Arthur Theodore Jansen

Day is Done 

Day is done

Gone the sun

From the lakes

From the hills

From the sky

All is well

Safely rest

God is nigh

Arthur Theodore Jansen

Born: May 9th, 1924 - Hot Springs, SD

Died: March 24th, 2014 - Rapid City, SD

In Loving Memory of

Arthur Theodore Jansen

Celebration of Life Memorial Service

First United Methodist Church

Rapid City, South Dakota

Monday, March 31, 2014 - 10 a.m.

“Semper Fi”


Peary Wilson ~ Pastor


Diane Ketl ~ Organist

Alan Smoot ~ Vocalist Tessa Smoot ~ Vocalist

Hymn: “The Old Rugged Cross” (Please Stand)

Scout Oath (or Promise)

On my honor I will do my best

To do my duty to God and my country

And to obey the Scout Law

To help other people at all times

To keep myself physically strong,

Mentally awake, and morally straight

The Family invites you to a reception in Fellowship Hall following the services, where they look forward to greeting you.


Black Hills National Cemetery

Sturgis, South Dakota ~ 1:00 p.m.

Marine Corps League

Arthur Theodore Jansen

Rushmore VFW Post 1273

A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

SD Natonal Guard


“Be Prepared”

Doug Jansen, Don Jansen, Josh Mudge, Vern McMulen, Gary Gamache, Alan Smoot

~ Thank you for celebrating Art’s life with us ~

Art was born to Arthur David Jansen and Lillian Schleve Jansen on May 9, 1924 in Hot Springs, South Dakota. He spent his childhood in Rapid City, Oral and Hot Springs. He graduated from Hot Springs High School. 

in 1942 where he participated in track and field, was a drum major and played drums in a dance band. Working at Evans Plunge, he became an

In 1943 he joined the 3rd Marine Division, and served for three years. He was wounded when his unit participated in the campaign to free Guam from Japanese occupation.

As a student at SDSU In 1947, he met Ida Liffengren. They were married in Brookings, SD in 1948. He participated in track and field and set a pole vault record for the North Central Division. Art received his Bachelors degree and Masters degree from SDSU and Montana State University. He taught and coached in Brentford and Aberdeen, SD for several years. During that time he and Ida welcomed Doug, Jacki and

In 1956 the family moved to Bozeman, MT where Art started his career with the Boy Scouts of America. He was a Field Executive in Montana, and then a District Executive in Mitchell. In 1961-63 he was the Director of Admissions for Dakota Wesleyan University. In 1963 their youngest daughter Janene was born. Art then returned to professional Scouting in Sioux Falls. In 1966 he became the Black Hills Area Council Executive
in Rapid City. He was instrumental in establishing the Medicine Mountain Scout Ranch. Under his leadership a Boy Scout Clean Up Day was established in 1970, which is now a City/Community annual event.

For 21 years Art served as its Coordinator. Art was also instrumental in building the Boy and Girl Scout Service Center in Rapid City. In Art's later years he continued to be active in the Boy Scouts, and instructing

In 1983 Mayor Art LaCroix proclaimed December 3rd as Art Jansen Day. That year Art had to take early retirement because of a heart condition.
Art joined Cosmopolitan International in 1964. He held all the club offices, and chaired almost every committee. He was the Club President in 1972 when the Rapid City Club hosted the Cosmopolitan International, 

After retirement Art and Ida traveled extensively in the US, enjoying traveling with, and visiting, friends. In 1986 they traveled to Japan to spend a month visiting their oldest son’s’ family.

An active member of the Marine Corps League, Art held many offices and was Commandant for several terms. In 2008, Art was recognized as
a Local Hero by Geico Insurance Company and KNBN TV for his management of the Care Package program for Marines in Iraq and
Afghanistan. In 2013 at the Marine Corps Ball, he received a letter of recognition and flag that had flown over the Iwo Jima Marine Corps War Memorial in Washington DC.

