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Rhea (Dennert) Davis Collection

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: H2019-078

Content Description

The collection consists of various items pertaining to the life of Rhea (Dennert) Davis of Columbia (S.D.). The items include a scrapbook, photo albums and other photographs and materials concerning Rhea’s time at Columbia High School (Columbia, S.D.) and at the University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.). Rhea Louise Dennert was born August 5, 1941 to Harold and Louise (Buntrock) Dennert near Columbia (S.D.). During her seventh-grade school year, Rhea contracted rheumatic fever and had a relapse in the eighth grade. Much of her freshman year work was spent at home but she graduated from Columbia High School with her class on May 14, 1959. She spent two years at Northern State College and finished her college studies at the University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.), where she was the University Sweetheart Queen in 1964 and also a member of the Alpha Phi and Beta Sigma Phi sororities, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in May 1964. She married her high school sweetheart Robert “Bobby” Davis on August 29, 1964 in Aberdeen (S.D.). Rhea and Robert, then a 2nd Lieutenant in the Airforce, moved to McGuire Airforce Base, New Jersey. Rhea died September 13, 1965 at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. of a heart fibrillation caused by the earlier rheumatic fever. Her funeral service was held at St. John’s Lutheran Church (Columbia, S.D.). She was laid to rest at Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery (Aberdeen, S.D.). The highlight of the collection includes a 12x15 inch scrapbook given to Rhea by her parents Harold and Louise Dennert as an eighth-grade graduation gift. The scrapbook mainly includes newspaper clippings of various events relating to Columbia High School. The main topic of interest was the Columbia High School basketball team, the Comets, including basketball programs, schedules and scorecards. Other topics in the scrapbook include news on school students, plays, honor roll lists, football, report cards, a Senior class trip and graduation activities. Also included are clippings on a fire which destroyed the Columbia High School on April 29, 1959. The scrapbook items date from 1955 to 1959. Other items in the collection include photos of Rhea as a child as well as confirmation and high school portrait images. The donation includes a photo album of high school images from 1955 to 1959. Shown are photographs of High School Proms including images taken at home before prom and those at the dance, plays, the 1958 Snow Queen contest, 1959 High School graduation and other images with Rhea showing various high school and home scenes. Also featured are items concerning Rhea’s time at the University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.) including news clippings and photographs, Alpha Phi Sorority pinning ceremony 1963, Queen of Hearts Sweetheart Ball 1964, Rhea USD diploma and commencement program June 8, 1964, a graduation photograph album, and an oversized photo (11x14 inch) of the Alpha Phi sorority house, an interior view and a photo of the sorority members. Also included are wedding photos and a photo album of Robert and Rhea (Dennert) Davis wedding on August 29, 1964 featuring an image of the interior of Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Aberdeen, S.D.). Also included are an obituary and funeral leaflet for Rhea and the 1966 Columbia High School yearbook, The Comet which was dedicated to Rhea’s memory.

Acquisition Type


Restrictions Apply



  • ca. 1950s-1960s
  • 1955-1959
  • 1964


0.5 Cubic Feet