- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) - Colette Abbott, the wife of University of South Dakota President James Abbott, died suddenly Wednesday at the couple’s residence in Vermillion. She was 59.

The university confirmed the death on Wednesday.

Officials said Colette Abbott had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was awaiting surgery.

Tena Haraldson, USD’s director of marketing communications and university relations, says faculty, staff and students are grieving this loss because she was such an important member of the USD community.

The former Colette Pugh grew up in Pierre, attended USD and married James Abbott in 1987. They have three adult daughters and two grandchildren.

James Abbott became the school’s 17th president in 1997 and presided over a period of substantial growth, including the school’s transition to Division I sports.

Arrangements are pending.

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