Art was an active member of the Haycamp Wood Carvers. He shared his love of carving with anyone who was interested. He also loved golfing, hunting, fishing, camping and hiking. In 1970 he and Ida put their kids to work building a family cabin, which is still enjoyed today. He was also a member of the VFW, DAV, American Legion, Scout Executives Alliance, National Council BSA, and the longest standing member of Cardiac Rehab.

Art and Ida were faithful Christians and active members at the First United Methodist Church for 45 years. Art's total devotion to Ida was evident to all, when he was her constant care giver during her last five years struggling with dementia. They were married for 64 years.

Art will be greatly missed and fondly remembered for his honesty, integrity, hard work, awful jokes, wit, wonderful stories, wisdom, positive attitude, love for his family, and so much more. Thankful for having shared his life are his children, Doug Jansen and wife, Akane, Tokyo, Japan, Jacki Smoot and husband, Alan, Rapid City, Don Jansen and wife, Drew, Eugene, OR, Janene Mudge and husband, Kevin. Art was also blessed with eleven grandchildren, Azusa, Andrew, Jenny,

Aaron, Gabe, Tess, Megan, Rachel, Josh, Janae, Mikaela; their spouses, and eight great grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, in laws, and so many wonderful friends.

Art was preceded in death by his wife Ida, his parents, and four brothers, Carl, Edward and Warren Jansen, and Russ Ostrander.

Ida R. Jansen

Ida R. Jansen, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, was called to heaven on June 20, 2012 after a brief illness. Ida was born October 3,1926, at home near Murdo, SD to Helmer and Edna(Anderson) Liffengren. She graduated from Draper High School in 1944, attended teachers training and started teaching country school at the ripe old age of 17. She often spoke fondly of her years attending and teaching in one room school houses on the South Dakota prairie. 

In 1948 Ida graduated from SDSU with a degree in Art. That year she also married Art “Bud” Jansen in Brookings, SD. These two “Arts” were the loves of her life. Ida always loved learning and attended classes at Montana State College, Dakota Wesleyan University, and Sioux Falls College. Ida continued to teach school before her children were born. Her husband's career moved the family many times during their marriage, and Ida always saw the moves as great adventures. She taught sculpting, painting, and drawing throughout all of South Dakota. She was able to bring out the best in her students with her positive attitude. Ida could always see the best in everyone. Four children were born into Ida and Art’s family. Although Ida never quit being an artist, her faith and her family were her priorities. In 1982 she was honored by being awarded South Dakota Mother of the Year.

She also served as president of the SD American Mothers Association, and has encouraged many young mothers to be the best mothers they can be. Ida was also involved in the Boy Scouts of America, leading cub scouts as her own boys were growing up, and taught Cub Scout training courses for Den Mothers. She believed that Scouting could be a great influence on boys. Her back yard became a popular hang out for all the neighborhood kids when she had her Cub Scouts build a Scout club house out of old packing crates. Everyone got to paint a section and add their own artistic ideas to the creation.

In 1989, Ida was named the South Dakota Centennial Artist of the Year. She also served as SD President of American Pen Women, and was honored with the opportunity to manage the Pen Women’s headquarters mansion in Washington, DC for a month. She also served as president of the Dakota Artist Guild (DAG), taught at the Dahl Fine Arts Center, and was inducted into the SD Hall of Fame. Ida was selected to provide hand painted pine decorations called "Pine Os", for the White House Christmas Tree. She substitute taught in Mitchell, Sioux Falls and Rapid City schools. Ida was also a long time member of PEO, Local Chapter BM. Ida's faith was an integral part of her life. As a mother and grandmother she read Bible stories to her children and taught her beliefs by the way she lived. She was an active member of the First United Methodist Church where she was involved in several committees and Bible studies. She also attended Bible Study Fellowship for a number of years. Ida will be remembered by friends and family for many qualities including her warmth, constantly positive attitude, smile, her unique ability to welcome everyone as family and put them at ease, and her cute high heels. She was spontaneous and would drop everything, even a meal she had prepared, if someone called and wanted her and Art to go out to eat. Relationships were always number one. She also had a wonderful talent for making one pound of hamburger stretch to feed whoever her husband or children brought home unannounced for dinner.Everyone was always welcomed. She will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by her husband of 64 years, Art Jansen, Rapid City; her children, Doug Jansen and his wife, Akane, Tokyo, Japan, Jacki Smoot and her husband, Alan, Rapid City, Don Jansen and his wife, Drew, Eugene, OR, Janene Mudge and her husband, Kevin, Rapid City; eleven grandchildren, Azusa, Andrew, Jenny, Aaron, Gabe, Tess, Megan, Rachel, Josh, Janae, Mikaela; and seven great grandchildren; her sisters, Louise Hullinger and her husband, Cliff, Chicago, IL, Opal Cartney and her husband, Jim, Watertown, her brother, Norman Liffengren and his wife, Judy, Fairbault, MN and her sister in law, Gen Liffengren, Murdo; as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Luverne. Visitation will be from 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm Sunday, June 24, 2012, with a PEO remembrance at 6:00 pm at Edstrom & Rooks Funeral Service at Serenity Springs in Rapid City. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am, Monday, June 25 at the First United Methodist Church with Pastor Doug Diehl officiating. Interment will be at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis at 3:00 pm. A memorial has been established to the First United Methodist Church and the Black Hills Area Council, Boy Scouts of America.

