- Associated Press - Monday, April 20, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Walter Charles Conahan, a former Brookings County lawmaker who served as press secretary to U.S. Sen. Karl Mundt and chief of staff for U.S. Rep. James Abdnor, has died at age 87 after a five-year battle with cancer.

He died Saturday at his Sioux Falls home, according to the governor’s office and longtime friend Jack Marsh.

Conahan grew up in Leola, graduated from high school in 1945 and served in the U.S. Army until 1946. He graduated in 1952 with a journalism degree from South Dakota State University, where he was student body president, campus newspaper editor and the first student to portray “Weary Willie,” the mascot of SDSU’s annual Hobo Day homecoming celebration.

He was an associate editor of the Clear Lake Courier for three years and in 1955 went to Washington where he served 25 years in a variety of positions in the legislative and executive branches, including 14 years as press secretary for Mundt and three years as chief of staff for Abdnor when he was in the House of Representatives.

Conahan returned to South Dakota in 1978 and worked for 13 years as the first full-time director of the South Dakota State University Foundation.

While living in Volga, he was elected to three terms in the South Dakota Senate as a Republican from 1983 to 1989.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard ordered flags at the Capitol in Pierre to be lowered to half-staff on Saturday, when Conahan’s funeral will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Sioux Falls.

Conahan is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marjorie Dean Conahan, a daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter and a large extended family.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide