HOT SPRINGS — Leonard Vellek, 87, of Hot Springs, and formerly of Huron, passed away Wednesday, December 2, 2020, at Fall River Healthcare in Hot Springs.
His graveside service will be held at St. Martin’s Cemetery at a later date.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held in Summer 2021.
Visit www.welterfuneralhome.com to sign the online guestbook.
Leonard Vellek was born on May 12, 1933, in Scotland, to parents Ralph and Helen (Mach) Vellek. He attended Tyndall High School, graduating in 1951.
Leonard attended the University of South Dakota from 1951 to 1953 before being drafted into the United States Army from October 1953 to October 1955 during the Korean conflict. Leonard played in the 147th Army Band during his service. After his honorable discharge, Leonard returned to USD from 1955 to 1957. He then attended University of Wichita in Kansas and University of Minnesota-Minneapolis from 1958 to 1959.
Leonard taught band at Scotland Public Schools from 1959-1967. He then served at the band director for Huron Public Schools from 1967 to 1989. During his tenure as band director, he also played in numerous dance bands and night clubs throughout the Midwest and Arizona with the Al Douglas Trio with Doug Almond and Tom Fritz. Leonard played in the Joplin Missouri Symphony, Lewis and Clark Symphony, Minneapolis Civic Symphony, South Dakota American Legion Band, and played and directed the Huron Municipal Band.
Leonard was past president of the South Dakota Bandmasters Association and Phi Beta Mu-Honorary Band Director’s Fraternity. Leonard was also a member of NARD (National Association of Rudimental Drummers). In 1988, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the South Dakota High School Activities Association.
In June of 1958, Leonard married Patricia Whalen in Flandreau. Patricia passed away in 1979.
Leonard was a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Parish. He served as the church organist for many years.
Grateful for having shared in his life are his children, Shawn (Cindy) Vellek of St. Paul, Minn., Kathleen (Rick) Ayala of Great Lakes, Ill.; son-in-law, John Entwisle of Hot Springs; four grandchildren, Eamin and Colin Entwisle, and Ricky and Patrick Ayala.
Leonard was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Patricia; his daughter, Gay Lynne Entwisle in 2019; siblings, Dr. Don (Ita) Vellek and Dorothy Schaefer.