My condolences to Dave’s family. I worked with Dave in Pierre for many years. He always had a story and a smile. Dave was a true Outdoorsman. He cared deeply about the people he worked with and will be missed by many.

  18. Wayne and MaryAnn you are in our thoughts and prayers it is so very difficult to lose a son or daughter, may God wrap his loving arms around you and help you at this very difficult time. Our hearts go out to you.
    God Bless

  19. Wayne and MaryAnn thoughts and prayers go out your way at this very difficult time, may God wrap this loving arms around you. God Bless