A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard
The years go faster as one gets older, and as 2016 closes, I have been thinking back on the past year. As always, Linda and I have much to be thankful for. We are also remembering four good friends and great South Dakotans who we lost this year.
In January, Paul Kinsman passed away after a brave battle with cancer. Paul was a longtime public servant. He served in my cabinet as Commissioner of the Bureau of Administration, and he had also served in Gov. Rounds’ cabinet. The Bureau of Administration maintains State Capitol and grounds and other state buildings. It handles the state motor fleet, state purchasing, management of records and many other administrative duties. BOA isn’t the flashiest part of state government, but it is very important that its work be done well. That is why Paul Kinsman fit the Bureau so well. Paul didn’t care about attention or credit. He cared deeply about his work, and he took particular pride in our efforts to preserve and improve the State Capitol and the grounds.
In May, we were saddened by the unexpected death of Colette Abbott, the University of South Dakota’s first lady. Linda and I had known Colette for years through her work with Children’s Home Society. Colette never held public office, but she was in every way a public servant. She worked hard on behalf of USD and graciously welcomed many to the campus. Colette had a particular connection with students, who came to love her over the Abbotts’ two decades at USD. She particularly connected with the university through her enthusiastic support of Coyote athletics.
The next month, our friend Patricia Adam passed away. Pat Adam was an institution in South Dakota. She was the daughter of Gov. George T. Mickelson and the sister of Gov. George S. Mickelson. Pat took a particular interest in promoting South Dakota history, through her work with the state historical society, the Trail of Governors project, and the committee to restore the First Lady gown collection. She also served for years on the Pierre School Board and was president of the state school board association. I met Pat when I was a state senator, and we grew close when I was President of the Senate while she served as Secretary of the Senate, keeping the senate running smoothly.
Finally, in August, we lost Rep. Dan Dryden of Rapid City after his battle with cancer. I first came to know Dan in 2011, when I was a new governor and Dan was a new state legislator. We had to cut the state budget that year, and as a new member of the appropriations committee, Dan was right in the middle of that. He had worked for years as the Rapid City school business manager, and as a “numbers guy” he was up to the challenge. Dan was a gentleman and a straight-talker, and he came to be one of the best-liked and most-respected members of the legislature. Like many of his peers, he believed in balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility. Even as he quietly fought his battle with cancer, he continued to carry out his duties in Pierre, without complaint.
South Dakota is a great state because we are led by everyday people – friends and neighbors who give their time to serve the people of our state. Paul Kinsman, Collette Abbott, Pat Adam and Dan Dryden all exemplified this spirit of servant leadership. As this year closes, Linda and I are thankful to have had each of them as friends. We can all be thankful for the good work they did for South Dakota.