SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakotans and people beyond the state’s borders are mourning the loss of a former first lady. Jean Rounds, wife of Sen. Mike Rounds, died Tuesday morning. In 2005, we brought you a story on the governor’s new residence in Pierre with commentary from Jean Rounds.
“I’m excited just to be the first family to live here, because I think it, that’s really special to me, to be the first family to live here after as much time as we’ve put in, into this,” Jean Rounds said in 2005.
Rep. Dusty Johnson and Sen. John Thune each highlighted Jean Rounds as a mother as well as a grandmother.
“There was no pretensions with her, she was a model of grace and kindness, always down-to-earth and just maintained a very humble demeanor,” Thune said. “Loved her kids, loved her grandkids.”
“Jean’s legacy will be her strength,” Johnson said. “She was just an incredibly hard-working and resilient person, and she helped Mike tremendously, she helped this state tremendously, and she was as good a mother and a grandmother as a person could be.”
Mike and Jean Rounds have four children.
“The thing about Jean was that she never craved the spotlight, she cared deeply about our state and our nation, but she, that isn’t to say that she didn’t care about these issues,” Johnson said. “She cared deeply.”
“I hope that the whole state will appreciate the loss that this represents for South Dakota and for the Rounds family and just keep the family in their prayers,” Thune said.
Jean Rounds had fought sarcoma cancer. Her husband released a statement in which he said “The love of my life is with the Lord. No more treatments. No more pain. Just peace. South Dakota knew her as First Lady. We knew her as wife, daughter, mom and grandma. She was everything to us.”