Rep. Craig Tieszen, a Republican from South Dakota, passed away while on vacation in the Cook Islands, reported the Rapid City Journal. Teiszen was a State Representative and the former Rapid City Police Chief.
Tieszen reportedly died while trying to help his brother-in-law, Brent Moline, 61. Moline’s kayak had capsized off the island of Rarotonga, outside the reef in Avana Harbour.
According to authorities, both men drowned. Tieszen was 68.
This was Tieszen’s first term representing District 34 in the State House of Representatives. He served in the State Senate from 2009 to 2016.
Before his time in the state government, Tieszen had a long career with the Rapid City Police Department. He served with the department from 1975 to 2007, serving as Police Chief from 2000 to 2007.
On Thursday afternoon, after news of Tieszen’s passing spread to South Dakota, condolences flooded onto social media.
“Craig Tieszen was a good man and a dedicated public servant, and his loss is very sad,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard in a statement emailed to the Rapid City Journal. “Craig Tieszen spent his life serving the public. He was a thoughtful and conscientious legislator and a leader on criminal justice issues. More importantly, he was a true gentleman who was respected by all who knew him. Linda and I offer our deepest sympathies to the Tieszen and Moline families during this difficult time.”
Gov. Daugaard will order the flags be flown at half-staff on the day of his funeral, which has yet to be determined.
Mayor Steve Allender said he a statement he was "heartbroken" the news of Tieszen's passing. Allender also said the Tieszen family traveled to the Cook Islands last week for their daughter Leslie's wedding.
"Craig, former police chief and current state representative, was a mentor and a friend," Allender said. "I have never met anyone so likable, so professional, and so dedicated to public service. We extend our personal sympathies and the condolences of the community to the Tieszen family."
Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris called Tieszen a "humble public servant," and said he will "always remember him as a pillar of our community."
"His service will continue to impact Rapid City and this state for years," Jegeris said on Thursday.
Please pray for this family as they mourn the loss of a very good man. In other news, a music pioneer just passed away at the ripe old age of 98.