Remembering Gene Abdallah

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The funeral for long-time South Dakota public servant Gene Abdallah was held Monday at St. Mary Church in Sioux Falls.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem as well as other state officials were in attendance to pay their respects.

Gene Abdallah leaves behind a long list of accomplishments, and is remembered as a friend, a father, and a colleague, hundreds gathering at his funeral to celebrate his life.

"Gene was a great man in the state, he had a great heart and was an institution in this state," former Sioux Falls Police Chief, Doug Barthel said.

Abdallah served for decades in law enforcement.

"What I remember most about him is his heart for the troopers, and how he always took care of them," South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said.

Abdallah also served as a lawmaker in both chambers of the legislature in Pierre.

"That's where I had the real opportunity to work with Gene," former South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said. "The many pieces of legislation that people will never know about, the good things that he did, the wonderful personality that he had."

Many say his straight forward approach generated respect in the state capital.

"I think that's what most people appreciated about Gene," Noem said. "He was unfiltered, he said exactly what he thought, you knew exactly where he stood on every issue."

His life, leaving a lasting impact on those around him. Those who knew Abdallah say he made the world a better and safer place.

Gene was also a charitable man.

He founded Sioux Falls Cares, an organization that provides Christmas gifts to children who otherwise would not receive presents.

He also started the Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner, an event that has raised million of dollars for local children's charities.

Hall of Fame Quarterback Brett Favre is set to headline this year's Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner. The event will be held this Wednesday in memory of Gene.

Abdallah was 83 years old.