Randy Stuefen is also a St. Mary's alumnus and was a senior when I was a freshman at Elkton High School.
As many young Elkton men did he went into the US Air Force after graduation during the Vietnam era then returned home to enroll at South Dakota State University on the GI Bill. In those days returning service members brought Sansui and Pioneer stereo equipment back to the States. He turned me on to Mason Proffit, Commander Cody, Dr. Hook, Thai stick, Panama Red and Michoacán.
Around 1972 he and his brother, my boyhood friend Roger, left their folks' house and rented a space in the Hawrysh Apartments in Brookings and I moved to Minneapolis for a year. Roger dropped out during his first semester at SDSU right after their mother died and moved to Mitchell for technical school. In '73 Randy introduced me to Mark (Spiro) Speirs, Paul Anderson and Gary (Hairy) Ellingson when they lived in the Sugar Shack near downtown Brookings after I enrolled at SDSU.
When Paul got married in the mid-80s Spiro, Art Young and i enlisted Spearditch pilot Mark Farrier to fly us to Madison for the wedding and during our return flight a tornadic thunderstorm forced us to land at the Pierre Airport. By sheer coincidence as we were walking out to get something to eat Randy and his wife, Betty just happened to be driving by, took us to dinner then put us up for the night.
After graduate school Randy moved to Vermillion, joined the University of South Dakota faculty then developed a theory of South Dakota’s dual rural and urban economies. Last we met was at the Bay Leaf Cafe in Spearditch somewhere around 1997.
Stuefen joined SD Governor Denny Daugaard's Council of Economic Advisers in 2012 and was just succeeded by former SDSU president David Chicoine.
Randy must be exceedingly disappointed he's leaving while South Dakota’s economy is in the shitter.
Previously posted at The Dakota Progressive.