PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) The weekend brought mourning and memories-as South Dakotans looked back at the life of former U.S. Senator Jim Abdnor. Funeral services for Abdnor were held at Pierre’s Lutheran Memorial Church. About 250 people gathered there to remember the life of the former South Dakota political leader, who died last Wednesday at the age of 89. Kennebec lawyer, Herb Sundall was one Abdnor’s friends and said last week that Abdnor always took a genuine interest in people and was a big supporter of local youngsters. Sundall said Abdnor was kind to all-and it was proven to him when he went to Washington, DC for a visit with Abdnor.
Abdnor was born in Kennebec in 1923 and Sundall said that Abdnor never forgot his roots.
The 64-year-old Sundall said that Abdnor influenced many people over the years, including Senator John Thune-who hails from Murdo and who has said that Abdnor was his mentor.
Meanwhile, Frank Brost, who became acquainted with Abdnor when Brost moved to Presho in the 1960′s to practice law said last week that Abdnor was best known for his unique qualities that set him aside in the political world.
Brost said Abdnor and the town of Kennebec became synonymous.
Brost, who did legal work for Abdnor, was a friend and supporter. Brost was also a former Chief of Staff for Governor George Mickelson and says Abdnor was a genuine man-and differed from some of those who run for political office today.
Several officials joined Abdnor family and friends in saying goodbye Saturday, including Governor Dennis Daugaard, former Governor Mike Rounds, Attorney General Marty Jackley and Secretary of State Jason Gant. Senator Thune gave a eulogy and Abdnor was later buried Saturday at the Kennebec Cemetery.
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