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Noem Laments Passing of One-Term Mentor Farrar

Former Governor Frank Leroy Farrar died Sunday at age 92. Current part-time Governor Kristi Noem says she will miss her mentor:

Governor Kristi Noem announced Farrar’s death on behalf of his family, saying, “Frank was an incredible leader for our state and a mentor to me over these past year, as well. His heart for people and his enthusiasm for public service have been an inspiration. Frank stayed active up until the day he died, as evidenced by the statue of him running on the Trail of Governors. He even competed in triathlons and Ironman competitions into his eighties. We should all hope to be able to live as active, caring, and full a life as Frank” [Tony Venhuizen, “Gov. Frank Farrar 1929–2021,” SoDak Governors, 2021.10.31].

AP notes that Farrar was the last elected incumbent Governor to lose his bid for reëlection. (Subsequent incumbents Harvey Wollman and Walter Dale Miller lost their reëlection bids, but they took office by succession, not election.) We can only hope Farrar’s mentorship rubbed off enough that Noem will become South Dakota’s next one-term governor.

Related Running: Noem already appears to be training for the long-distance running that Farrar enjoyed after his political retirement:


  1. larry kurtz 2021-11-01 10:46

    During the 1972 election cycle I distinctly recall one of the national teevee anchors calling Mr. Farrar “flamboyant.” My Republican father believed he was a sleaze ball after meeting him at some local campaign event where Farrar’s womanizing was on full display.

    Farrar became increasingly bitter and vindictive after losing to Governor Kneip then got rich as a bankster.

  2. DaveFN 2021-11-01 11:49

    “Frank stayed active up until the day he died, as evidenced by the statue of him running on the Trail of Governors.”

    How oddly derivative to cite a statue as evidence of someone’s activity up until the day of their death. Must be Pierre-think.

  3. Mark Anderson 2021-11-01 15:23

    Too bad he died,, it was a nice long life. In 1971, the young people voted him out, first time for 18 year olds to vote, I was one. He talked in front of our old high school in Highmore, hardly thrilling to say the least, he was going for the youth vote of course Back then though, there wasn’t as much difference between the partys. Now ALL the loonies are Republican. He was an interesting guy, however he’s is too much like any Repub in that he thinks he beat his cancer by running and Ironman competitions. The counter of course is that if you die you didn’t try hard enough. At least he didn’t say Jesus saved him.
    By the way on my 18th birthday, I walked from the high school to Houdek’s at noon to have my first legal beer. It was closed didn’t open that early, who knew?

  4. Bob Newland 2021-11-01 20:23

    Frank who?

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-11-02 06:36

    Getting young people to vote for the other candidate—there’s another part of the Farrar legacy we can hope Noem reawakens in 2022.

  6. ABC 2021-11-02 08:07

    Well, he lost against 3 time winner Dick Kneip. Lessons we can learn and DO:

    1. Find a NEW Winner (of Democrat or Progressive or Progressive Libertarian Lineage) who will win 3 times, just like Kneip did!

    2. Let every Citizen (and Green card holders, too!) participate in the new South Dakota Bank (or Progressive Bank of South Dakota) which can be a combination of Bank of North Dakota and have ultra progressive features, too. We can all be “banksters” too, except it won’t be “bankstering” at the expense of other people. It will be “bankstering” to improve the lives of everyone who lives in South Dakota!

    Can you imagine “Progressive Bank” or “Bank of New South Dakota: being in every town in our state? (Doesn’t mean you build a building, but they can have a branch a few days a week somewhere in town!)

    Can you imagine “Bank of New South Dakota” helping us re-define what is great, and what we CAN do, every day here? I can!

    (Also, is it legal for a Bank to be open on a Sunday? I vote for that, too!)

  7. John Dale 2021-11-03 20:38

    If not for her handling of cannabis, I think Noem would be a shoe-in for another term. May be a rough ride now, however .. is Blue Dog Sutton running again?

  8. Orren Thornes 2021-11-04 05:56

    If all you can do is denigrate a man you obviously know little about, I’m not sure why you take the time to post. Frank was a genuinely good man who did what he felt was right. As far as his remaining active? Of course a statue says nothing, but a little research would tell you the man went from being a regular runner to a triathlete and ironman when he received a cancer diagnosis at 65 yrs old. Over 300 triathlons and 28 ironman competitions as late as age 89. That’s a lot more proof than the statue in front of his bank in Pierre. So remember the man for who he was, not because Noem commented on him. His own politics were progressive for the time and if not for the dislike of one energy bill (which many of you would vote for) Kneip wouldn’t have beaten him.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-11-04 06:04

    Orren, where do you see me denigrating Frank Farrar? Our commentary about Noem’s line about the statue critiques Noem’s composition skills, not Farrar’s activity. At no point do I claim he wasn’t active until the day he died or that he was as bad a writer as Noem.

    See also the non-denigrating video I embedded, from 2018, providing the evidence that the statue does not.

  10. Lottie 2021-11-04 10:28

    I enjoyed mr. Farrar’s video. A good athlete. Republican mentality or not, he was ambitious anyhow. Please don’t let him be like Noem, LOL

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