Harold Thune, father to U.S. Sen. John Thune, passed away on Saturday at the age of 100. On Monday KELOLAND News had the chance to talk with the Senate’s majority whip about his father’s legacy.
“It really takes some getting used to,” Thune said. “My siblings and I were together around his bed when, after he passed there, and just talking about and sort of remembering, but when you had somebody in your life for 100 years, and somebody who represented so much stability and such a steadiness that my dad was just that kind of person and someone who you really looked up to as an example when it came to modeling honesty and integrity and personal responsibility.”
Until just recently, Harold Thune had been right there.
“It’s a very almost surreal feeling, and there’s a bit of an emptiness there initially because all of us had stayed in touch with him literally right up to the end,” Thune said. “I had a conversation with him by phone a week ago, when he was still in good spirits. I mean, when he went, he went fast, which we’re grateful for.”
Harold Thune served with the United States Navy in World War II.
“He instilled in all of us a deep and really enduring appreciation for freedom and for the cost of freedom and for the men and women in uniform and our veterans and respect for authority,” Thune said.
Thune highlights his father’s humility and insight.
“His advice meant a lot, I mean you knew that he had seen so much of life, experienced so much of life, and when he gave us instructions or advice or we asked him, he had so much wisdom to impart, and that’s something I’m really going to miss,” Thune said.
There’s a thanksgiving that goes along with that, too.
“We’re a grateful family, blessed to have had him for so long, and obviously now we send him off to be reunited and joined with my mom, and I know he was ready for that,” Thune said.
John Thune spoke about his father on the U.S. Senate floor ahead of Harold’s 100th birthday; you can watch our report from last December about it here.