Meet the Board of Directors

Board of Directors for Battleship South Dakota Memorial Foundation

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DIANE DIEKMAN – PRESIDENT

Diane Diekman, who grew up on a South Dakota farm, is a retired U.S. Navy captain and a published author. During her 32 years on active duty, she traveled around the world as an aircraft maintenance officer. Twice named All-American Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 628, she currently serves on the funeral honor guards for the American Legion and VFW in Sioux Falls. She is the biographer of Faron Young, Marty Robbins, and Randy Travis.

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HARLAN BEDFORD – 1st VICE PRESIDENT

Harlan Bedford is the longest-serving member of the board of directors. The Mitchell Senior High School graduate joined the US Navy Submarine Service in 1961 and served on four submarines. When stationed at Naval Reserve Center in Sioux Falls to teach Engineering, he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the National College of Business. He helped place many items in the Battleship South Dakota Memorial, helped build the # 1 gun mount, and participated in the dedication ceremony. He retired as a senior chief petty officer with 32 years combined active and reserve service. In his civilian career, he worked for Northwestern Bell Telephone, US West, and Quest for 33 years. He is past president of the Tri-State Navy Chiefs Association and a member of the American Legion. He was designated 2004 Veteran of the Year by the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce.

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HARRY ENGBERG - 2nd Vice President

Harry Engberg manages the Battleship Memorial museum and store. He recently retired from private practice as an attorney in Sioux Falls. During his 14 years as an officer in the U.S. Army, he graduated from Command and General Staff College, commanded a transportation company, and served as advisor to the South Vietnamese Army. He earned his Juris Doctor degree at the University of South Dakota. He is Past Executive Director of the South Dakota Lions Foundation and a trustee of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 628.

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KAREN DUNHAM - 3rd Vice President

Karen Dunham is a real estate broker and owner of The Dunham Company Residential Real Estate in Sioux Falls. Originally from Minneota, Minnesota, she spent 17 years in the Naval Reserve and was present at the dedication of Battleship South Dakota Memorial. She has participated in the USS South Dakota battleship crewmember reunions since they began in 1970. She is Past President of the Sioux Falls Board of Realtors and a member of numerous other boards. Her honors and awards include the Sales & Marketing Distinguished Sales Award, Realtor of the Year, and 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award. Karen enjoys golf, bowling, and being “Grandma.”

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JAMES HOEKMAN

James Hoekman served for 25 years as a Deputy Sheriff for the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office, retiring as a Captain and Patrol Division Commander. He retired from the South Dakota National Guard as Command Sergeant Major, after serving as Command Senior Enlisted Leader, responsible for over 4,200 soldiers and airmen. He is a founding member of the State of South Dakota South East Incident Management Team and the Minnehaha County Veterans’ Treatment Court. The Platte, South Dakota, native graduated from South Dakota State University, the Sergeant Major Academy, and the Army War College. He deployed twice to Iraq and is a member of American Legion Post 15 and VFW Post 4726. James and his wife, Marcy, have been happily married for 27 years and have one son, Zach.

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ED HRUSKA

Ed Hruska, born and raised in Lewistown Montana, attended Montana State University where he played intercollegiate basketball. He served in the U.S. Air Force and South Dakota Army National Guard. On the civilian side, Ed was employed as a police officer and a South Dakota senior driver examiner. A forty-year member of the American Legion, he has served as Vice Commander and Executive Council member, and is currently on the Honor Guard. He is past commander of the Sioux Falls Area Veterans Council, a life member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Ed and Judy, his wife of 47 years, are happily married and have four happy and successful children.  

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LARRY PANNING

Larry Panning grew up on a farm in western Minnesota, graduated from the University of Minnesota, and earned a commission in the U.S. Navy. After serving on a guided missile destroyer, he left active duty and joined the Naval Reserve. He retired as a commander with 24 years of service. His civilian employment included time as a farmer, real estate broker, county agent, and sales manager in the agriculture seed industry. He enjoys fishing and hunting and is past commander of American Legion Post 15 in Sioux Falls.

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DARYL SKANCKE

Daryl Skancke is the owner of a Sioux Falls brokerage firm, Realty Center Inc. He grew up in Baltic, South Dakota, and has been in real estate sales for 30 years. He plays lead guitar and has been inducted into the South Dakota Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Over the years, his bands included Who Cares, the Night Raiders Band, and the Chute Rooster Band. He played his first gig at age 13--on trumpet in a high school band. In addition to music, he enjoys fishing and travel.

JOHN STRATMAN

John Stratman, who believes we need to carry the message of freedom and patriotism to future generations, handles educational efforts for the Battleship Memorial. As a U.S. Marine from 1968-1971, he spent most of his enlistment in Vietnam. He returned to his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, where he graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1974. Self-employed in insurance for 28 years, he also served 14 years as an Alpha Center board member and is currently president of his homeowners’ association. He and wife Nancy have two children and 6 grandchildren.

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