BREAKING: South Dakota’s 24th governor, Frank Farrar, dies at the age of 92

Photo: Brent Nathaniel

November 1, 2021

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Former South Dakota Gov. Frank Farrar, whose uncanny rise to politics as a young man quickly morphed into a career as a banker and philanthropist, died Sunday. He was 92.

Known as the “boy wonder” who was the youngest person ever elected state attorney general, the Britton native became the state’s 24th governor in 1968.

Farrar ran unopposed for the Republican nomination and easily won the general election.

However, he had the distinction of being the last elected incumbent governor to lose reelection when, in 1970, he lost his bid for a second term to Democrat Dick Kneip.

Farrar left politics and focused on banking and philanthropy. He was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2006.

Governor Kristi Noem’s office issued a news release Sunday on Farrar’s death, the text of which can be read below:

“Frank was an incredible leader for our state and a mentor to me over these past years, as well,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “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,” continued Governor Noem. “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.”

Farrar was elected governor in 1968 at the age of 39 and served as the 24th Governor of South Dakota from 1969 to 1971. He also served as the state’s 22nd Attorney General from 1963 to 1969. Prior to that, he served as Marshall County judge, Marshall County state’s attorney, and as the only governor of South Dakota Boys State to later be elected governor.

Farrar joined the South Dakota ROTC while attending college at USD before commissioning as a lieutenant and serving in the Korean War. He continued serving as a captain in the Army Reserves for 15 years. A detailed biography of Governor Farrar can be found here.

It was six years ago to the day, on October 31, 2015, that his wife of sixty-two years, Former First Lady Patricia Farrar, passed away. Frank is survived by five children – Jeanne Farrar, Sally Farrar, Robert Farrar, Mary Turner (Randall Turner), and Anne Farrar (John Ingwalson) – as well as eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.