The Prairie Fire - Helmer Liffengren

Illustration by Ida Liffengren Jansen, Sister of Louise Hullinger

Excerpted From “Next Year Country” 
by Louise Liffengren Hullinger

Folks around Draper, South Dakota, still refer to the summer of l930 as a Scorcher. (Folklore has it that you could fry eggs on the rooftops during August of that year!)

The searing sun turned the treeless plains into a tinderbox; the grasses, curled and brown, lay wilting alongside the road; the drouth-stunted weeds crunched underfoot. An idle flick from a cigarette, a careless spark from a running motor, even the hot sun beating down on a chip of broken glass could ignite the vast prairie turning it into a blazing holocaust.

Morning dawned bright and clear. There was an air of tranquility on the day the prairie fire struck. It was barely past noon when the farmer noted the first faint smell of smoke and, could see, in the distance, along the horizon, the shadowy tracings of a fire.

In the moments it took to reach his tractor he exulted in how much easier it was to plow safety furrows with his new tractor than it had been in the past with a team of horses. With a tractor he could maneuver the dried coulees, could easily cross the rough, untamed prairie.

Round and round the scattered farm buildings the farmer plowed, leaving protective furrows of freshly turned earth. Satisfied that his buildings were safe from fire he thought next to protect his winter's supply of cattle food. The furrows were purple-black and deep, so wide an errant fire could not cross.

As he finished fireproofing his own place, he noticed the wind had switched slightly. Shouting to his wife that he was going to plow around the neighbor's buildings, too, he hurried off, in high gear, cutting through the pasture, heading towards the little cottage where an old couple lived.

They were a little old couple, in their late 70's, stone deaf. They wouldn't have heard about the fire, but by this time they would have smelled it, and seen it, and would have had no way to get out of its path.

The wind, which had increased sharply, began whipping the fire along. Scientists can explain how hot air rises and causes movement which is wind; in the course of a prairie fire, fire begets wind, and when the fire gets a good strong toehold, there's very little that can hold it back.

The farmer could see it coming closer, could see the red tongues of fire consuming the brittle, toast-colored grass.

It was about that time that a neighbor lady from the west came to help. She and her young children, ages four through eight, brought two large cream cans full of water. They were prepared to help beat back the fire.

At almost the same time two rigs of men arrived with barrels of water, and heaps of gunnysacks. Leaping out of the trucks they grabbed the sacks, soaked them in water, and frantically began beating at the fire as it raged in front of them.

The neighbor lady, who hadn't waited to search for gunny sacks, grabbed what she could that wouldn't burn readily. She snatched the heavy denim jeans her eight year old was wearing, doused them in water, and began lashing furiously at the fire which by now was frighteningly near.

Moments later several more rigs of men arrived, all with barrels of water. One of the men, an old timer, looked at the highway, a natural barrier to the fire, and reckoned, gravely, that they would have to start a backfire if they were to break this one's force. He'd experienced many fires, and this one was one of the fiercest.

