Reifel: Family Life

Family Life

Ben met his wife, Alice Janet Johnson, while at South Dakota State College. She was from Erwin, SD and earned a degree in home economics. They were married on December 26, 1933.

Ben and Alice had only one child, Loyce, who was born in 1935.

Alice Johnson Reifel

Alice was a constant and indispensable supporter of her husband through five campaigns. She was involved in the Congressional Wives Club. As a member of this club, Alice served as chairman of the Red Cross group that met regularly to make bandages and layettes. She also accompanied her husband to White House receptions and State dinners. On February 14, 1972, Alice met an untimely death when she died of pneumonia.

Children and Grandchildren

Loyce married Emery Anderson. They had three daughters, Lisa, Laurie, and Valerie.

Frances Colby

Following the death of his wife, Ben reconnected with a former classmate Frances Ryland Colby of De Smet, S.D. They married on August 14, 1972. They lived in Washington, D.C. until 1973, when they returned to South Dakota to make their home in Aberdeen.

Frances Reifel died February 27, 1995. She is buried next her first husband, Irving Colby.

Ben Reifel (1906-1990)

Ben Reifel died of cancer on January 2, 1990, at the age of 83. He was laid to rest in Erwin, South Dakota next to his wife, Alice. 

He left behind a legacy of breaking down the racial barriers in South Dakota.