Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Fred Dusek
Fred Dusek

Fred Dusek

Born:  May 30, 1900

Died:  May 23, 1984

Mayoral Dates:  1946-1948 and 1957 to 1961

Mayoral Quip

Fred Dusek served on the Rapid City Common Council from 1936-1947 and was mayor from 1946-1948 under a city manager form of government.  He then spearheaded a drive to change the city's managerial form of government to a mayor-alderman form of municipal government.  He was elected the first mayor to serve under this type of municipal government in 1957.  He and his wife had a furniture business in Rapid City.  Fred devoted fifty-eight years of public service to Rapid City's growth and progress.  He had a deep pride and love of Rapid City and dedicated hours of unselfish service to its causes. 

Biography

Fred Dusek was born in Pleasanton, Nebraska, on May 30, 1900, to James and Barbara (Maulis) Dusek.  Fred was the first child of nine, whose parents immigrated to America from Bohemia.  He was born in a sod house on his parent's homestead five miles from Pleasanton, a small Nebraska farming village where he spent his childhood.  He often told of the many arduous hours he spent walking three blocks to water the trees that homesteaders were requested to plant for a wind belt.

He was educated in rural elementary schools and attended high school in Pleasanton.  He then attended Dwork Business College in Omaha.  He was office manager of Square Turn Tractor Company in Omaha from 1920-1921.  From there, he went to Witten where he was assistant cashier at Farmers State Bank from 1924-1927.  It was in Witten that he first met Viola Struve who was teaching in the Witten High School.  After a storybook romance, they eloped on December 23, 1925, in Chicago.  They kept their marriage secret until coming to Rapid City, as in those times to be a schoolteacher required that one be single.  On February 14, 1927, Fred started working for the Duhamel Company in Rapid City as an accountant.  He first stayed at the Harney Hotel and later took a room at Bud Duhamel's for $14.00 a month.

In 1929, Fred and Viola went into a furniture retail business in a one-room establishment, 25x75 feet, located the first door north of the Harney Hotel on Main and Seventh.  As the business prospered, they moved to various locations in downtown Rapid City until they moved to 919 Main Street.  This building was especially designed by Fred and Viola for a furniture business and many twelve-hour days or longer were spent by them there.  Their firm received numerous national retailing awards culminating in their selection as "National Brand Name Retailer" of the year.  After the closing of their furniture business, they turned the building into office suites. 

Fred served on the Rapid City Common Council from 1936-1947 and was mayor from 1946-1948 under a City Manager form of government.  He then spearheaded a drive to change the city's managerial form of government to a Mayor-Alderman form of municipal government and was elected the first mayor to serve under this type of municipal government, 1957-1961.  

He was a member of the National Retail Furniture Association, member of the Chamber of Commerce, past chairman of the Retailers Commission, director of the Credit Bureau and Rehab Center, past executive ruler of the BPOE, member of the Cosmopolitan Club, UCT, Izaak Walton League and Arrowhead County Club.  He was the first to receive the All-American Award in central west and awarded second prize in the Brand Name Realtor of the Year in 1954.  His hobby included traveling. 

Fred, until his death, had devoted fifty-eight years of public service to Rapid City's growth and continuous progress.  He had a deep pride and love of Rapid City and dedicated hours of unselfish service to it causes.  At the time of his death, the Sioux Indian tribe honored him by placing in his hands the feather from the eagle that was to carry him swiftly and safely on his next journey and placed over him their Morning Star quilt to light his way.  They asked the Father to grant him the chance to receive his reward for all his goodness and kindness and his example of humble giving, compassion and understanding to mankind.

Related items

  • Funds Approved For Deadwood History and Information Center Revamp

    Deadwood’s History and Information Center, located at 3 Siever St., will soon be home to an updated exhibit space as the City Commission approved $180,000…
  • USS South Dakota Commissioning Set For February

    The United States Navy’s newest fast-attack submarine, the USS South Dakota (SSN 790), will be commissioned at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut…
  • Western Heritage Center Receives Land Donation

    North Park Plaza, LLC recently made a donation of 9.5 acres of land to the High Plains Western Heritage Center in Spearfish, reports the Black…

525 University Loop, Suite 202
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 716-0058   [email protected]