The wind was flogging the fire into a frenzy. The crackling heat provided a backdrop of sound effects for the treacherous wind. Without a backfire, there could be no stopping this fire.

A backfire was built to consume the combustible materials in the path of a fire, so that it would have no place to go, and would be forced to die. There is a trick to it, a technique, and the old man knew it. He and several others huddled together to protect the flame from the onslaught of the wind, nursing their flame along until it was ready.

With the highway as a safety zone behind them, the men worked, coaxing, channeling, directing their fire towards the big one, until there was nothing left between the two fires to devour.

Taming the rampant fire required all the strength the men had, and even after the wind had died down, and dusk had come, they did not dare to leave.

Wiping sweaty arms across their foreheads, sipping what water was left, they sprawled on the charred earth, wishing it might rain. They were exhausted, but so was the fire.

It wasn't until then that they heard the news about the farmer who had gone to plow the furrows around the neighbor's home. When the capricious fire had turned, it had trapped the farmer. He had jumped from his tractor, and ran back through the fire, protected by leather leggings, remnants of his World War I uniform, and his arms, which he used to shield his face.

When he was found he was dazed and incoherent. The neighbors who found him took him immediately to the nearest doctor, thirty miles away. The tractor, in the perverse way of things, was turning circles, as though performing a slow ballet movement. Treatment for burns in those days was vaseline to be slathered on, and gauze bandages. The neighbors transported him, covered him with an apron, and gave him sips of water from a thermos made from a mason jar wrapped in burlap. When they brought him home he was beginning to be lucid.

All that fall neighbors came to help him with the chores, and to haul him to the doctor. The gauze stuck to his burned flesh and tore at the wounds when it was peeled; the odor of rotting flesh left a stench that had to be borne; the days were filled with unceasing pain.

Without the neighbors the work could not have been done. One of them came nightly to do the chores, and to tell tall tales and jokes to make him laugh. He couldn't smile because that caused the blisters on his face to crack and ache, but his big shoulders shook with laughter, and his eyes gleamed.

Winter came, and with the spring, the earth had healed and so had the farmer. The winter snows had blanketed the earth and the melting rains had carried away all traces of the fire that had ravaged it. When the grasses poked through they formed a soft carpet of green. The plowed furrows looked oddly out of place, a vestige, a reminder of things past.

When the gauze and bandages were removed, the fingers were no longer thick from swelling; no longer was there a fear of infection.

When the first green shoots of grain peeked through the ground, the farmer headed into the fields again. His arms were scarred and brown, in stark contrast to the pink-white of his arms above the elbow, where he had always rolled his blue denim shirt sleeves, but his steps were youthful, and plans for the new season began to take form.

It must have been a year later when a magazine salesman found his way to the farmer's home. "Wasn't it somewhere around here," the salesman asked, "where a man got burned trying to plow around an old couple's place?" But the salesman was anxious to sell magazines and didn't wait for a reply. "They say the old couple never realized he was plowing to try to save their place, and I've heard he never told them."

The farmer traded two old batteries for a subscription to a magazine, and shook the salesman's hand when he left.

"Good luck," the farmer said, and added, "Don't bother to stop at the little farm to the east; the old couple who lived there passed on last winter."

The farmer in the story was my father, Helmer Liffengren, of Draper, South Dakota. We had only recently moved to that farm when the prairie fire broke out, and we did not know any of our neighbors well. But, in Dakota, neighbors were a precious commodity, something that one cherished and greatly appreciated.

I have written this story not only to pay homage to my father, but to cite the Rankins, the Dowlings, and the others who helped in our time of great need. I would like to go even farther than that: I should like this story to honor good neighbors wherever they may be. @

This true story was first published in the May/June, 1993 issue of South Dakota magazine under "Remembering."

