Frank Leroy Farrar (April 2, 1929 – October 31, 2021) was an American politician who was the 24th governor of South Dakota. A Republican from Britton, he served as the state's attorney general from 1963 to 1969, and as governor from 1969 to 1971. After leaving office, he chaired several holding companies and became the owner of numerous banks.[1]

Frank Farrar
24th Governor of South Dakota
In office
January 7, 1969 – January 5, 1971
LieutenantJames Abdnor
Preceded byNils Boe
Succeeded byRichard F. Kneip
22nd Attorney General of South Dakota
In office
January 1963 – January 7, 1969
GovernorArchie M. Gubbrud
Nils Boe
Preceded byAlbert C. Miller
Succeeded byGordon Mydland
Personal details
Frank Leroy Farrar

(1929-04-02)April 2, 1929
Britton, South Dakota, U.S.
DiedOctober 31, 2021(2021-10-31) (aged 92)
Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
(m. 1953; died 2015)
EducationUniversity of South Dakota (BS, LLB)

Early life and education edit

Farrar was born in Britton, South Dakota, the son of Venetia Soule (Taylor) and Virgil W. Farrar.[2] He was an Eagle Scout, student body president and graduated from the local high school in Britton in 1947.[3][4] He earned a B.S. from the University of South Dakota (USD) an LL.B. degree from the USD School of Law.[5] He joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps as a student at USD,[6] and was in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1949 through 1953, and on active duty during the Korean War from 1953 to 1955.[5] He attained the rank of captain by the time he retired from the Army Reserve.[4] He married the former Patricia Henley on June 5, 1953, in Fort Benning, Georgia, where he was stationed in the U.S. Army.[7] Frank and Patricia Farrar raised five children, Jeanne, Sally, Robert, Mary and Anne.[3]

Career edit

After the Korean War ended, Farrar was an Internal Revenue Service Agent until 1957. He was a judge in 1958. Farrar served as State's Attorney for Marshall County from 1959 to 1962. He also served as President of the States Attorneys Association.[8]

On May 22, 1962, Farrar announced that he was running for Attorney General of South Dakota. Sterling Clark, of Belle Fourche, also ran for the Republican nomination for Attorney General.[8] Farrar won the nomination with 96,608 1/2 votes to 57,339 1/2 votes for Clark.[9] Farrar went on to defeat Democrat Thomas E. Poe of Vermillion, South Dakota, in the general election.[10] Poe had replaced Democrat William Day of Winner, South Dakota, who resigned his candidacy for business reasons.[11] At 33 years old at the time, he was the youngest person in the history of South Dakota to be elected as the state's attorney general.[3]

On July 1, 1964, Farrar sought re-nomination as attorney general.[12] He was re-elected with 157,848 votes, defeating Democrat William C. Grady, who received 125,047.[13] In the 1966 general election, Farrar ran against Democrat Robert M. Swanson,[14] and won a third term with 141,734 votes to 79,670 for Swanson. With Farrar's election to a third term, there was much speculation that he would be the heir apparent for Republican Gubernatorial nomination in 1968.[15] In his three two-year terms as the state's attorney general, he focused on crackdowns on drug users and dealers, and much efforts were put into the enforcement of insurance, banking and securities laws.[6]

With his success and popularity through the years as South Dakota's attorney general, Farrar garnered more than 57% of the vote to defeat the Democratic candidate Robert Chamberlin in the 1968 gubernatorial election.[16][17] As governor, he continued his work on reducing drug-related crimes, improving consumer protection and modernizing the state’s regulatory authority over the banking and insurance industries.[6] However, he lost much support when he raised the state sales tax from 3% to 4% and promoted unpopular reforms in the energy sector, which led to him being defeated when running for reelection 2 years later.[4] That was “the only election I lost in my life,” he later remarked in a 2014 interview.[18] As of 2021, this was the last time for an elected, sitting governor of South Dakota to lose re-election.[18]

After his two-year term as governor concluded, Farrar moved back to Britton to practice law.[19] He also became a successful banker later in life, buying, operating and selling a number of local banks in small towns and in rural areas in the Dakotas, Minnesota and as far as Indiana, Montana and New Mexico.[3][20] As a philanthropist, he generously supported various non-profit organizations, such as Scouts, the March of Dimes, and the South Dakota Community Foundation.[18]

