Long-time Republican, former legislator passes away

Walt Conahan, a former legislator who served in Pierre representing my neck of the woods, passed away on Saturday:

Mr. Conahan spent 25 years as a senior staff member for the United States Senate, House of Representatives, U.S. Commerce Department and National Transportation Safety Board in Washington before returning to South Dakota to serve for 13 years as the first full-time director of the South Dakota State University Foundation. 
He was press secretary to U.S. Sen. Karl E. Mundt (R-S.D.) and chief of staff for U.S. Rep. James Abdnor (R-S.D.). Later, while leading the SDSU Foundation, the voters of Brookings County elected Mr. Conahan to three terms in the South Dakota State Senate.

Read the entire Obituary here.

4 thoughts on “Long-time Republican, former legislator passes away”

  1. Walt is an example of the very best of South Dakota public service. He was a loyal aide to two senators, helping with South Dakota issues. In retirement he helped SDSU and then served in the legislature. He was always willing to spend a few minutes giving advice to young people. RIP my friend

  2. For Walt, politics, friendship, and life were the same thing.

    Treat Everyone with kindness.

    Do the right thing.

    Smile inside and then share your smile with others.

  3. One of my favorite people. The last time I saw him, he and Matt Sutton showed up at The Laughin’ Place. They’d just finished a BBQ at the Alumni Tent and were on a walk about. It was a nice afternoon and they’d busted out of assisted living for the day to take in a game. I was going to ask which of them drove and which navigated, but in a rare moment for me, kept my mouth shut.

    I confess I didn’t recognize him at first, but he of course spoke up immediately. His face was puffy from chemotherapy and one could see it had been working hard on him. We got deep into one of our usual conversations about Clear Lake, Brookings and Pierre, and the people who lived in each. We talked about his cancer and chemotherapy, and living in assisted living in Sioux Falls. It was typically Walt, conversing with ease, big grin on his face, happy to be there and be out and about.

    Which brings me to my point. It struck me as we talked that there really was nothing on earth that Walt couldn’t laugh and smile about. A good thing for me to remember and think about this Monday morning. RIP

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