Special thanks to Dr. Sylvester Clifford, Jim Walters, Dr. Robert Litke, Judy Flanagin, Margaret King, Ruth Samuelsen, Sally Coddington Dolan and Dr. Dean Lockwood for their recollections of years gone by.

The organizational meeting of the South Dakota Speech-Language-Hearing Association was held in Pierre, SD in 1958.  Marvin Knittel, who was working in the Aberdeen Public Schools with Margaret King, was elected President but there was no formal convention held.  Margaret noted there were fewer than ten people attending and that that may have represented all who worked in the state at that time.  The others attending were Ethel Bridgeford, Rapid City; Mr. and Mrs. Flint, Augustana College; Mr. DeLaubenfels, University of SD; Sally Coddington (Dolan) Crippled Children's Hospital and School; and Gaylen Dragert, PhD from South Dakota State College.  Dr. Dragert was in a wheelchair and was helped by graduate assistants Bob Litke and Adrian Parmeter.

Dr. Litke remembers that Ethel was the motivating force to get the group organized.   Ethel had been a speech pathologist in Portland, Oregon and had completed a semester toward her masters degree when the director of the South Dakota State Department of Health and asked of her to start a speech and hearing program under the Division of Crippled Children.  She served Pennington, Meade, and Lawrence counties and the Rapid City Schools.  Ethel used the development of this program for her thesis at the University of Iowa and received her masters degree in 1946 and then returned to South Dakota.

Another "quieter" force for speech therapy in South Dakota was Lily Thomsland who worked in Sioux Falls.  She believed in the Moto-Kinesthetic method, which was a manual manipulation of the articulators.  Lily and Sally Coddington Dolan were the only speech therapists in Sioux Falls before 1959.

Mary Twitchell and Jim Walters followed Marv Knittel and Margaret King in the Aberdeen Schools. Margaret moved to Rapid City in 1961 and worked a year and a half until her first child arrived. Some of the speech therapists who worked there were Ethel Bridgeford, Mary Twitchell, Nancy Stevens, Jane Case, Sharon Lee, and Ruth Samuelsen. Margaret returned to work in 1979.

Dr. Sylvester Clifford arrived at Univeristy of South Dakota during the summer of 1961.  (He retired in 1994.)  His predecessors were James Cavanaugh and James McDearmon who had initiated the speech therapy/audiology program.  Dr. Harold Jordan, Chair of the Speech Department at University of South Dakota, also was instrumental in the programs inception. During those years students earned a double major: one in speech therapy and one in speech/drama/debate.

Dr. Clifford remembers attending a business meeting in Pierre during the winter of 1961-62 where several people including Ethel Bridgeford, Jim Walters, Mary Twitchell, Keith Newcomb (CCHS), and Margaret King were still trying to shape/word a constitution and get some recognition from the State Department of Education.  In 1961, there were two ASHA certified SLPs: Ethel Bridgeford and Sylvester Clifford.

By 1965, there were 25 active members and 8 associate members.  Jim Walters was President when South Dakota Speech-Lanuague-Hearing Association's Third Annual convention was held at the Crippled Children's Hospital and School in Sioux Falls.  Speakers included Ethel Bridgeford on "Therapy for Tongue Thrust";  John B. Gregg, M.D. "Techniques of Stapesdoplasty Surgery"; and William M. Shearer. Ph.D "Recent Research in Stuttering Behavior: (A) Middle Ear Activity (B) Self-Recovery.


Active Members

Pat Adam*

Charles Anderson

Susan Armstrong*

Ethel Bridgeford*

Jean Britton*

Maribeth Chase*

Sylvester Clifford*

Betty Culligan*

Arlene Howard


Raymond Hull*

Margaret King*

DeAnna Lacina

Sharon Lee

Robert Litke*

Natalie Nelson

Keith Newcomb

Kay Rubendall*

Sister Doris Oberembt

Verlyn Swee*

Richard Terry*

Joan Theilman*

Lily Tjomsland*

Billie Jo Tupper*

James E. Walters*

Evelyn Woods


Associate Members

Ruth Duncan (Samuelsen)

Jeanette Higbe

Jennie Wanhala

Kathy Larson (Amundson)

Julie Mickelson (Anderson)

Camille Peterson Roger Wahl*

Karen Kay Knutson (Ferris)


*Also members of the American Speech and Hearing Association according to the 1965 ASHA Directory.

David Larsen presented at the 1966 convention in Yankton, SD on "Pioneers in Statewide Speech and Hearing Conservation".  Ray Hull was the lone person doing statewide hearing testing, out of his car, the first year.  Then in succeeding years, David Larsen, Charlie Anderson and Mike Spicer headed up the Mobile Hearing Unit, which was a hearing booth inside a truck.  They were supported and encouraged partially by the March of Dimes.

There have been bachelor degree programs in Communication Disorders at Northern State College in Aberdeen, South Dakota State College in Brookings, Augustana College in Sioux Falls, and University of South Dakota in Vermillion.  Presently, USD is the only location with a bachelors degree and masters degree program in the state.  Dr. Dean Lockwood is the Chair of the Department and has been at USD since 1970.

