SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — He was the man who was responsible for bringing snowgates to the city of Sioux Falls, but those who knew Kermit Staggers say he should be remembered for so much more than just that.
Staggers died Wednesday night while in hospice care from complications of cancer.
He served on the Sioux Falls city council and in the state legislature. People are remembering Staggers as a champion for the citizens.
Staggers was a soft-spoken man, but oftentimes his actions spoke louder than his words.
Sioux Falls city council member Theresa Stehly says Staggers was the king of transparency.
“He was a staunch defender of accountability and fiscal responsibility in our governmental spending,” Stehly said.
Staggers is being credited with bringing snowgates to the city of Sioux Falls and also getting the Drake Springs Aquatic Center built, two efforts that weren’t very popular with the administration.
“Kermit was a man of great principles, great integrity, loyalty. He stood by his beliefs, even when he was maybe ridiculed or put down. In, I understand. Having served on the council for almost four years, I do understand, what it’s like when you’re kind of the lone vote on something you believe in,” Stehly said.
Along with his years of public service, Staggers was also a long-time professor at the University of Sioux Falls where he taught government and history. USF President Brett Bradfield says Staggers’ lessons went beyond the textbook.
“The content he brought into the room he also believed very strongly that you also had to live a part of that content he believed very strongly in civic engagement, and passed onto his students not to be a passive participant in our governmental process but to be active,” Bradfield said.
Bradfield says Staggers was a quiet man, but well respected.
“His demeanor was always very level, he would talk the issues, he would express his opinions and his own values would come out in that but he was also respectful of opposing views,” Bradfield said.
“He was a great asset to our community, I think now we’re seeing a lot of affirmation being poured out and appreciation for him on this Thanksgiving Day in the, to me, a deeper lesson to learn is that we need to be much more generous in our words to one-up toward one another while we’re alive,” Stehly said.
Funeral arrangements for Staggers are pending. He was 72.