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Roberta Ann “Bobbi” Sago, 53 of Spearfish, SD passed away March 20th at the Spearfish Regional Hospital.
Bobbi was born May 16, 1964 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania the eldest of three children born to Robert and Dolores Sago. The family participated in 4-H. She was a Girl Scout and in high school participated in drama and speech team. Bobbie was also in the Future Homemakers of America Group. She graduated from Corvallis High School in 1982.
Bobbi went to the University of Montana where she was a Journalism and English major. On her summer break she worked two years in restaurants in Yellowstone National Park. Her junior year she settled on Theater as her major and felt she should work in theatre. Surely there were jobs a lot closer to Montana, but she ended up spending a summer theater season in Monmouth, Maine. She graduated from the Theatre Program in December 1987. She spent the spring on tour with the Montana Repertory. After being on tour, she took a summer job in Spring Green, WI with the American Players Theatre.
In August 1988, she moved to Washington, DC to work for Arena Stage in the costume shop. She lived in Alexandria, VA, spent the summer in Spring Green, WI and returned to Washington DC to work for the Washington Opera. After two years she decided that she didn’t like looking for a job every three to nine months and left theater for “Security.”
Bobbi decided to go to graduate school and enrolled in the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, earning a Master’s Degree in Library Information Science. While in school she worked part-time at George Washington University, the local branch of the Alexandria Public Library and at the Library of Congress paper conservation lab.
Bobbi became interested in Dance and was involved with the Contra Dance and later Scottish Country Dancing. At this time, she also volunteered at the Carlyle House. Bobbi and her friend Jane, worked together at the Arena Stage doing house management, she was at the Kreeger Theatre. While working there, tongue in cheek she would tell people, “I’m just doing this theater thing until I can break into the Library business.”
She lived in DC for nearly 10 years before taking a job as the Manuscript Librarian at the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) Library. As an archivist, or manuscript librarian, she cared for ‘primary resources.’ In El Paso she started singing with the church choir at the St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 10 a.m. Mass.
On April 20, 2003 she accepted a position at the Special Collections Librarian / Archivist at Black Hills State University. She was in charge of the Special Collections Department which contains two main research collections, the Leland D. Case Library for Western Historical Studies and the University Archives. These are both research collections that contain many items that may be rare and unique. In addition to helping patrons with their research, she was responsible for organizing and describing the manuscript collections. Manuscript collections included things like family papers, papers of professional historians, records of organizations, and business records. There were a number of other activities in her job but the one she liked the best was providing outreach for the collections. Bobbi served on the Board of the West River History Conference.
She has co-authored four books for Arcadia Publishing, they are: Spearfish, Black Hills Gold Rush Towns, Black Hills National Forest: Harney Peak and the Historic Fire Lookout Towers, and Black Hills Gold Rush Towns II. She also worked a few hours a week for a company called Spearfish Canyon Tours.
Bobbi recently got back into theater, this time on the acting side of things. In 2007, she portrayed Mary (Mother) Jones in Out of Our Father’s House at the Matthew’s Opera House in Spearfish. She also has performed in a Matthew’s Opera House event called, “Theater on the Run.” She has portrayed a historic figure for several years on the Rose Hill Cemetery Walk. Most recently she performed in, A funny Little Thing Called Love. She was portrayed as two characters, Twyla and Nita. She was surprised to be cast as Twyla, a stereotypical blond ‘bimbo’. She was owned by two cats, Hercules and Achilles.
In December, Bobbi got a contract to co-author her fifth book for Arcadia publishing. It’s titled Fort Meade: Peacekeeper of the Black Hills. The topic is frontier Fort Meade, in Sturgis, South Dakota. The book was due to come out in mid 2018.
She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Sago and Mr. and Mrs. John Merta.
Surviving include her father, Robert Sago; mother, Dee Sago; sister, Rebecca Lynn Sago; brother, Robert “Ed” Sago; nephew, Kaleb M. (Brittany) Sago; great niece, Lennon L. Sago and great nephew, Matthew R. Sago.
A Vigil Service will be held at 7:00 p.m. Monday, March 26th at the Daly-Leach Chapel in Hamilton.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 27th at St. Francis Catholic Church in Hamilton with Father Jim Connor as celebrant. Interment will follow at Riverview Cemetery in Hamilton.