Olive Anne (Polly) Weedman

NAPLES, Fla. -Polly (Olive Anne) Westaby Weedman, 90, formerly of Rapid City, passed away October 19, 2004, in Naples, FL. Polly was born April 23, 1914 in Madison, South Dakota. Polly graduated from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, with a triple major in theater, speech therapy, and psychology.

After a brief career working for Harry Reasoner, Sr., as a talent agent for Northwest Assemblies in Minneapolis, Minn., she married her college sweetheart, George David Weedman, on Jan 27, 1914. They moved to Rapid City in 1944. In Rapid City she accepted private students for speech therapy and for declamatory contests. The local American Association of University Women asked her to volunteer as head of the AAUW drama group. This gave her the opportunity to use her theater skills from college, and soon it developed into a successful community theater. A few years later she was recruited by the owner of Radio Station KOTA to write, produce and broadcast a women's radio show. She expanded the show and her career to broadcasting five days a week for the next 25 years. Her radio show broadcast grew into a more than full-time enterprise, especially when television finally came to Rapid City. She began writing, producing, and appearing in everything from local talent shows to children's programs. She did the research, the scenario and scripting for "Four Seasons West," a story of South Dakota's cattle industry. The production was given the National Western Heritage Award for the best western documentary. At one time she had as many as four shows simultaneously - The Polly Weedman Show; Aunt Polly's Children's Hour; Talent Review, and a once-a-week half-hour radio show, Christmas Shopping Bag, which was later developed into a road show in the West River area. During those years she also developed the Iseman Talent Show where she was writer, producer and director. The winner was awarded an all-expense paid trip to Europe and to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. Tom Brokaw was one of her television cameramen during his college years. In 1950 Polly was named "Woman of the Year," by the Rapid City Business and Professional Women's Club. Later she was awarded the McCall's Magazine 10th Annual Gold Mike Award for Service to the Family: Her radio interview series titled "Marriage is What You Make It," focused attention on the community's need for a marriage counseling service, according the to the McCall's judges. The show aired marital problems and followed up with workshops attended by teenagers, couples going steady, young marrieds as well as parents with teenage children. She was runner-up the next year in another division. However, she felt one of her greatest achievements was her involvement with retarded children which led to formation of the Rapid City Association for Retarded Children.

Other awards and honors followed during her years as a radio and television personality, but that all ended when she contracted Parkinson's disease in 1968 which attacked her throat, and she lost her voice. After her health was somewhat restored by medication, she and her husband, George, enjoyed retirement years together with cruises, winters in South Carolina or California, ballroom dancing, and competitive duplicate bridge. Then at age 75 she lost her eyesight due to macular degeneration. Within days, in spite of laser surgery, she was completely blind in one eye and had defective sight in the other. A rehabilitation teacher from South Dakota Human Services, Division of Services to the Blind and Visually Impaired, came to their home to teach her how to take care of herself and their home. The South Dakota affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind taught her white cane travel. She also learned Braille, which she found easy and fascinating. Unable to see, her typewriter was of little value so she learned to use a computer with voice output (computer and lessons provided by the state rehabilitation agency).

In 1995, due to their failing health, she and her husband George moved to Naples, Fla. She is survived by her sister Dorothy McCray, Silver City, N.M; her son Richard Weedman, Naples FL., her daughter George Anne Weedman Planck, Port Hueneme, Calif., grandsons, Sanford Randolph Planck, Los Angeles, and John Robert Planck of San Luis Obispo, Calif. She was preceded in death by her husband in 1996, her son Robert 1949, her brother, Robert Spencer Westaby Jr., MD and her sister Geraldine Westaby Kickbush. Services were held on October 25 in Naples Florida. Inurnment will be at a later date in Rapid City.