Membership has ebbed and flowed over the years with the 2002 membership at 166. Those current members who chose to fill in affiliation on the membership forms are divided as follows:

93 school SLP's, 29 hospital SLP's, 8 school Audiologists, 6 hospital Audiologists.  Nineteen made no designation.  Seven of the members have dual certification.  Five of the members are in the CFY year and two of them have dual certification.


Presidents of the Association and Convention/Meeting Site

1973-1974 Dean Lockwood, Rapid City

1974-1975 Lois Moore, Aberdeen

1975-1976 Viola Willis, Mitchell

1976-1977 Alice Swallum, Aberdeen

1977-1978 Marilyn Condon, Spearfish

1978-1979 Fred Romkema, Pierre

1979-1980 Keith Erickson, Aberdeen

1980-1981 Kay Schallenkamp, Vermillion

1981-1982 Bob Litke, Aberdeen

1982-1983 Joan Fliehs, Rapid City

1983-1984 Judy Flanagin, Rapid City

1984-1985 Richard Hoeye 

1985-1986 Robert Anderson 

1986-1987 Carol Woltzen, Sioux Falls

1987-1988 Sue Brockeveldt, Rapid City

1988-1989 Sue Brockeveldt, Aberdeen

1989-1990 Sylvester Clifford, Sioux Falls

1990-1991 Sylvester Clifford, Sioux Falls

1991-1992 Perry Hanavan, Rapid City

1992-1993 Perry Hanavan, Sioux Falls

1993-1994 Sally Dolan, Pierre

1994-1995 Sally Dolan, Sioux Falls

1995-1996 Jane Leite, Rapid City

1996-1997 Jane Leite, Sioux Falls

1997-1998 Sharon Hoelscher, Rapid City

1998-1999 Sharon Hoelscher, Sioux Falls

1999-2000 Bob Froke, Rapid City

2000-2001 Bob Froke, Sioux Falls

2001-2002 Rhonda Nitschelm, Sioux Falls

2002-2003 Kari Diamond, Rapid City

2003-2004 Jennifer Schultz, Sioux Falls

2004-2005 Shirley Hauge, Sioux Falls

2005-2006 Anne Crosswait-Degen, Sioux Falls

2006-2007 Julie Carl, Sioux Falls

2006-2007 Linda Ingerson, Sioux Falls

2007-2008 Kris Kelley, Sioux Falls

2008-2009 Shelly Grinde, Sioux Falls

2009-2010 Becky Cermak, Sioux Falls

2010-2011 Julie Carl, Sioux Falls

2011-2012 Becky Cermak and Julie (Carl) Holiday, Sioux Falls

2012-2013 Jessica Messersmith, Sioux Falls

2013-2014 Elizabeth Hanson, Sioux Falls


Honors and Awards of SDSLHA Members "over the years"

Life Members: Ethel Bridgeford, Alice Swallum, Sylvester Clifford, Sally Dolan, Gordon Holloway, Katherine Howe, Robert Litke, Aneita Wilcox

Honorary Members: John Gregg, Jr., Harold Jordan (deceased)

Distinguished Service Award: John Gregg, Jr. 1990, Robert Farrell, 1991, Sylvia Henkin, 1992, Easter Seals, 1993, Alan Kelts, 1995-96, Scottish Rite Clinic in the Hills, Rapid City 1999, Greg DeSautel, 2000, Sioux Empire United Way 2001, Dale Gunderson, 2002, Vicki Mack – SPED Director Watertown School District, 2007, Dr. Susan Randall – SD Voices for Children, 2010, Sen. Jean Hunhoff & Rep. Fred Romkema, 2012.

Honors of the Association: Lily Tjomsland, Sylvester Clifford, 1984, Ethel Bridgeford, 1987, Robert Anderson, 1991, Aneita Wilcox, 1992, Karen Ferris, 1992, Eleanor Allard 1993, Ruth Samuelsen, 1996, Joyce M. Lampson, 1998, Ron Balthazor, 2000, Mary Friehe, 2001, Terri Bellis 2002, None awarded 2010,  Marni Johnson, 2011, Becky Cermak, Jennifer Schultz, Brenda Nedved and Mandy Williams, 2012.

ASHA Fellows: Sylvester Clifford, 1983, Dean Lockwood, 1985, Ethel Bridgeford, 1987 Ruth Samuelsen, 2001.

ASHA Councelor: Robert Litke, Dean Lockwood, Ruth Samuelsen

Outstanding Clinician DiCarlo Nominees: Ethel Bridgeford, 1983, Sylvester Clifford, 1985, Robert E. Litke, 1987 Sheela Stuart, 1988, David Downs, 2002.

Kleffner Award Nominee: Ruth Samuelsen, 1990, Jerome Alpiner, 1993.

Outstanding South Dakota Clinician: Kay Rubendall, 1991, Bonnie Carr, 1993, Kristi Olson, 1995, Nicole Hall, 1999, Colleen Gullickson, 2000.

Outstanding Service: Sue Brockevelt, 1993, Jerome Alpiner, 1993, Margaret King, 1995.

New Program Award: Kristeen Highland, 1991

SDSLHA Supporter: John Sears, 1991

There is so much more that could be written about the past 48 years in speech pathology and audiology in SD!  Please send any corrections or additions to sdslha@yahoo.com and your e-mail will be forwarded to the correct person/s.