Eloise Pepin

“Eloise is an Amazing Girl”
Words and music by David Lee Brown
with Mrs. Trandem’s 4th Grade Class
©2013 David Lee Brown




      Eloise Pepin

Eloise Pepin has lived here her whole life.
She’s done a lot of good things, been a mother and a wife.
She’s optimistic, happy, and fine with how she lives.
No complaints I’ve ever heard her give.

Eloise is an amazing girl.
She has not been around the world.
She’s still got some dreams to find.
She has plenty on her mind.

She said, horses were my life.
And Silver was the best.
He was a good ol’ horse, he never was a pest.
All of us could ride him, together at one time.
He never bucked, he was kind.


Family is important and will always be
Settled among the pine trees, at home in Custer S.D.
As a kid she worked at the neighbors for a dollar a day.
She was a sheriff, worked for the forest service – hey hey.



Eloise Pepin has lived here all her days.
She’s cool! You should meet her, today.

Eloise Pepin was born on September 13, 1928. She grew up four miles outside of Custer and has lived here her whole life. She was the fifth born out of 11 brothers and sisters. Her favorite hobbies growing up were ice skating and picnicking with her family. She spent a lot of time playing with the neighbor children, usually baseball or riding horses. The first car she remembers her family having was a 1935 Ford. Can you believe that gas cost $.19 a gallon? As a special treat, sometimes her dad would stop by the grocery store on the way home from work and bring the kids ice cream that cost $.05 a piece. Eloise earned money growing up by working for her neighbors. She earned a dollar a day, which she thought was a pretty good wage.

Ever wonder what life would be like without electricity? Eloise knows. Her family cooked on a wood stove because they didn’t have electricity in her home. Kerosene lanterns were used for lighting. She helped out her family by hauling water every morning from the well. There weren’t any school busses so she walked to school and back each day. School for Eloise was quite different than we’re used to. All the grades were in the same room with one teacher for 25 students. One of her fondest memories of school was eating her lunch, in what was called a lunch pail, with classmates by the creek. Ms. Thomas was her favorite teacher because she went on sleigh rides with the students.

Eloise says that horses were her life. Her very favorite was Silver because he was kind. Her siblings along with the neighborhood kids could all ride and climb all over him. He would just stand there and he never bucked anyone off. Silver was one of the first horses in the Custer Gold Discovery Days pageant. He was painted gold.

Ernie Pepin asked Eloise to marry him. When she did they moved into town and she became a city girl. They had four children – Linda, Steve, Val, and Denise. Eloise has eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. One of her great-grandchildren attends Custer Elementary School. Life’s most memorable moments have been watching her children and grandchildren get married. Her most rewarding job was working for the Forest Service, which she did for 23 years. She was also a sheriff in Custer for two years.

Traveling was something Eloise enjoyed. She has been to all the continental United States other than Florida and Maine. She’s still making plans to live out some of her dreams. She would like to go to Alaska to see the icebergs and whales. “There is something pretty in every state,” Mrs. Pepin told us about her travels. Eloise is proud of South Dakota because of Mt. Rushmore.

Getting to know Eloise reminded us of looking into a grandma’s heart and mind. When we asked her what one lesson in life is that she would pass on to us, it is to get a good education and work hard. We will do our best!

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