Mitchell mourns loss of home-town legend - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Mitchell mourns loss of home-town legend

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For the community of Mitchell, the loss of Senator McGovern hits close to home.

McGovern spent much of his life in Mitchell and was deeply involved in the community.   

"We really consider him a part of our family. He grew up in Mitchell and attended University right here at Dakota Wesleyan," said McGovern Center Director Donald C. Simmons.  

"He means a lot for Mitchell, he grew up here, his father was a pastor here from what I here from history.  He went to college here and taught here at Dakota Wesleyan University," said Mitchell resident Jan Quenzer.   

After teaching at Dakota Wesleyan, McGovern began his political career.  Throughout all his travels and work in Washington, McGovern always considered Mitchell his home. 

He kept a residence in Mitchell right outside his office in the McGovern Center on DWU's campus.   

But he did more than just keep a residence in Mitchell, he was also a big part of the community.   

"He was here, he was part of the community," said Quenzer. 

Quenzer said she had just spoke with the former senator two weeks ago at one of his grandson's events.  

"We'd see senator George at the grocery store, at coffee shops, at the United Methodist Church where I attended, we'd see him at the corn palace concerts," said Quenzer. 

Hank Kor is now retired, but he was the senator's pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Mitchell.  He even officiated over McGovern's wife, Eleanor's funeral service.  

Kor said the McGovern's would always invite him and his wife over for dinner or out to football games and other events.   

"He would be just out and about with people; you'd always see him walking his dog," said Kor. 

Those who knew him said throughout his remarkable political career, people were always McGovern's biggest passion.  

"To me knowing Senator McGovern was like knowing the ultimate statesmen," said Quenzer. 

"A lot of people disagreed with his politics but he was still an icon for this community and one who was known world wide for his compassion and love for people," said Kor.  

"It's just an honor for Mitchell to say that this was Senator George's home," Quenzer said.

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