Legendary Lawman dies at age 83

Local News

Funeral arrangements have been set for ‘Legendary Lawman’ Gene Abdallah.

Abdallah died on Saturday in hospice care surrounded by family.

He’s being remembered for his commitment to public safety and an institution in South Dakota.

Abdallah wore many hats throughout his lifetime.

He was the longest-serving U.S. Marshal in South Dakota history and served as head of the South Dakota Highway Patrol for five years.

He also served 12 years in the South Dakota Legislature, in both the House and Senate.

Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead worked closely with Abdallah on many occasions.

“I had an opportunity, many times to sit down, have coffee with him with a group of people over the years and it didn’t take long for Gene to express his opinion on things, you always knew where he stood,” Milstead said.

Milstead says Abdallah was tough on crime.

“And sometimes a little tough on the outside you would think, but the reality of it is the second thing that I’ll remember about Gene, and that is that he’s raised millions of dollars for children’s charities over the years and supported law enforcement more than anyone else in our state’s history with his law enforcement appreciation dinner that I went to the first one,” Milstead said.

Milstead says almost every law enforcement officer in the state knew Gene Abdallah.

But as popular of a law enforcement figure as Abdallah was in the state, Milstead says often times he’d put others first.

“Whether it was sponsoring the law enforcement appreciation dinners or was it when he was at the Sturgis rally as a U.S. Marshal or superintendent of the highway patrol making sure the officers were well fed and taken care of and, you know, provide a big meal for them, he was always there behind the scenes wanting to make sure that those officers you know felt honored and appreciated,” Milstead said.

Abdallah was 83. Incidentally, the law enforcement game feed that he started many years ago is being held November 13.

In lieu of flowers, a law enforcement scholarship fund has been established in Gene’s name.

Donations should be made payable to “SD Law Enforcement Charities” and mailed to: 101 S Main, Suite 100, Sioux Falls, SD 57104.

Please include a reference to “Gene Abdallah Scholarship” in the check memo.

To get more information on funeral arrangements for Abdallah, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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