Wayne Compton

Wayne L. Compton was born Feb. 12, 1935, to Lewis M. and Evangeline Compton at his father’s homestead on the Limestone near Moon, S.D. This remained his home until he was 19 years old when he took a seasonal job with the U.S. Forest Service at Teepee Ranger Station. He worked as a logger and ranch hand in the Newcastle, Wyo., area.
In 1955, he met his future wife while working on one of these ranches. He married Betty Mahnke in 1958 in Newcastle. In 1959 he began a permanent career with the U.S. Forest Service at the Junction Ranger Station which brought the family to Custer, S.D. Their first child was born in May of that year.
In 1961 the Harney Ranger District was created by a consolidation of Bear Mountain and Hill City, S.D., ranger districts. Wayne moved to the district headquarters in Hill City at this time. In 1962, they welcomed their second child and purchased a home on Clay Street in Custer.  
Wayne spent many years with the Forest Service serving as a fire control technician and in forestry management. He served with Black Hills Helitack, and as a liaison with contract fire crews fighting fires in many western states. He retired from the Forest Service in May 1994.
After retirement he spent three summers returning to his love of horses working as a wrangler for Roy Miller’s Trail Rides north of Custer. In the fall of 1995 he started working for the Custer School District as a crossing guard and custodian in the winters and later a groundskeeper.  He worked for the school district until 2010.
Outside of his careers he served the community he loved in many ways. He was an active member of Saint John the Baptist Catholic Parish, a member of the St. Brendan’s Council of the Knights of Columbus for 56 years, he served as a member of the Custer City Council, was active with Custer Youth Bowling and the teener baseball program and served as a member of the Custer Volunteer Fire Department for 33 years.
Wayne passed away peacefully in his Clay Street home of 59 years on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. He was 86.
He is survived by his wife, Betty Compton of Custer; daughters, Janice (Jim) Coates of Custer and Vicki (Daniel) Keierleber of Newcastle; grandson Cody (Bridget) Coates of Thermopolis, Wyo.; granddaughters Candace Keierleber of Federal Way, Wash., and Whitney (Justin) Cosenza of Casper, Wyo.; great-grandchildren Zayden and Jasmine Cosenza and Jackson, Grant and Andrew Coates; brother, Lewis J. Compton of Hill City; sister, Augusta Nissen of Billings, Mont.; and many extended family and special friends who continue to love him.
Christian funeral vigil services were March 23 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Custer.
Christian funeral mass was March 24 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Custer.
Christian funeral committal services will be held at 2 p.m. March 24 at Greenwood Cemetery in Newcastle.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established for St. John the Baptist Catholic Church gathering area.
Arrangements have been placed in the care of Chamberlain McColley’s Funeral Home in Custer.

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