Former lobbyist and Legislator’s daughter, Andrea (Wagner) Radtke, passes away

I just caught this on Facebook, and thought I’d share it for those who knew Andrea way back when. I was acquainted with her from her time up in the legislature while I was working for the Party, as her Mom Mary Wagner was a State Senator, as well as around the SDSU campus on occasion when I returned to school (Her Dad was University President Robert Wagner), and I’d even run into her once in a blue moon at session:

Andrea Radke, 55, passed away peacefully on January 16, 2017 at Sunset Manor Nursing Home in Irene, SD surrounded by her loving family.

Andrea Wagner was born July 2, 1961 in Sioux Falls, SD.  Her early years were spent in Watertown, South Dakota.  Her family later moved to Brookings where she graduated from Brookings High School in 1979.  After graduation, Andrea attended Mankato State University where she studied Journalism and Mass Communications.  After receiving her undergraduate degree from Mankato State, she eventually went on to earn a Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland.  This was one of Andrea’s proudest accomplishments.   After graduating from Maryland, Andrea worked for the South Dakota Municipal League in Pierre, South Dakota.  One of her duties was being a legislative lobbyist where she met many life-long friends and acquaintances.  In 1991, Andrea moved to Sioux Falls and worked for Voyageur Asset Management.


Andrea was active in politics.  She helped manage her mother’s State Senate Campaign.  She also worked on Senator Jim Abdnor’s United States Senate race.  Andrea also loved to travel.  She was up for almost any adventure.  Andrea was a member of Westward Ho Country Club.  She was an avid golfer.  She made sure that her children were introduced to the game as well.  One of Andrea’s most cherished pastimes was driving Erin and Lee to junior golf tournaments.  Andrea was extremely proud of her children’s golf accomplishments.

On November 12, 2004, the day Andrea’s beloved mother passed from this earth after a short and unexpected illness, Andrea was befallen by a tragic and unexpected heart ailment which permanently left her with a severe brain injury. For the past 1 2 years, God has been holding Andrea in his loving arms until she could finally go to heaven to join her mother, father, friends and loved ones.

Read it all here.

Andrea was a truly nice person. May her family be at peace.

2 Replies to “Former lobbyist and Legislator’s daughter, Andrea (Wagner) Radtke, passes away”

  1. Troy Jones

    Andrea and I became friends when we both worked for Senator Abdnor. Having Andrea as a friend meant every day you had someone who loved you and was willing to show it everytime she saw you. She had a hug and then a stinging barb to keep you humble.

    Because she was trained in journalism, she loved to spark a conversation. With conservatives, she’d say something liberal and draw out our best arguments. Same with a liberal. If she was in the presence of one of each, she’d light a fire and just watch. We knew what she was doing yet we always played because Andrea made us laugh when we were done.

    When we worked together, she was on the “protected list” because Jim Abdnor loved her like a daughter. What I’m calling the protected list was Andrea could get away with things most of us couldn’t. For example, Senator Abdnor asked her to write his introductory remarks for a bill which was appearing before his committee. While many of his fellow chairman kept their initial thoughts on the bill to themselves during the intro, Senator Abdnor often took the other approach because he wanted to give the advocate a chance to amend his initial remarks to deal with his concerns.

    Anyway, one night I came to her office and asked if she was going to join us for drinks after work. She was sitting at her desk with her famous smirk and said she better stay here until the Senator left and then go home to await his call. She also invited me to stay because I might enjoy it. Sure enough, Senator Abdnor came storming into her office asking basically “what is this crap” because Andrea had given her the exact opposite of what the Senator intended.

    After Jim got done with his rant, she laughed and said “Senator xxxx (Democrat ranking member) is going to give this speech and I wanted your thoughts on what you want to say knowing this will follow you.” The end result: Jim decided to just introduce the sponsor and reserve his comments for later.

    All I can say my good friend, nobody could have done what you did and Jim loved you for how you returned his loyalty and affection. You were unique in everything. And that is why I love you. I know how hard these years have been stuck between the world of your kids and the world of your parents. I’m just glad you now have your final reward.

    May the soul of Andrea, by the Mercy of God, Rest In Peace.

  2. Troy Jones

    Yesterday was Andrea’s funeral at the Episcopal Calvary Cathedral. The place was packed which gives you an indication of the impact she had prior to her heart attack 12 years ago. The celebrant’s homily touched so eloquently of the courage and fight she displayed these past 12 years.

    But the conversation after the funeral during the fellowship was us remembering the courage and fight most of us witnessed prior to her fall and why she was so loved by those of us who are not family.

    But the above isn’t very unique of people we have all met and loved. What though is unique about Andrea relevant to a political blog is Andrea is a type of person who seems rarer in and around politics who have much to contribute.

    If you are a liberal, you’d have thought she was a radical conservative. If you are a conservative, you’d have thought she was a radical liberal. In reality, Andrea was what the consummate journalist (her major in college). What she thought about something was incidental compared to her drawing out of YOU what you thought and why.

    And, as a friend, what she did for ME was in her approach exercise made me examine myself. What a wonderful friend able to so often cause a self-examination.

    Andrea, I got used to not seeing you over these past 12 years but yesterday reminded me how much I miss you. I’m thinking you are going to be more effective “razzing” those you love now and I look forward to it. I just wish the razzing could include your laugh and smile.

    Rest in Peace Andrea. I’m happy you are now with your dear parents.