Later life edit

Farrar was a licensed aviator who flew to visit the banks he owned,[20] and over the years, he accumulated over 17,000 hours of logged piloting time.[21] He was also an avid athlete, completing the Kona Ironman Competition at age 73, a decade after surviving lymphatic cancer.[21] He held the 9th fastest finishing time in the Coeur D’Alene Ironman in the 70+ Men's division. He completed the 2003 race in 16:48:49.[22] His wife, former First Lady of South Dakota Patricia Farrar, who was also a Senior Olympian, died on October 31, 2015, at the age of 84.[23]

On October 31, 2021, the sixth anniversary of the death of his wife of sixty-two years, Farrar died in Rochester, Minnesota, at age 92.[4] He is survived by his five children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.[24]

Honors and awards edit

References edit

  1. ^ "National Governors Association". Archived from the original on January 9, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
  2. ^ Kallenbach, Joseph Ernest; Kallenbach, Jessamine S. (1977). American State Governors, 1776-1976. Oceana Publications. p. 391. ISBN 978-0-379-00665-0.
  3. ^ a b c d Andrews, John (May–June 2019). "The Ironman Governor". Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d Ellis, Jonathan (October 31, 2021). "Frank Farrar, former South Dakota governor and Republican statesman, dies". Argus Leader. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Frank Leroy Farrar". National Governors Association. January 8, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Venhuizen, Tony. "Governor Frank Leroy Farrar". Trail of Governors Foundation. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  7. ^ "The First Ladies of South Dakota". South Dakota State Historical Society. 1973.
  8. ^ a b Rapid City Journal, May 22, 1962, page 18
  9. ^ The Daily Plainsman, July 17, 1962, page 1
  10. ^ Sioux Falls Argus Leader, October 12, 1962, page 8
  11. ^ The Daily Republic, August 4, 1962, page 10
  12. ^ The Daily Plainsman, July 1, 1964, page 1-2
  13. ^ Deadwood Pioneer-Times, November 4, 1964, page 1
  14. ^ Rapid City Journal, November 4, 1966, page 10
  15. ^ The Daily Republic, November 16, 1966, page 18
  16. ^ Elections (PDF). p. 637. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  17. ^ Alma Larson, Secretary of State, South Dakota (November 5, 1968). "Official Elections Returns by Counties for the State of South Dakota" (PDF). p. 6. Retrieved November 4, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ a b c "Former South Dakota Republican Gov. Frank Farrar dies at 92". AP NEWS. October 31, 2021. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  19. ^ "Governor Frank L. Farrar | Years in Office: 1969-1971" (PDF). South Dakota State Archive. South Dakota State Historical Society. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  20. ^ a b Kennedy, Tony (November 5, 1987). "Farrar Goes From Governorship To Baron of Small Town Banks". AP News. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  21. ^ a b "Meet Frank Farrar, Kona's Last Official Finisher in 2002". Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
  22. ^ "Coeur d'Alene Course Records". Archived from the original on June 10, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
  23. ^ Nelson, Katie (October 31, 2015). "Former S.D. First Lady Pat Farrar dies at 84". Argus Leader. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  24. ^ "Former SD Governor Frank Farrar dies, Gov. Noem orders flags at half-staff". Dakota News Now. October 31, 2021. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  25. ^ a b c d "Legacy - Frank Farrar". South Dakota Hall of Fame. 2006. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  26. ^ "The South Dakota Hall of Fame Honors the Legacy of Frank Farrar". South Dakota Hall of Fame. November 1, 2021. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  27. ^ DeLange, Hanna (October 3, 2018). "Former South Dakota Governor and USD Alumnus Named Dakota Days Grand Marshal". University of South Dakota. Retrieved November 5, 2021.

External links edit

Legal offices
Preceded by Attorney General of South Dakota
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Attorney General of South Dakota
1962, 1964, 1966
Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of South Dakota
1968, 1970
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of South Dakota
Succeeded by