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Richard L. Benda, age 59, of Sioux Falls, SD, formerly Watertown, SD, passed away on Sunday, October 20, 2013, in rural Lake Andes, SD. Funeral services will be at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Watertown. The celebrant will be Fr. Paul Rutten. Music will be provided by Brian Ries, organist, and the Immaculate Conception Church Choir.
Burial will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Watertown. Pallbearers will be: Dave Anderson, Jim Johanneson, Jim Feeney, Jim Berringer, and Rick Gough.
Visitation will be at the Crawford Funeral Chapel in Watertown on Monday from 4 to 7 p.m. and at the church on Tuesday prior to the services.
Memorials may be directed to the Claire Benda Educational Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank.
Richard was born on February 18, 1954, at Kimball, SD, to Elmer and Eunice (Thompson) Benda. He graduated from the University of SD in December of 1978. He was employed by the SD Department of Revenue from 1979-1981, the SD Public Utilities Commission from 1981-1982, Bureau of Administration for SD from 1982-1989, and Schenectady Economic Development Corporation, Schenectady, NY from 1989-1998. On May 23, 1992, Richard married Cathy Rice at Aberdeen, SD. Richard and Cathy returned to South Dakota and he worked for the Governor's Office of Economic Development from 1998-2001. The couple then moved to Watertown and Richard was president of Focus Watertown from 2001-2006. He was hired by Governor Rounds as Cabinet Secretary of SD Department of Tourism and State Development from 2006-2010. Richard moved to Aberdeen and worked with Northern Beef Packers. He then moved to Sioux Falls and in April he started working for Lloyd Companies as Development Director and Loan Administrator. In September, Richard was named the Economic Development Director for Heartland Consumers Power District in Madison, SD.
Richard had a love of learning. He always needed to know the how and the why be it in his personal life or his professional life. A round of golf or convincing a company to take a chance on SD, he gave 110 percent. He had a never ending thirst for knowledge. He loved traveling especially when he could share it with his daughter, Claire. They shared a love of horses and Country Western music.
Richard is survived by his daughter, Claire, of Watertown, SD; three brothers: Leroy (Mary) Benda of Lyons, OR, Harlan (Ruth) Benda of Hayward in, IA, and Eldon Benda of California; and three sisters: Carol (Jim) Johanneson of Lake Andes, SD, Dorothy (James) Hallman of Kimball, SD, and Lois Benda of Palm Desert, CA.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Robert and Melvin.
Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel LLC
1311 Fourth Street NE
Watertown, SD 57201
Published in The Argus Leader on Oct. 26, 2013