William F. Day Jr., age 87 of Spearfish, died Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 at the Belle Fourche Regional Healthcare Center.
Services were held 1 pm Saturday, Jan. 6 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Winner, SD. Interment was held 10 a.m. Monday Jan 8, at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, with military honors presented by the Belle Fourche Veterans Honor Guard. Memorials are preferred to the SD Bar Foundation. Friends may leave written condolences and view a video tribute at: www.funeralhomeofthenorthernhills.com
William Frank Day, Jr., age 87, was born Sept. 22, 1930 in White River, SD to William and Pearl (Coash) Day. As a young man Bill excelled in many sports, especially boxing. He was a Gold Gloves champion in several states. Many said that Bill was the fastest “slap hands” player there ever was. Bill attended several different high schools and graduated from Rapid City High School in 1948. He attended the University of South Dakota and entered the United States Army under the ROTC program at USD. Bill received his basic training in Fort Benning, GA and received the rank of Second Lieutenant. During his first stint of military service, the Army sent Bill to a communications school in Georgia. Thereafter, Bill and Major Burke prepared a two hour lecture entitled “Communications in Small Unit Operations.” Bill and Major Burke presented a lecture tour in every major city in eight western states. Upon his discharge, Bill attended the University of South Dakota School of Law. While at USD, Bill joined the Delta Tau Delta and Phi Delta Phi fraternities. During law school, Bill’s plans were suddenly interrupted when he received a Reserved Commission grade of First Lieutenant on March 2, 1955, and was back in the military. He subsequently received his L.L.B. Degree (replaced by J.D. Degree) from the Law School in 1956. Bill married Donna Mae Hansen on Sept. 4, 1955. After Bill and Donna both obtained their degrees from USD, they moved to Winner, SD so that Bill could begin his law practice and Donna could teach elementary school. To this union two children were born: Michael William and Lori Ann. Once again Bill’s plans were changed, and his law practice was interrupted when he was called to active military service due to the Berlin crisis. Bill received a Reserved Commission grade of Captain on Feb. 16, 1962, and took his wife and young family to Fort Riley, Kansas. Bill was honorably discharged on Aug. 10, 1962. Also during 1962 Bill was selected as the Democratic candidate for Attorney General, but later declined the nomination. After his military service, Bill returned to the practice of law in Winner and did so with distinction for 33 years. While in Winner, Bill served as State’s Attorney for Tripp and Todd Counties from 1958-1961, and as City Attorney for Winner in 1958, 1961, 1963, and 1968. Bill was appointed by Governor Archie Gubbrud to a post on the State Police Civil Service Commission.
On Sept. 14, 1964, President Cato Valandra of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe appointed Bill to the office of Judge of the Sioux Tribal Court of Rosebud, where he served until 1971. Bill had a general law practice but excelled in trial work, both civil and criminal. Bill credited the late George Johnson for many of his early successes as a lawyer. He practiced law in Winner with Mick Grossenburg for many years until 1989 when he joined the firm of Lynn, Jackson, Shultz & Lebrun, P.C. While with Lynn Jackson, Bill’s primary focus was litigation and mediation. Bill retired from the practice of law in 2005 at which time he and Donna moved to Spearfish, SD so that they could be closer to their grandchildren and their beloved cabin and friends located in Mystic Valley. Bill and Donna loved traveling and were wonderful dancers. They enjoyed summers at the cabin with their many close friends and family. Throughout his career, Bill was active in various associations devoted to the public welfare and the legal profession. Bill held a special place in his heart for the Children’s Care Hospital and School and Children’s Care Foundation. Bill spent 26 years on these boards, as well as serving as Board President from 1985 to 1986 and Chairman of the Children’s Care Foundation from 2003 to 2005. Bill also served as the first Legal Aid-Civil Legal Services Coordinator for the State Bar of South Dakota. Bill served as President of the South Dakota Junior Bar Association from 1962-1963, was President of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Bar Association, and was President of the South Dakota State Bar from 1974-1975. Bill also served as a Commissioner on the Judicial Qualifications Commission, served as Chairman of the Task Force on Professionalism Committee and was Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990. Bill served as President of the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association from 1969 to 1970. He was also the proud recipient of the prestigious McKusick Award and in 2003 was honored as the South Dakota Trial Lawyer of the Year. Bill was a long time member of the American Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, State Bar of South Dakota, Rosebud Bar, Jackrabbit Bar, American Judicature Society, South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association, American College of Trial Lawyers, American Board of Trial Advocates, International Academy of Trial Lawyers, American Counsel Association, and a Fellow in the International Society of Barristers. Bill also had a great deal of experience practicing law in tribal courts and was a member of the Sicangu Oyate Bar Association, Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court, Lower Brule Sioux Tribal Court, Crow Creek Tribal Court and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribal Court. Bill also had the privilege of arguing before the United States Supreme Court. Bill was an active member of the Episcopal Church, Masonic Lodge, Shriners, American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, and Elks.
Happy to have shared his life and love are son and daughter-in law Michael and Mary Srstka Day of Belle Fourche, daughter Lori Day of Sioux Falls, his beloved “three Catholic granddaughters” Katie Weitzel and husband Derek Weitzel of Omaha, NE, Allie Day and fiancé Jason Braning of Belle Fourche, and Liz Day of Saint Joseph, MN. He is survived by great grandchildren Jackson and Madison Braning of Belle Fourche. He is also survived by brother and sister-in-law Jack and Mary Ann Day of Winner, sister and brother-in-law Judy and Ray Bartels of Winner, sister-in-law Marvel Hansen of Sioux Falls, brother-in-law and sister-in-law Larry and Carol Hansen of Cape Coral, FL and many cousins, nieces, nephews and many special friends.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, and wife of 57 years, Donna. Bill loved lawyers, his family and friends and they loved him. Bill was one of a kind, and may God bless the life and memory of Bill Day.