Sarah Ann Ackerman 71, of Ellendale, ND died January 15, 2023 at Sanford Health, Aberdeen, SD. Sarah was born June 21, 1951 in Ellendale, ND to Leon and Beverly Ackemann. Sarah graduated from Ellendale High School in 1970. She was active in track, yearbook, drama and band. She played the saxophone and “inspired” some of her cousins to also play the saxophone. Her first year of college was at Ellendale State Normal and Industrial College. She furthered her education at Dickinson College graduating in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science – Secondary Education. She also obtained her Masters degree in Industrial Arts from Northern State University in Aberdeen. Sarah worked various jobs teaching carpentry and bartending. In 1984 she landed her dream job, a Curator at the SD State Historical Society in Pierre. Sarah began work as the exhibit designer. Her talent became immediately apparent with her first project, the reinstallation of the silver service from the Armored Cruiser South Dakota, which she enlivened with rich color and the silk-screened image of the cruiser. Her most significant early contribution was the design and installation of Dacotah, an exhibit on the history of South Dakota from the placing of the Verendrye Plate in 1743 to the achievement of Statehood in 1889. The success of this exhibit, with limited budget and space, was a foretaste of what Sarah could accomplish when the state historical society moved to the new Cultural Heritage Center in 1989. With a larger exhibition gallery and budget, Sarah designed artful innovative exhibits which have received praise from the public and fellow museum professionals. As a bonus, Sarah added to her design, insight, talent, and an infectious sense of fun. Sarah had many interests in her lifetime. Reading, camping, canoeing, her cats, softball and one favorite pastime was playing pinochle. She helped teach and entice generations how to play. Sarah has been welcomed to heaven by her mother and father, brother David along with grandparents, uncles and aunts. She is survived by her sister Clara, brother Doug, sister-in-law Laura, Aunt Kay Dorsch, many nieces, nephews and cousins. Her smile, laughter and ability to enjoy life, no matter what, will be greatly missed by all of us. The class motto, “Find a Path or Make One”, which was truly what Sarah did. She made one.
There will be a family service in the summer 2023. Arrangements by Hoven Funeral Chapel, Ellendale.