Former Governor Bill Janklow has terminal brain cancer

KELOLand news reported earlier today that former Governor Bill Janklow is dying of terminal brain cancer. It has been over a year since I’ve visited with Janklow, but he has certainly had an impact on many of us across the state. He served South Dakota well for many years. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his friends and family.

So many South Dakotans have strong personal stories about how Governor Janklow affected their lives for the better, and this story from Representative Charlie Hoffman is just one of many great reminders of the person Bill Janklow is.

Charlie Hoffman

November 4, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Nothing I?ve ever written or said needs to come out more correctly than this.  At 18 years of age without any preparations other than listening to politics spoken round the dinner table every day,  my father entered the race for Governor of SD against Bill Janklow and Clint Roberts.  Ending my senior year of high school wrapped in a blanket of state wide political stories was at the time normal for me.   Knowing now though that few kids get that kind of scrutiny kept me from running for public office until my youngest actually graduated from high school.   For my father it was his first actual loss experienced which he had no control over;  the second was his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer which ultimately ended his life in November of 1980.

The real story though is of Bill Janklow.  Around 1990 or so he called a good friend of his and of mine and asked this person if Charlie Hoffman hated him.  This mutual friend called me and positioned me with the question.  My reply was of course I don?t hate BJ.  Love maybe not, respect for sure, but hate absolutely not.  The guy loves the little person, the poor, the weak, the non-powerful, and folks who need help the most!  Honestly I told him I would love to be more like him.  :)

To that end Bill Janklow will always be what we as South Dakotan?s strive to do in our daily walk through life.  Take on all adversary?s  with fierce competition, help all those less able than you to help themselves,  and find a way around every problem presented with a clear and concientious solution.

One mistake does not tear the heart and soul out of any great person nor should it ever replace all the good that human has done.  History will remember Governor Janklow as a person who cared greatly for the poor and the sick and the less advantaged; and a fighter of any and all who went up against his level of consternation for making things happen against all odds.

If you are reading this Bill Janklow know that today I do love you as a father.  You are the closest person I associate with my own father I know.  GodSpeed on your quest.  We will meet again?????.

8 Replies to “Former Governor Bill Janklow has terminal brain cancer”

  1. Andy Mahowald

    We just returned home from the Watertown “Make-a-Wish” event where there was a great tribute to “BJ the DJ”. For the first 10 or so years of the event in Watertown, BJ was the entertainment.
    He selflessly gave of his time and leveraged his notoriety for the benefit of this organization.
    My guess is there are many of these same type of stories from throughout the state.
    God bless Govornor.

  2. Harrison Bergeron

    Very sorry to hear of this. As I watched the video on the Argus Leader site I couldn’t help but think of a lion in the jungle laying down and preparing for the end.

    As I have aged I recognize how much of an impact that he, as an incredibly visible and outspoken leader in SD, had on me as I was growing up in the 80’s and 90’s. The way that he went about things his way (and my parents’ admiration for that) has been influential on my makeup and actions as an adult.

    Many said nice things about Janklow in the Argus. I found particularly interesting, however, Mr. Nesselhuf’s comments:

    “When you look at the legacy, it is going to be that he got stuff done. Whether you agreed with it or not, you knew he was doing what he thought was best for the state.

    He had a way about him. In politics, quite often you can find people who can find 10 ways to say no and make it sound like yes. He never bothered with that.?

    That seems pretty on point to me.

  3. oldguy

    Our today politicians could learn a lot from BJ. Remember how he stuck up for Tom Daschle when Tom had the airplane wreck controversial. Janklow took on the New York press sticking up for Tom. Also, don’t forget how well Janklow worked with Daschle for the good of the state. Janklow didn’t care whether you had a R or D behind your name he just wanted to get something done. We always know where Janklow stood that’s for sure. Compare that to what is happening today!

  4. duggersd

    I have Bill Janklow to thank for the way I make my living. Janklow is a man who had a vision for what he wanted and refused to let anything get in his way. He found a way to get things done. Sometimes this rubbed some people the wrong way, but on the other hand, I believe he truly had the interests of the state of SD at heart. I also am thinking it makes sense for him to close his campaign account. I wonder if some of the comments some people had about that story were commented before they had all of the information.


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