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Forum News Service, Published May 08 2013

Woman killed in South Dakota house fire

PARKSTON, S.D. - A Parkston woman known for her artfully decorated cakes and enthusiastic personality died Wednesday in a house fire.

Emergency personnel were called to the fire at the home of Kathie Neal, 64, around 2:30 a.m.

Parkston Police Chief Greg Reichenberg said no one else was in the home at the time and the house is a total loss. Deputy State Fire Marshal Paul Coon was on scene beginning his investigation into the cause, but he declined to comment.

Neal loved her grandchildren, according to several people around Parkston. She taught kindergarten through 12th grade art in the Parkston School District for many years. She retired seven years ago, according to Superintendent Shayne McIntosh.

“Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the family,” McIntosh said.

Neal was most involved recently at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where she taught catechism classes for five years. Her artistic skills always accompanied confirmation and first communion celebrations in the form of cakes. She helped celebrate confirmation Sunday, said the Rev. John Rader.

“She was willing to pitch in however she could help,” he added.