Daniel C. Schenk
Dan Schenk,79, of Ft. Pierre died on Wednesday, September 7th, at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls. A Masonic Service will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, September 22nd, at Isburg Funeral Chapel in Pierre. For those unable to attend the services they will be live streamed on his obituary page at www.isburgfuneralchapels.com.
It came upon a midnight clear, on Christmas day, 1942. The legend Daniel Schenk was born to Daniel W. Schenk and Mary Smith Schenk in Pierre, South Dakota. He grew up in Rapid City, Pickstown, Yankton, and Massachusetts, but is still welcome in most other parts of the country. At the age of five, Dan was the first Pierre child to have polio and was sent to Hot Springs for treatment. Thankfully, Dan grew into a gregarious young man, and he honed his storytelling skills to a high degree as he matured. He learned how to sell clothing at Hanny’s Men’s Wear in Yankton, worked as a postal worker, was employed in various construction jobs, and was an occasional bartender. He had a gift for talking his way into trouble that was not matched by his ability to talk his way out. So it was that Dan found himself overseas in the loving care of the U.S. Army during Vietnam’s Tet Offensive, assigned to one of his favorite oxymorons, military intelligence.
Dan emerged from the service in better shape than many of his contemporaries, and immediately set about making up for lost time. He did a little rodeo riding and obtained his BA in government studies at USD. Somewhere along the way, he met a lovely young college student named Rebecca that would forever change the course of Dan’s life. After only two months together, they were married on October 4th, 1969 [10-4 Good Buddy]. Shortly thereafter, Dan and Becky relocated to the seat of government in South Dakota. At last, he was right back where he started.
Dan was hired and helped form the Unified Judicial System, managing clerks of court and serving in various capacities as personnel officer and sometimes as court administrator under a series of chief justices. His unique character made him well respected among all his co-workers.
Dan loved Becky more than the rodeo opportunities, so Dan decided to join the Pierre Polo Club, enjoying the sport of kings along with Bud Tyler, Jim Forney, and other skilled horsemen. The longest running polo club in the country at the time, the Pierre club hosted international teams and was highly regarded. At length, however, Dan got tired of turning money into fertilizer and sadly retired his remaining ponies. He then limited his livestock holdings to a series of truly memorable dogs with reservation bloodlines, named after many of his closest friends.
Dan co-founded the High Plains Dump Runners Association. Members drove to the local landfill on Saturday mornings to appraise the goods that were being offloaded, and would proudly bring home building materials, gadgets, obsolete periodicals, and recycled gifts for friends. Furthermore, he presided over Saturday morning breakfast at Perkins restaurant and opened his lovely log cabin on Hanna Road to guests such as De Noses, The Black Hills Boys Club, and friends from near and far. He was a man of the world who took great delight in discussing world and domestic politics.
Dan and Becky traveled extensively across most of Europe and Asia. They developed many friends and professional connections around the globe. Obviously, Dan and Becky were the perfect couple to host international travelers while visiting South Dakota. The German Marshall Plan was searching for a Midwest contact to acquaint the best and brightest of Europe with the real USA. Dan and Becky would host groups that came over to experience the American way of life. Dan had found his happy place, and the Europeans had no idea what they were in for. Dan made sure their visits were memorable, served up a generous portion of his own brand of wry humor, and enjoyed lasting friendships with people of many lands and beliefs.
At age 79, Dan just seemed to be hitting his stride. He had a shiny red pickup truck, a life partner who still thought he could walk on water, many true friends, and a dog whose company he enjoyed. Dan assured his friends as he boarded the Care Flight plane on September 7, 2022, that he was not going to die. However, Dan’s time ran out unexpectedly later that evening leaving a hole in the fabric of life that is keenly felt.
He is survived by Becky, his wife of 52.9 years, Dog Charlie, Sister Cate Thompson, Brothers-In-Law Tim and Tom Burns, Sister-In-Law Jeanne Schrier, and many other much-loved nieces and nephews. Dan is preceded in death by his parents and numerous dogs which he greatly adored and appreciated their unconditional love.
The family is thankful for everyone’s kindness and requests memorials be directed to Pierre Paws Animal Rescue or the Pierre Rawlins Library.
The final words are most appropriately said by his best friends…”woof woof, bark bark.”