Roland “Rollie” Robert Beran, age 94, of Yankton, South Dakota, died on Friday, April 30, 2021 at Avera Sister James Care Center in Yankton.

Mass of Christian Burial is 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Yankton with Reverend Tom Anderson officiating. Burial will be in St. Rose Cemetery in Crofton, Nebraska with military honors provided by the Crofton American Legion Post 31.

Visitation is from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 4 at Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton with a rosary and vigil service at 7:00 p.m. Visitation continues one hour prior to the funeral at the church.

The funeral will be livestreamed on Rollie’s obituary page at www.wintzrayfuneralhome.com and on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com\WintzRay. Masks will be required for those attending the visitation and funeral service.

Memorials may be directed to the House of Mary Shrine, PO Box 455, Yankton, SD 57078.

Rollie was born on November 26, 1926 in Ord, Nebraska to Frank and Martha (Karty) Beran. After graduating from Ord High School, he joined the Navy where he spent two years in the South Pacific in the Amphibious Forces. While on the ship he started his “legendary” boxing career. Rollie was one of five brothers, his early sparring partners, who served in the Armed Forces. After returning to the states, Rollie received a bachelor’s degree in Business Education from Peru State College. During his first teaching job in Verdigre, Nebraska, he met Mount Marty Nursing student Patricia Liewer. They married in 1954. Rollie held many teaching and coaching positions all across Nebraska. He kept in touch with former students and co-workers throughout his life. Traveling through the state, he knew where to catch the biggest catfish, buy a good milkshake or find a beautiful Catholic church just in time for Mass. In 1973, the Beran family moved to Crofton, Nebraska where Rollie sold insurance, once again establishing lasting friendships and discovering more farm ponds in which to fish. During that time, he served on the Knox County Supervisory Board, and was chairman of the North Frankfort Township. In 1984, his loving wife Patricia died in an ambulance accident while serving as a volunteer EMT. Years later, Rollie was blessed with a second marriage to Marsha Plihal.

Rollie was an avid sportsman with a special love for college athletics. His favorite, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, dominated the television screen every Saturday. He passed his love of college sports to his children and grandchildren. March Madness became a yearly event involving the entire family. Retirement days were spent with grandchildren: fishing, golfing and attending school activities. He and Marsha were regulars in the bleachers. Summers involved gatherings at Grandpa’s for hand size bluegill, dollar hot dogs or hamburgers. Rollie also loved following high school events and local athletes. Attending state basketball tournaments and track meets were an important yearly event. As a former coach, he embraced the successes of young people throughout Nebraska and Yankton. Later in life he got involved in thoroughbred racing, owning several horses. He loved going to Grand Island and Columbus to watch the horses run, often taking his kids and their spouses with him. Rollie and Marsha enjoyed gardening and spending time canning. His grandkids helped weed, pick beans and dig potatoes. He loved making a game out of working the garden or mowing the lawn. 

Family, friends, and faith were most important to Rollie. Time with Rollie meant pancakes, popcorn and Thanksgiving dumplings and sauerkraut. He loved to entertain his kids and grandkids as he composed silly birthday songs and listened to their vocal and instrumental talents. Rollie loved to visit. He seemed to have friends everywhere. A trip to the store meant extra time to talk and visit with someone he knew or just met. He was genuinely interested in the lives and wellbeing of those around him. Rollie’s faith played a special part in his life. The Catholic church, Mass and holy hours played an important role. He believed in the power of prayer and the rosary. Children’s masses and the House of Mary Shrine brought him joy. During his last years at Walnut Village and Majestic Bluffs, he was blessed with compassionate caregivers, “his angels,” and physician Dr. Susan Fanta and family. Along with his loving wife and family, there were many who helped him make the best of a difficult situation.

Rollie is survived by wife, Marsha of Yankton; children: Jackie (Rod) Hegge of Omaha, NE, Janine (Dennis) Carlow, Jill (Dan) Hoesing, Tami Jacobsen, and Kelli LaCroix, all of Yankton, Ted (Deanne) Beran of Fort Dodge, IA, and Janice (Curt) McKeever of Omaha, NE, one step-son, Kevin (Angie) Plihal of Oceanside, CA; 20 grandchildren and their spouses; 25 great-grandchildren; brothers: Dick Beran of Ord, NE and Don Beran of Salina, KS; and many nieces and nephews.

Rollie was preceded in death by wife, Patricia (Liewer) Beran; parents, Frank and Martha Beran; son-in-law, Stan Jacobsen; brothers, Vernon and Frank; sister, Alice Rogers; sisters-in-law, Cecile Beran and Catherine (Scotty) Beran; and brother-in-law, Carson Rogers.

Like the Fighting Irish, filled with grit, determination and tenacity, Rollie also lived for the simple joys: a bowl of popcorn before bed, a fishing pole in the trunk of the car… “just in case”, and a good laugh. 

To send an online message to the family, please visit www.wintzrayfuneralhome.com.

Yankton Press & Dakotan

May 1, 2021