PIERRE, S.D. — Hundreds of mourners filed past a flag-draped coffin in the state Capitol building Tuesday to pay their respects to former South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow, the first arriving before dawn.
Many bowed their heads for a moment as they passed the coffin in the rotunda, just a just a few feet from the office Janklow occupied for 16 years. A pianist played a variety of tunes, including the Beatles' "Yesterday."
Judy Fott, 68, drove 100 miles with her 70-year-old husband, Joe, from their home in Hamill to get to Pierre before 7 a.m. They met Janklow when they had hunters on their land for the annual pheasant hunt hosted by the governor.
"If you were walking down the street, he'd call you by name," Judy Fott said. "We are not special people. We are farmers, but we were friends with him."
Janklow, who served four terms as governor but resigned as South Dakota's lone congressman after causing a fatal traffic accident, died Thursday of cancer at the age of 72.
His coffin was brought into the Capitol on Monday night, when about 100 of his closest friends gathered to pay their respects.
On Tuesday, two state troopers and two South Dakota National Guard officers stood as honor guards near the coffin, draped with a U.S. flag. A red U.S. Marine Corps flag and a Chicago Bears banner hung from balconies overlooking the rotunda, signifying Janklow's military service and his devotion to the football team.
Janklow's body was to lie in state until 11 a.m., with a memorial service to follow in the Capitol. A motorcade carrying the coffin was to travel the 230 miles from Pierre to Sioux Falls later Tuesday. Visitation was to begin at 6 p.m. at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, followed by a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. The church also is the site of Wednesday's 10:30 a.m. funeral.
Randy Baloun, 58, and his wife LeAnn, 56, traveled 50 miles early Tuesday to pay their respects to Janklow, who did legal work for their farm and ranch near Highmore. They knew him for just two years.
"He was just a marvelous man," Randy Baloun said. "We came here to say our last goodbye to him."
Carrie Mikkonen, 63, of Pierre, cried quietly as she walked past Janklow's coffin, noting that her husband died more than a decade ago of the same kind of brain cancer that struck Janklow.
Mikkonen said she was not surprised that Janklow underwent experimental treatments in the past two months. "It's typical Janklow — going to fight to the end," she said.
Former state lawmaker Steve Cutler, 63, also cried as he remembered Janklow — not only as a forceful governor but also as a compassionate man who quietly helped people who had financial problems or other trouble. He said Janklow once bought a power lift so a woman could care for her disabled husband at home.
"I came because I loved him. He did so many great things people never knew about," said Cutler, who worked with Janklow when Cutler was in the South Dakota House from 1985 to 2000.
As Gov. Dennis Daugaard watched people file though the Capitol, he said Janklow did things decades ago that are still having an impact on South Dakota. For example, Janklow saved rail service and attracted credit-card banks to the state in the early 1980s, he said.
The current governor said Janklow taught him to do what he thinks is right without worrying about what others would think. And, Janklow challenged the belief among some residents that a small state can't accomplish much, he said.
"I think one thing South Dakota will always remember about Bill Janklow is how he helped us believe in ourselves," Daugaard said.
Associated Press writers Kristi Eaton and Veronica Zaragovia contributed to this report from Pierre.