Community honors the life of Rep. Craig Tieszen

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Family and community members gathered at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center on Monday afternoon to honor State Representative and former Rapid City Chief of Police Craig Tieszen.  

Tieszen died in a kayaking accident in the Cook Islands on Nov. 22. He was trying to save his brother-in-law, Brent Moline, when both men drowned. DETAILS

“Craig looked for the best in people, even when he was seeing them at their worst,” said South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

Tieszen’s death was a shock to the state and to his fellow lawmakers.

“Most of us heard about Craig’s loss on Thanksgiving,” said Daugaard. “For me, it was a reminder to be thankful for our loved ones and for the time we’re given on this earth. Craig Tieszen made the most of his time, and we can all learn from his example. Our state is a better place today because of Craig Tieszen.”

Tieszen graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1971 with a degree in chemical engineering. After that, he served as a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Kenya for 4 years.

At the time of his death, Tieszen was serving his first term in the State House of Representatives, after having served in the State Senate from 2009 to 2016. He served as Senate Majority Whip and as the chairman of the State Senate Judiciary Committee, and most recently served as the chairman of the House Retirement Laws Committee.

For the police force, he served and eventually led from 2000 to 2007. Tieszen was a role model.

“The title of what he really was to try to remember him forever by is peace keeper,” said Karl Jegeris, Rapid City police chief.  “Then I thought about it a little more and realized to Craig, it’s a little more than that. He’s always been a peace seeker.”

To some Rapid City leaders, he was a friend.

“I think we’re all sharing a sense of mourning and remorse that he’s gone, and so it’s a terrible day of the week today, but a very good day for remembering Craig Tieszen,” said Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender.

Tieszen’s family has requested that all donations be made to the Rapid City Club for Boys, where he also served for 35 years.

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