Carlene J. Watchorn


            Carlene J. Watchorn, age 93 of Yankton, SD passed away peacefully Friday, November 12, 2021, at Sister James Care Center, Yankton, SD. Funeral services will be 2:00 PM, Wednesday, November 17, 2021, at the Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Chapel, Yankton, SD with Rev. Katie Rickie officiating. Burial will be in the Garden of Memories, Yankton, SD. Visitation will be 5 to 7 PM, Tuesday, November 16, 2021, at the Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home & Crematory, Yankton, SD with a Scripture service at 7:00 PM. Visitations will resume one hour prior to the service. Live streaming of Carlene’s service can be found at: Online condolences may be sent at:

            Carlene was born on August 21, 1928 in Wakefield, Nebraska to Carl and Josie (Hansing) Miller.  When she was five years old her family moved to Norfolk, Nebraska where she graduated from Norfolk High School.  She attended Norfolk Junior College for two years.  Her first teaching position was teaching first grade in Fremont, Nebraska.  While living and teaching in Fremont she continued her education at Midlands College.  After teaching in Fremont for two years she moved back to Norfolk. While waiting for her fiancée, Arlo Watchorn, to return home from the Korean War she continued teaching at Randolph, Nebraska. They were married on May 25, 1952.

            During their marriage they lived in several cities.  In Fort Morgan, Colorado they owned and operated a Zesto.  They then moved to Concordia, Kansas where they owned and operated an A&W.  Prior to moving to Yankton in 1969, they lived in Omaha, Nebraska and Kearney, Nebraska.  Carlene worked for 18 years as a tutor for the Yankton School District primarily at Webster and Beadle elementary schools.

            Music was an important part of Carlene’s life.  She had a beautiful soprano voice and sang solos, in quartets and in choirs throughout her life.  She also played the piano and organ.

            Carlene was a lifelong member of the Methodist Church.  In addition to singing in choir, she was active in United Methodist Women, ushering and greeting, and assisting with many different projects. She was also a member of P.E.O., having served in several offices including president.

            Carlene loved to travel.  She and Arlo traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada, as well as Europe and the United Kingdom.

            Family was very important to Carlene.  She enjoyed all family gatherings and especially time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  She was an avid baker and always had bars and cookies available for all who visited.

            Carlene is survived by her husband, Arlo Watchorn; daughter Lori (Frank) Thomas, Aledo, Texas; daughter Jenae (Terry) Norton, Yankton; son Alan (Linda) Watchorn, Highlands Ranch, Colorado; three grandchildren:  Allison Thomas, Nathan (Janelle) Norton, Joshua Norton; two great grandchildren Natalie and Nathan Norton.

            She was preceded in death by her parents, her infant brother (Virgil), her infant son, (Kenneth), and brother-in-law Ed Gnirk.

            Visitation is from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at the Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home followed by a Scripture Service at 7:00 pm.  Funeral service will be on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 2:00 pm at the Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home followed by burial at Garden of Memories.

            Memorials may be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association 4304 S. Technology Dr., Sioux Falls, SD 57106.