Jim Abdnor Remembered By Sen. Thune
by Jeff Rusack, Reporter
May 16, 2012 10:16 PM
While many reflect on the life of the former senator, congressman, and lieutenant governor, some think how differently their life would be if it weren't for knowing Jim Abdnor.
"I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today, had it not been for Jim Abdnor,” said Senator John Thune.
Thune considered Abdnor a friend and a mentor and says the 89-year-old former senator helped guide him into politics.
“I would have a completely different career path. He, like he did with a lot of other young South Dakotans, took an interest in me. He gave me some opportunities to do some things and help me open some doors,” said Thune. He went on to say “Everything I know about politics that is good, I learned from Jim Abdnor.”
The republican served for six years in the U.S. Senate. His terms sandwiched between democrat George McGovern and Tom Daschle. Thune believes winning the 1980 election was Abdnor’s most important achievement.
“That was a very consequential election. It was sort of a real watershed in terms of the politics of South Dakota, but certainly with the politics of the nation,” said Thune.
While Thune is thankful for the help he received from Abdnor, he knows he is just one of the few who Abdnor helped along the way.
“Jim Abdnor was just a good guy. He was somebody that you would see at ball games,” said Thune.
A man, who served South Dakota in a number of political offices, also mentored those who followed in his footsteps.
Abdnor's funeral is set for Saturday morning at 11:30 in Pierre.
Thune will give the eulogy at Lutheran Memorial Church.
On Friday from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., family members will hold a visitation at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls.