I had heard she’d taken ill at a GOP meeting last month, but I didn’t know how ill she was. I saw on Facebook today that Mary McClure Bibby passed away.
Back when I was an Intern in the Legislature, State Senator McClure was the President Pro Tempore of the State Senate. In fact, I believe she was the first woman in South Dakota to rise to that level. While serving in the State Senate from 1975 through, 1989 when she resigned April 10, 1989, to become Special Assistant for Intergovernmental Affairs for President Bush, she served in the following roles:
- LRC Executive Board member 1977-1989
- President Pro Tempore 1979-1989
- LRC Executive Board Vice Chairman 1983-1984
- LRC Executive Board Chairman 1985-1986
But, her Legislative resume is only a drop in the bucket. She was Staff assistant for United States Senator Francis Case, Washington, 1959-1961. Secretary to lieutenant governor State of South Dakota, Pierre, 1963, with budget office, 1964. Executive secretary to president Frontier Airlines, Denver, 1963-1964. Teacher Public High Schools, Pierre and Redfield, South Dakota, 1965-1966, 68-70. Vice chairman of the council of state governments, 1987, chairman council of state governments, 1988. Special assistant to President Bush for intergovernmental affairs, 1989-1992, and Executive Director South Dakota Bush-Quayle Campaign, 1992.
I had the pleasure of working with Mary when she was with the Bush Quayle campaign in 1992, and served with her on the Brookings Historic Preservation Commission here in Brookings a few years back.
As I’m writing this, I see the Governor sent out the following Press release:
Gov. Daugaard Orders State Capitol Flags At
Half-Staff For Former State Sen. Mary McClure Bibby
PIERRE, S.D. – Former state legislator Mary McClure Bibby of Brookings passed away on July 2, 2016.
McClure, 77, was a native of Milbank and an alumna of the University of South Dakota, where she received the Fulbright Scholarship. She became a teacher and settled in Redfield. McClure served in the State Senate from 1975 – 1989, representing Redfield and the surrounding area.
McClure was the first woman in South Dakota history to hold a top leadership position in the State Legislature, serving from 1979 – 1989 as president pro tempore of the Senate. She also served as national chair of the Council of State Governments, and as chair of the Legislative Research Council Executive Board.
McClure resigned from the State Senate in 1989 to accept an appointment from President George H. W. Bush as special assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs.
Following her legislative service, McClure married former state Sen. John Bibby, who had been a colleague in the State Legislature.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has ordered flags to fly half-staff at the State Capitol on Saturday, Aug. 6, the day of McClure Bibby’s funeral.
It tells a bit about her, but as do many obituary notices, you can’t help but think about how much it has to leave out. I know that Mary served as a mentor for at least a couple of names you might recognize who interned under her – United States Senator Mike Rounds, and State Treasurer Rich Sattgast.
I know she continued to be active and participating in Republican politics literally up until her passing. She was always warm, kind, and the kind of person it’s easy to admire. I can’t help but be sad for the loss of Mary, while being richer for knowing her. She was truly a special lady.
God bless, and God speed.