Senator John Thune
Many people have heard me tell stories about my father, Harold. Hal, as we sometimes refer to him, but better known to me as Dad, has been the head of the Thune home for a long time—so our family has lots of good stories and fond memories. From time to time, I reflect back on the lessons he taught us growing up in our small town of Murdo, the values he instilled, and the character he displayed. But some of my favorite memories have been those we’ve shared since I left the Thune family home.
At 94, Dad still makes it out on an occasional basis to the Murdo golf course. He hits it straight as a string but still complains about not getting enough distance off the tee. Needless to say, his competitive spirit and drive to stay active motivates me to stay in shape and take care of myself. Dad has participated through the years in some great South Dakota pheasant hunts with my brothers, nephews, and friends. At the end of a long day in the field, we would get him to share stories from his youth about a time when life was simpler. And of course it is always great to watch basketball with Dad, who is a former University of Minnesota basketball player and South Dakota Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. His historical knowledge, intuition, and basketball IQ put most of my brothers to shame.
But I think that some of my favorite memories of Dad are those in his role as grandpa. Both of our daughters share a special bond with Grandpa Thune. He always enjoyed supporting them in whatever activities with which they were involved, and they appreciated his encouragement and example of integrity. As they’ve gotten older and now married, the value of his wisdom has become even more apparent in their lives.
Father’s Day becomes a little more special each year as I spend time with my daughters and celebrate Dad and all he has taught me. This Father’s Day we recognize the dads across South Dakota and throughout the country whose support, encouragement, and at times tough love leave a lasting mark of joy in our lives. I wish a very happy Father’s Day to my dad, Harold, my father-in-law, Jim, and to all the fathers across South Dakota.