Winifred Bland

Winifred “Sammie” Marie (Cochran) Bland was given the name to honor her mom. But to all that knew her, her name was Sammie, which was her nickname given to her by her father.
Sammie was born Feb. 3, 1964, in Monmouth, Ill., to Paul and Winifred Cochran (Aho). She joined siblings Paula, Jesse and Michael; she would later be joined by younger brother, Jamie.  Sammie’s family moved her last year of school, but she remained to finish, living with her best friend Carmel McGrath, whose family became like another family to her.
She graduated from Knoxville, Ill., class of 1982, where she was a good student. Even in high school, everyone who met Sammie couldn’t help falling in love with her. She was always a social person who enjoyed a good fire in the woods with friends and laughter. She had a beautiful, infectious smile, with the type of personality that made anything more fun just because you were with her.
In 1983 she came to Custer, S.D., with her mom, Winnie, and brother, Jamie.  She felt at home in this beautiful little town where she lived for the rest of her life.
Soon, she met David Bland, whom she instantly fell in love with. After verifying with her friend that he was a great guy, Dave brought her home in a snowstorm. They were surprised to find they were almost neighbors. The next day, he came back to plow her family’s driveway.  When he left his hat, she made sure not to chase after him to return it so “he would have to come back.”
On Aug. 25, 1984, Dave and Sammie married at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Custer. A year later, Sammie’s lifelong dream of becoming a mom because “I knew I would be the best at it” came true when they welcomed their daughter, Bethany. She was soon joined by April, Christina, George and Desiree.
Sammie dedicated her life to being a stay-at-home mom to her five children.  She was the best mom, creating a loving home with an exceptional partner, making sure to give her children the most fun, adventurous, positive childhood.
Her children soon began having children, making her the grandmother of 14 beautiful babies. Sammie was a hands-on grandmother, always being in the delivery room, playing with her grandchildren and reassuring her children they were doing a great job as parents. Sammie never judged her children; they had the type of relationship with her where she was their best friend. There was not a question they couldn’t ask her. She wanted to be called “Grammie Sammie” by her grandchildren, whom she had just as special of a bond with. She was the “Second Mom” to many over the years due to her caring spirit.
Sammie was a huge St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks fan. Right before her death she got to go to a Diamondbacks game with her brother, Jamie, and daughter, April, which she was so excited about. She was very passionate about her baseball. She was always up to playing a board game, listening to music and having a cocktail. Until the end, Sammie always enjoyed being outdoors. She called the land around Custer “God’s country,” always eager to go back to her cabin on the hill with Dave, her husband and best friend until the end.
Sammie was always the life of the party. Everyone wanted to talk to her, hear her laugh, listen to her fantastic sense of humor. She was everyone’s counselor because she was such a great listener, making everyone feel comfortable.  She was a kind, strong, brave, magnetic woman who lived life on her own terms, choosing to embrace the short time she had here. She believed that when people left this life, they would visit as animals to let us know they were OK, in the form of birds, bunnies or turtles. Make sure to look to nature to see Sammie smiling her beautiful smile from heaven above, letting us know she is at peace.  She will live on shining her light and love through her wonderful children and grandchildren.
Sammie, of Custer, passed away unexpectedly Oct. 25, 2023, at the Monument Health Rapid City (S.D.) Hospital, surrounded by her loving family holding her hands. She was 59.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Paul Cochran and Winifred Wilson; her brother, Michael; and stepson, Dusty Goodro.
Blessed to share in her life are her husband of 39 years, David Bland; her children, Bethany Jarrett, April Bland, Christina (Byron) Bohnet, George (Jessica) Bland, and Desiree (Michael) Johnson; her grandchildren, Flynn Jarrett, Clark and Jillian Collins, Allegra, Dusty and Hunter Nelson, Kamryn, Kirbee and Kenadi Bohnet, Liam and Symon Bland, and Hazel, and Winnie and Stevie Johnson; her siblings, Jesse (Brenda) Cochran, Paula Butler and Jamie (Heather) Cochran; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial has been designated in Sammie’s memory.
Christian Funeral Vigil will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Custer.
Christian Funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 4, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Custer with Christian Funeral Committal following at Pringle (S.D) Cemetery. Luncheon and celebration of life will follow at Mt. Rushmore Brewing Company. Please bring a potluck dish and memories to share.
Arrangements have been placed in the care of Chamberlain McColley’s Funeral Home in Custer.

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