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Erwin P. Amenda
05-26-2024

Erwin P. Amenda, 91, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, formerly of Slinger, Wisconsin, died under the care of hospice on Sunday, May 26, 2024. 
 
Erv was born on May 18, 1933, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Fred and Frieda (Walther) Amenda.  Growing up in Milwaukee, he was active in his church's youth group where he met his future wife, Theonia "Theo" Filopoulos.  After graduating from Custer High School in Milwaukee, they were married on October 4, 1952.  Their life together of more than 71 years was buoyed by their joint faith in the Lord and their commitment to the United Methodist Church.

Erv served as a corporal in the United States Army from March 1953 to March 1955 where he was stationed in Boston, Massachusetts.  Upon his return to Wisconsin, he began a greenhouse construction business with his brother Don before starting a life-long career as an elevator mechanic for Otis and Northwestern elevator companies, ultimately retiring at the age of 62.
 
While he may have secretly wanted a son, Erv would be the first to say he had been blessed with three daughters, Sharon, Sandra, and Janet. Together, he and Theo gave their daughters a love of the outdoors and a solid work ethic, while also being the girls' never-ending source of strength and support. As a family, they camped and canoed throughout Wisconsin and upper Michigan, as well as traveled throughout the United States and Canada. After retirement, he and Theo became snowbirds, wintering first in Titusville, Florida, and then in Orange Beach, Alabama, where Erv loved to soak up the sun.
 
Erv was known for his corny puns and bad dad jokes, while often regaling his friends and family with interesting tidbits of history and trivia.
 
Mechanically inclined and handy around the house, Erv was also a master with duct tape. He never hesitated to pick up a good tool lying on the side of the road, abandoned in a dumpster, or left behind at a worksite. These he bequeathed to his three sons-in-law and grandsons in later years. Besides building things in his wood workshop, he built his dream house with Theo, an earth-sheltered home in Slinger, Wisconsin, where they lived for over 30 years in the woods.
 
As they hit the years of declining health, Erv and Theo moved to Sioux Falls in 2019, leaving behind friends, family, and church communities in the Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls, Hartford, and Slinger areas. The last three years of his life were lived at Touchmark at All Saints, a retirement community in Sioux Falls where he loved spending time playing cards, cribbage, dominoes, Jeopardy, and bingo with family and new friends; wherever he went he also carried with him a magazine of sudoku puzzles. 
 
Erv's was a quiet faith demonstrated by serving with no expectation of recognition, whether it be as a veteran or as a volunteer once he retired supervising the building of several homes and initiating a recycling program for Washington County Habitat for Humanity. The job, however, that he may have been most proud of the last years of his life was helping at his daughter's upholstery shop in Sioux Falls, by removing old fabric from furniture. He got a lot of mileage out of telling people he was her "head stripper." 
 
Erv was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Freida; his siblings, Lorraine (Bohlinger), Arnold, Lawrence, Wilmer, Donald, and Emroy; and his grandson Chad (Hamilton).  He is survived by his wife, Theonia; his daughters and the men he would come to regard as sons, Sharon (Gary) Ingles, Sandy (John) Muhle, and Janet (Dean) Jeffers; his grandsons Bryan Campbell and Luke (Lori) Brueggeman; great-grandchild, Abby Brueggeman; a brother-in-law Frank Filopoulos; and numerous nieces and nephews.
 
No formal funeral service or burial is being planned at this time. Cremation is being handled by the Barnett-Lewis Funeral Home of Sioux Falls.  A memorial service to celebrate Erv's life will be planned at a later date in Sioux Falls. Words of condolence can be sent to his family at 133 W. Doral Court, Sioux Falls, SD 57108.

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