PIERRE, S.D. (AP/KCAU) — The father of U.S. Sen. John Thune, a man he describes as his hero, has died at age 100.
Harold Thune, a World War II veteran, educator, and lifelong South Dakota resident, died Saturday, according to the senator.
The elder Thune grew up in Murdo, where his family worked in a hardware store business.
He played basketball at the University of Minnesota and earned most valuable player honors in 1942, the year he graduated and joined the Navy.
Following the war, Thune returned to Murdo. He began a teaching and coaching career in 1963.
Thune and his wife Pat, who died in 2012, had five children, including the senator.
To read the full statement from Senator Thune, see below.
“My dad was the embodiment of the American Dream. He was a small-town South Dakota kid who worked hard and valued God, family, and country. He lived a life of purpose that imparted a set of values on me and my siblings that I’ve always tried to embody and pass on to my kids and grandkids. And as a kid himself, he answered our nation’s call to defend freedom and help free the world from tyranny and oppression during World War II. He was my hero.
“One of the greatest treasures my dad gave me was the appreciation for being part of a team, no matter what station in life I’ve found myself – in sports, in politics, in governing, and, most importantly, in being part of a family. He’d always talk about making the pass, finding your teammate, making the team better. Whether we were on the basketball court, sitting around the kitchen table, or in the halls of Congress, his advice always made sense – now more than ever.
“This hurts, and I’m going to miss him, but I can’t help but smile knowing he’s been reunited with my mom, the love of his life. I’ll miss you, dad, but thank you for making me a better person, a better father, and a better citizen of this country you helped defend.”From U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD)