Faces in the Crowd: Dick Brown
Dick Brown has worn a number of hats throughout his life, including public service leader, conservationist and volunteer. He is being inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame for his contributions to South Dakota.
Looking at photos and newspaper clippings from throughout the years is just the tip of the iceberg of insight into the experiences of Dick Brown’s life.
He comes from a long line of history makers- who inspired his life of public service, notably outdoor education and conservation.
Brown says, “My whole life has been involved in the outdoors. My father was very much involved as a leading conservationist back in the 50s and 60s- getting public land so he can have access for hunting and fishing and hiking and camping and those kinds of things, as a volunteer. And my mother was the same way, was involved in a lot of different activities. So it’s a part of individual leadership outside of one’s occupation was something that was just pretty common in our background.”
A native of Dell Rapids and USD Political Science alumnus, Dick left for Washington, D.C. in 1967 for doctoral studies and to work for U.S. Senator Karl Mundt. He then went on to lead the ten-state Missouri River Basin Commission in Omaha. In 1979, he returned to South Dakota where his impact has been felt statewide with involvement in the state legislature, charitable organizations and outdoor recreation. And for those efforts, he is being recognized. He says it all boils down to leading a life of service.
“I’m really humbled and appreciate the recognition by the Board of Directors of the South Dakota Hall of Fame for the things that I’ve been involved in. It’s an affirmation of thinking of sort of that life is bigger than just yourself and there are a lot of other things that are going on that you can be helpful – maybe you can make a positive difference,” says Brown.
Dick and his wife, Sue, live on 20 acres of land in the Black Hills of Custer. He admits they have tried to retire a few times, but the just can’t give up the philanthropist lifestyle. Dick says that mentors are an important part of his success along with support from those closest to him.
“The most important thing in life is family, community, and to think about how you can make a difference in the lives of others in a positive sort of way.”