Viva (Vi) Irene Szurek

8/1/1928 – 10/18/2011

Viva (Vi) Irene Szurek, 83, of Brandon, SD, died Tuesday, October 18, 2011, at her home with her family surrounding her, following a courageous battle with cancer.

Funeral services will begin at 11 AM, Monday, October 24th, at Heartland Funeral Home, Brandon, with Pastor David Nissen officiating. Visitation will start at 3pm Sunday, October 23, at Heartland Funeral Home with family present from 5 until 7 pm. A Prayer service will be held at 6:30pm Sunday.

Viva (Vi) Irene Lathrop was born on August 1, 1928, to Vernon and Irene (Hopkins) Lathrop at the old P.G. Thompson Farm on the Sioux River outside Dell Rapids. Her family then moved to Glendale, CA where she was educated through the 8th grade. The family moved several times but when Vi returned to Sioux Falls, she waitressed and worked for Shipley’s laundry. Vi met and married Frank Szurek in Sioux Falls. The couple owned and operated the Falls Park Tavern for a while before they moved to Colorado and then settled in Las Vegas. Vi worked as a waitress, on the strip, at the Riviera Hotel, and then in the gaming industry before spending 16 years with the State of Nevada. Vi eventually moved back to South Dakota 7 years ago to be with her family.

It has been said that Vi didn’t know a stranger. She was very outgoing and loved to make new friends. She made friends with everyone and anyone, everywhere. She loved to play cards and other table games, crochet, fishing and camping or any combination of these. She was very near and dear to her family and will be deeply missed by all of them.

Vi is survived by her children; Susie Szurek, Brandon, Eddie (Carol) Robinson, Las Vegas, NV, and Tary (Brad) Lowe, Sioux Falls; nine grandchildren; Jennifer and Travis Robinson, Chrissy Dye, Amber Leaver, Brittney and Joseph Szurek, Ashlie Lowe, Keonni and Johnny Jr. Funches, eight great-grandchildren; Sabrina, Destiny, Jaycob, Dylan, Julian, Maddilynn,  Jalen, and Jordyn, one brother; Vernon (Shirley) Lathrop, Volga, SD and one sister; Audry Brude of Sioux Falls.

Vi was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and one sister, Alverna Auch. A memorial has been established.

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  • chrissy dye says:

    My beautiful Gram, I Will always carry you in my heart. I know your watching over us now. I love you and see you soon. <3 xoxox

  • Tom Lynch says:


    I had only met your mom briefly at your wedding more than 30 years ago now although it seems like only yesterday. I remember her as real character with a lot of personality and liked her very much for the few days I knew her. We had a lot of fun back then and your mom was just great putting up with all of us staying at her house in Vegas and the ensuing chaos we created while there. I know she will be sorely missed by you and your family. My thoughts are with you!

  • Donnas Fogelson- Doud says:

    Aunty Vi we will always Love You Now You can play cards with Aunty Al again Dave will miss you coming in for your glasses

  • Donna Bratland says:

    Terry/Brad: I will miss your Mom terribly. I still can’t believe she is gone. I know she’ll be watching over all of us though from heaven. I have so many memories of her and I consider her one of my ‘angels’ that God gave me in my lifetime. I loved her very much! My thoughts are with you.

  • Dear Terry and Brad and family. I remember your mom coming to see her sister Audrey and the laughter and the visiting while they played cards was fun to listen to. I got to know her quite well and always enjoyed her so much. I was so happy to see Vi when she came to church . Her and Glen had many talks as they were both going thru their treatments. He looked forward to seeing her every week and for the special hug she would give both of us. Vi and Glen both knew they would meet again in a different place someday and that place was with God in Heaven. Now that Vi has received her wings and is home I’m sure she and Glen are enjoying her glorious homecoming party. Someday we will also be having our glorious homecoming party and joining Glen and Vi. When you feel that little tap on your shoulder or smell her perfume you will know it’s her telling you she is ok and happy to be home. Prayers and thoughts for you all.

  • Donna Robinson says:

    Greetings Susie, Eddie and Tari, So sorry to hear of Vi’s passing. She was a beautiful lady and so full of life. Now with her passing, the “in-laws and the out-laws” of the Szczurek family dwindle ever smaller. We’re all so lucky to have her and all the members of this family in our heritage. Take care, with love, from Babe and LaVonne’s kids-Donna, Greg and Kathy Szczurek

  • Keonni funches says:

    i will love N miss u gram so much. i know your always with me. <3

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