Clint Roberts, 82 of Ft. Pierre, died Monday, February 13 at Aver St. Mary’s Hospital. Visitation will be 5-7pm, Thursday, February 16 at Isburg Funeral Chapel with a prayer service at 7:00pm. Memorial Service will be at 11:00am, Friday, February 17 at First United Methodist Church with inurnment at Presho City Cemetery.
Clinton Ronald Roberts was born on January 30, 1935, in Presho, SD. He was adopted by his maternal grandparents, Clint and Grace Roberts and attended grade school and high school in Presho. He graduated from Presho High School in 1952 and attended Black Hills University.
On December 7, 1952, Clint married Beverly Dittman in Presho, and they celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary in 2016. They had four children, Debra, Schelle, Clayton and Kristi. Clint and Bev’s youngest daughter Kristi died in 1999. There are six grandchildren in the family and eight great-grandchildren. Family was always a priority for Clint, along with community service and civic pride.
Clint farmed and ranched in Lyman County for most of his lifetime and also taught country school briefly. In the early 1970’s, he was known as “the Marlboro Man” in the SD Senate for the commercial shoots for Marlboro, as he was featured in such ads. He also appeared in several Schlitz commercials, a rugged cowboy with horsemanship skills. Clint was an actor in the movies, “Orphan Train” and “duchess and Dirtwater Fox” in the 1970’s. He produced and narrated the movie “Love or the Land”, a documentary film about agriculture in South Dakota.
One of Clint’s passions was community service, and he served as a state representative and senator for many years. Following that service, he was elected as one of SD’s US Representatives in 1980. It was during that term that he developed the idea of having a conservation reserve enhancement program. He aspired to become Governor, but was defeated in the Republican primaries in 1978 and 1986. He served as the Director of Energy Policy and SD Secretary of Agriculture. He also worked as a consultant for the International Trade Administration. Clint was the Director for the SD Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, retiring in 2003. His retirement years were spent enjoying family life in Fort Pierre, SD, living on the river.
Clint’s unselfish contributions in the political arena, most notably his design of the CREP, improved South Dakota’s economy and indirectly brought international recognition to our state because of the renewed emphasis on pheasant hunting. His film career also gave South Dakota national publicity. Clint’s innovative inception of CREP gave South Dakota’s agriculture economy significant support, and for all his civic contributions, was inducted into the SD Hall of Fame in 2007.
Clint is survived by his wife Beverly; children Debra Brakke (Verne), Schelle Wenner, and Clayton Roberts (Pamela), and grandchildren Nathan Brakke (Michelle), Matthew Brakke (Kimberly), Tessa Wenner, Clint Hunter Roberts (Stephanie), Chelsey Roberts Renemans (Nick), and Tiffany Menke (Nick). Clint also leaves behind eight adoring great-grandchildren.
Memorials may be directed to Countryside Hospice in Pierre or Ruby’s Remedy; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in lieu of flowers.