PIERRE, S.D. – Governor Kristi Noem has ordered flags at the South Dakota State Capitol to be flown at half-staff from 8 a.m. until sunset on Saturday, February 8, 2020, to honor the life of Bernie Christenson, a former state leader and legislator. She stated that Christenson was a dedicated public worker, serving 20 years in the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, where he worked as a special agent, training coordinator, and assistant director. Under Governor Richard F. Kneip, Christenson helped create the South Dakota Retirement System, later serving as chairman of its board of trustees. Christenson served in the South Dakota State House of Representatives from 1985 to 1987. In 1987, at the request of Governor George S. Mickelson, he resigned from the legislature to serve as the founding executive director of the South Dakota Community Foundation, a role he held until his retirement in 2003. Christenson also served for years as a part-time state pilot, flying with every governor since Frank Farrar.
A memorial service for Christenson will be held at 10:30 a.m. on February 8 at First United Methodist Church in Pierre.