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October 05, 2012 10:00 PM

Mary Dean Janklow Talks About Husband's Death

flandreau, sd

When Bill Janklow died in January, South Dakota lost a high-profile politician and public servant. And Mary Dean Janklow lost a husband and father to her children.

"You go on, every day is a gift, so you are just thankful for each day and thankful for the time you had together," Mary Dean said.

Bill Janklow's sudden decline from brain cancer was the toughest part to handle.

"I guess the saddest time was to get that diagnosis, you always think that with today's medicines, there's something they can do, but it wasn't to be," Mary Dean said.

And grieving in public was a painful process for someone who cherishes her privacy.

"You have to try and hold everything in because you're in front of a lot of people, yeah, it's difficult," Mary Dean said.

Mary Dean still receives cards and letters from well-wishers. She's reminded every day of the impact her husband had upon South Dakota.

"I might be in the grocery store and they'll see my name and they'll say, ‘Oh, are you the governor's wife?’ And yeah I was the governor's wife," Mary Dean said. 

While Mary Dean still grieves for her husband, she remains proud of his legacy of compassion and commitment.

"He cared about everybody and anybody that approached him about any problem whether it was big or small, he felt he could solve it in some way and he tried," Mary Dean said.

Mary Dean says her husband, who was also a former U.S. Congressman, would not be pleased with the political partisanship on Capitol Hill these days. She says Bill Janklow was a man of action who was always willing to cross party lines to get the job done.

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