Will Archer Obituary, Death – Will Archer’s death has greatly saddened us. He was arguably one of the most devoted volunteers the Sioux Falls YMCA has ever had. Over the years, his service and passion for youth basketball and the Tri-state Tournament influenced thousands of area youngsters.
Everyone will miss him terribly. Wilbur L. Archer (Will), 98, died Friday, June 23, 2023, at Dougherty Hospice House. He was a proud and blessed brother, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, loyal friend, and a guy who lived to serve others. Frank and Hilda Archer gave birth to him on December 19, 1924. He attended Brandon High School before joining the Navy in 1943 and serving in the Pacific until his honorable discharge in 1946.
He was really happy to be a Veteran. He retired from John Morrell & Company after 42 years of service in 1987. On April 23, 1949, he married Beverly West, and they became the proud parents of the five “J”s, John, Joan Janelle, Jerry, and Jocelyn. Will and Beverly helped their children in whatever way they could. Will coached their children’s baseball and basketball teams, and they never missed any of their children’s events.
Will began working part-time as a YMCA youth supervisor and developed an interest in the YMCA’s Gra-Y program. For more than 50 years, he was in charge of organizing 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade teams for 15-20 grade schools each year. He had an impact on thousands of youngsters and adults who took part in the program. He was well-known in the town for his Gra-Y work, and he even had a license plate to prove it. He was also dedicated to the YMCA Tri-State Basketball Tournament, for which he identified and secured hundreds of volunteers each year for over 60 years.
He served as honorary chairperson for the 90th Boys Tri-State Tournament and received the YMCA Distinguished Lifetime Achievement award. In 2002, he was also named B’nai B’rith Sports Person of the Year. His commitment to his church, First United Methodist, was another interest. He taught Sunday School, participated on numerous boards and committees, and assisted wherever he could. For 30 years, he led the Men’s group that served breakfast on Sunday mornings.
His family was his greatest passion, which included not only his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, but also his sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews. He was well-known for his magnificent Halloween decorations, as well as for making Christmas and summers at Swan Lake memorable.