2008 Inductee Clint Roberts Dies

Read Clint’s South Dakota Hall of Fame Biography at this Link on the Champions for Excellence Network.

Daily Republic PIERRE — Former U.S. Rep. and Presho native Clint Roberts, affectionately known as the “Marlboro Man,” died Sunday night, leaving behind a long list of political accomplishments and interesting stories.

Roberts, 82, served as one of South Dakota’s delegates in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 to 1983 after serving years in the South Dakota Senate, where he rose to the ranks of assistant minority leader and president pro tempore. Roberts, who was known as the “Marlboro Man” for once auditioning to be in a cigarette commercial, led a life as an actor prior to his political aspirations were fully realized.

The mustachioed Lyman County native was recognized Monday morning by South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who requested all flags in the state fly at half-staff on Friday, the day of Roberts’ funeral in Pierre. Roberts will be buried at the Presho Cemetery.

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Congressman Clint Roberts,” Daugaard said in a statement Monday. “Throughout his years in the Legislature, in Congress and in state government, Clint brought good humor and common sense to his work. Clint and his family are good friends, and Linda and I extend our thoughts and prayers to Clint’s family.”

U.S. Sen. John Thune, a native of neighboring Jones County, joined Daugaard in recognizing Roberts’ contributions to the state.

“South Dakota lost one of its favorite cowboys,” Thune wrote on Twitter.

Roberts, who also served as South Dakota’s secretary of agriculture for two years, was part of the famed “Lyman County Mafia” that dominated state politics for years within the state.According to a piece written by Lyman County attorney Herb Sundall in 2013, Roberts was one of the many county natives to see success in the political arena despite its relatively small population, earning the group its endearing namesake.

“Someone once asked what Lyman County’s main crops are,” Sundall wrote. “The answer is winter wheat, milo, cattle and politicians, and not necessarily in that order.”

Following a long-lasting political career, matched by curious turns in films television commercials, like a Schlitz beer ads, Roberts was inducted to the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2008.

When he was inducted into the state Hall of Fame, Roberts told The Daily Republic his work to develop conservation reserve enhancement programs in the state was one of his most valued contributions to his native South Dakota.

And Roberts remained humble when receiving the statewide recognition.

“I knew a lot of people who were honored in the Hall of Fame,” Roberts said in 2008. “It is a pretty nice honor to be considered along with the rest of the great people in there.”

Shortly after the announcement, the South Dakota Republican Party offered its condolences to the Roberts family.

“Congressman Clint Roberts was the definition of a South Dakota Statesman,” said S.D. GOP Chairman Dan Lederman. “The Roberts family has given much to our Republican Party in South Dakota and they are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Roberts’ funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church in Pierre, and prayers will be held after his burial at the Presho Methodist Church.”I knew a lot of people who were honored in the Hall of Fame,” Roberts said in 2008. “It is a pretty nice honor to be considered along with the rest of the great people in there.”

Shortly after the announcement, the South Dakota Republican Party offered its condolences to the Roberts family.

“Congressman Clint Roberts was the definition of a South Dakota Statesman,” said S.D. GOP Chairman Dan Lederman. “The Roberts family has given much to our Republican Party in South Dakota and they are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Roberts’ funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church in Pierre, and prayers will be held after his burial at the Presho Methodist Church.

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