Bill Janklow, my former Governor, passed away today. He was 73.
It is impossible to express how large (and generally benevolent) a presense he was in South Dakota politics. Under his leadership, South Dakota was the first state in the union to wire ever school to the internet. Many of the return addresses for credit card bills and mailings you receive probably have a return address of “Sioux Falls, SD” — that is also because of him.
Everyone has their own Bill Janklow stories. He has screamed (in person to one, over the phone to another) at least two members of my close family. A waitress friend of ours, who works at a small town steakhouse, would complain about his latest antics there.
Bill felt nowhere more comfortable than in a small town steakhouse. Though I doubt the Hy-Vee Cafteria could have been far behind.
Janklow’s dad was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials. Bill profoundly identified with South Dakota as only somewhere raised here but stil from “outside” could. He was born in Chicago, and gave his religion as “Jewish Lutheran.”
We’ll miss you.
Update: The Argus Leader captures the mood perfectly: The lion is dead.