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January 13, 2012 04:59 PM

Janklow Remembered In His Hometown

flandreau, sd

Few places in South Dakota are feeling the loss of Bill Janklow more strongly than in the former governor's hometown.
People in Flandreau knew Janklow long before he emerged in the public spotlight.

Jim McGlone has known Bill Janklow since they were 7th graders in Flandreau during the 1950s. Back then, McGlone and others in Flandreau might not have predicted Janklow's rapid rise in politics. But they did see glimpses of the brashness that would later become a Janklow trademark. 

Janklow and McGlone's 60-year Flandreau friendship began when McGlone's precocious classmate was the new kid on the block.

"Bill was a typical high school kid who was mischievous. He never went out for any sports, but he was always around hanging out down at what we call the, 'Sugar Bowl.'  That's where all the kids hung out," McGlone said.

And when Janklow wasn't hanging out in Flandreau, he was on the road to somewhere else.

"He loved to drive his mother's car.  It was a big old Oldsmobile I recall. One time he wanted to know if we wanted a hamburger and this other friend of mine said, 'Yeah,' and he drove to Sioux Falls. We didn't know where he was going," McGlone said.

Both McGlone and Janklow racked up a few school demerits along the way.

"Back then, you got like five demerits and you were out. Well, you could get a demerit for chewing gum," McGlone said.

McGlone remembers Janklow's earliest foray into politics: organizing a sit-down strike against a teacher that led to him getting kicked out of school.

"He asked for his locker fee back and that made the superintendent mad," laughed McGlone.

McGlone says Janklow's years in Flandreau helped shape the future politician. A small town that made a big impression on Janklow.

"Maybe if he hadn't been in Flandreau, he might have turned out different. Like Hillary Clinton says, it takes a village to raise a child. We'll everyone around town knew Bill and they might have gave him a break now and then," McGlone said.

Janklow left Flandreau to join the Marines. McGlone says Janklow returned home a much more serious person, but still able to have fun with his friends.
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