Louise Liffengren Hullinger

US Marine Corps Highway

Marine Corps League - South Dakota

Dedication of the US Marine Corps Highway

Art Jansen at the right

Magazine Cover Illustrated by Ida Liffengren Jansen

Magazine Cover Illustrated by Ida Liffengren Jansen

Outstanding Veterans Marine of the Year Award

Black Hills Detachment Marine Corps League
PO Box 913
Rapid City, SD, 57709-0913
Phone:  605-718-7995

Art Jansen
Marine of the Year Award 

South Dakota Veterans Council announced the presentation of the 2008-2009 Chester Sorenson Outstanding Veterans Marine of the Year Award to Art Jansen of Rapid City.  

Back Ground for the Award:


Art has served as Commandant, Senior Vice Commandant, Junior Vice Commandant, Judge Advocate, Chaplain, and Sergeant at Arms in the Black Hills Detachment. He is currently serving as Jr. Vice Commandant for the South Dakota Department, Marine Corps League. He has served the detachment on all fund raising activities and participated in detachment parades and other functions. He initiated the detachment Care Package program in which the league send food and other items to active Marines serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. To date we have sent 170 packages. He has been actively soliciting money, food and other items needed to successfully complete this activity.  

Art organized and served as coordinator of the support team for the Black Hills National Cemetery Avenue of Flags from 2004-2007.  This involved recruiting groups such as, Veterans and Fraternal organizations, service clubs, churches and in some cases individuals; who he trained and assigned the responsibility for inspecting and replacing the flags on a weekly basis.  The avenue of Flags consists of 62 American flags, 5 service flags and one POW and MIA flag.

Art was selected as the 2007 Marine Corps League Detachment Marine of the Year. In 2008 he was selected as the South Dakota Department Marine of the Year. 


Art is originally from Hot Springs, South Dakota and joined the Marine Corps during WW II. He served with the 3rd Marine Division in the Pacific Theater. 

He married Ida Liffengren after the war.  They celebrated their 61st anniversary in March of 2009.  Art and Ida raised four children and now have eleven grandchildren.


Service Club:  Art was an active member of the Cosmopolitan International which he joined in 1964.  During the years he has held all the club offices, and chaired almost every committee.  He was the Rapid City, S.D. Club President in 1972; the year of the historic Rapid City Flood. The Rapid City Club also hosted the Cosmopolitan International Convention that summer. 

In 1956 he was the District Director of the Boy Scouts of America in Bozeman, Montana.  In 1963 he became the Assistant Council Executive of the Sioux Council Boy Scouts in Sioux Falls S.D. and in 1966 he became the Black Hills Council Executive Director in Rapid City, S.D. He was instrumental in establishing the Medicine Mountain Boy Scout Camp west of Hill City. S.D.  

Art was also instrumental in securing the funds and building the Boy and Girl Scout Service Center in Rapid City. Under his leadership a Boy Scout Clean Up Day was established in 1970, which later became a City/Community wide program and is still an annual event in Rapid City. For 21 years Art served as Coordinator of this event.

In 1983 then Mayor Art LaCroix proclaimed December 3rd as Art Jansen Day in Rapid City.  In January 2008, Art was selected and recognized as a Local Hero by Geico Insurance Company and KNBN Television Station in Rapid City for his volunteer work and especially his management of the Care Package program for Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans Organizations:

Art is a Life member of the Marine Corp League, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and a member of the American Legion. 

Youth Organization: 

Art has been involved in the Sturgis Marine Corps ROTC program since he joined the Detachment. Art has also been successful in raising funds for the Young Marines during their active years in the Black Hills. Art is still active in the Boy Scout Merit Badge program instructing the youth in wood carving activities.

Art retired as a professional from the Boys Scouts 26 years ago but continues as a volunteer member of the National Council, Boy Scouts of America.


Art is an active member of the First United Methodist Church and is past chairman of the Methodist Memorial Committee. He has helped to establish a charitable endowment program for the church.  Both Art and Ida are involved in the Church Hospitality group.        


Art was a founding member of the Hay Camp Wood Carvers and served as president.  He has promoted the organization by giving demonstrations and classes and participating in shows throughout South Dakota.

During World War II Art enlisted in the Marine Corps. He served in the South Pacific with a 60mm mortar squad in the 3rd Marine Division at Guam and Iwo Jima.