Roger Pries 1935 – 2019

PIERRE, SD – Roger Pries, 84, of Pierre, passed away peacefully under hospice care on November 1, 2019. A Memorial Visitation will be held 5:00-7:00pm, on Monday, November 11, 2019 with a prayer service at 7:00pm at Pierre First United Methodist Church. A Memorial Celebration of Roger’s life will be held at 10:00am, on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at Pierre First United Methodist Church.

Roger was born in Watertown, SD on February 10, 1935 to Edwin and Emma Pries. He married Suzanne Henkins at Pierre in 1957.

Roger grew up and attended school in Watertown, SD graduating high school in 1953. His Watertown High School sport was playing varsity basketball and youth American Legion baseball. In 1953 he signed with the Milwaukee Braves baseball organization. He traveled, by bus, to their camp in Georgia. After attending the camp, his South Dakota ideals were “speaking to him”, and he decided he was not interested in pursuing baseball at that level. From 1953-1957 he continued his education at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD where he played varsity basketball, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Ed. Degree. At this time he was drafted into the army and spent six months of basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO and Fort Riley, KS. He served with the National Guard for the next 6 ½ years in Pierre, SD.

His teaching and coaching career began at Pierre Riggs High School, 1957-1985. He assisted coaching football and became the varsity basketball coach and also coached the track weights. He taught high school history and government, electives Marriage/Family, Ecology and American Indian Studies.

His 1979 basketball team won the state championship in Sioux Falls, SD. Previous to this he coached many rewarding and successful varsity teams at Pierre. He was selected as a member of the SD High School Hall of Shrine, SD Basketball Hall of Fame from Watertown, SD, Northern State University and The National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Riggs High School Hall of Fame.

After the years at Riggs, Roger resigned to become the Executive Director of the SD Wildlife Federation, 1985-1999. In this career he served the people and natural resources of the state of SD where he guided the growth and maturation of this organization. He became the premier spokesperson for hunters and anglers in SD. He established and maintained a credible and positive close working relationship with the SD Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

His summers included attending National Guard Camp, coaching baseball, attending college classes at SDSU, and teaching Drivers Ed in Pierre. He travelled with family to 50 states along with trips to Canada and Mexico. Family time was always special to him. Because Roger was a former Army cook, he prepared and cooked his fish and game for family and friends. Roger also enjoyed working with birds and fish in his hobby of taxidermy. In addition to all these activities, he found time to put his hand to canvas in doing oil paintings.

Grateful for having shared in his life is his wife of 62 years, Suzanne, son Brent (Mona) Pries, Pierre, SD daughter Sarah (Casey) Coons, Arvada, CO, three grandchildren: Ashley (Aaron) Brewer, Zane (Sarah) Pries and RC Coons, four great grandchildren: Jet, Lainee, and Colt Brewer and Trale Pries, sisters-in-law Nancy (Bill) Tucker, McLean, VA, Trish Hall, McLean, VA, Della (Ron) Riis, Dryden, NY, niece Dawn Bakke (Kevin, Zach), Florence, SD, nephew Greg Johnson, Minneapolis, MN, and many other nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Edwin and Emma Pries, Suzanne’s parents Ellsworth and Lepha Henkins, his sister and brother-in-law Phyllis and Lynn Johnson, and brother-in-law John Hall.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be directed to Pierre First United Methodist Church, 117 Central Ave, Pierre, SD 57501, Avera @ Home, 801 East Sioux Ave, Pierre, SD 57501 or SD Wildlife Federation Youth Conservation Camp, PO Box 7075, Pierre, SD 57501.

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