Lorna Herseth

Lorna Buntrock Herseth (April 5, 1909 – September 8, 1994) was the Secretary of State of South Dakota from 1972 to 1978.

Personal lifeEdit

Herseth was born in Columbia, South Dakota on April 5, 1909.[1][2] Her parents, Albert and Ida Yeske Buntrock, were German immigrants.[3] She was the youngest of 11 children.[3] Herseth attended Northern State Teacher's College and earned a teaching credential after two years of study.[4][2]

She married Ralph Herseth, who served as Governor of South Dakota from 1959 to 1961, on December 23, 1937.[1][2] They had dated for nine years prior to getting married.[4] Together they had three children, Karen, Connie, and Ralph Lars.[2]

Their son, Ralph Lars Herseth, served in the South Dakota State Legislature.[1] Their granddaughter, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, served in the United States House of Representatives.[1] Herseth served as mentor to Sandlin.[4] During her life, Herseth lived in Houghton, South Dakota and in Pierre, South Dakota.[1][2] She was a Lutheran.[1] She died on September 8, 1994 and was buried in Houghton Cemetery.[1]


After college, Herseth taught in the Brown County public schools as well as in urban schools.[2][4] In 1936, Herseth was elected as Brown County Superintendent of Schools.[5][4][2] For seven years, she served on Brown County's Reorganization School Board.[2] She later served on the Selby School Board.[2]

Four years after Ralph's death, activists approached Herseth about running for state office herself.[4] She twice was elected Secretary of State of South Dakota, and served from 1973–1979.[5]

Public serviceEdit

Herseth served on the board of directors for the Brown County Red Cross and as the state director of the Easter Seal Society for Crippled Children and Adults.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Herseth, Lorna B. (1909-1994)". Political Graveyard. August 19, 2019. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "The First Ladies of South Dakota" (PDF). South Dakota State Historical Society. 1973. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Calendar marks celebration of 100 years of Buntrocks". Argus-Leader. Sioux Falls, South Dakota. June 13, 1987. p. 5 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Adams, Katherine H. (July 1, 2019). Claiming Her Place in Congress: Women from American Political Families as Legislators. McFarland. p. 150. ISBN 978-1-4766-3717-4. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Legacy of Achievement: Hall of Fame Inductee Stephanie". South Dakota Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 19, 2020.