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Senator Rounds' wife, Jean, dies from cancer

Mike and Jean 2006.jpg
Office of Sen. Mike Rounds
Mike and Jean Rounds in 2006.

Jean Rounds, the wife of U.S. Senator Mike Rounds, has died.

The former first lady had been battling cancer since 2019.

Jean Rounds had an aggressive form of sarcoma, which was near her sciatic nerve.

“The love of my life is with the Lord. No more treatments. No more pain. Just peace," Rounds said in a statement. "South Dakota knew her as First Lady. We knew her as wife, daughter, mom and grandma. She was everything to us. The prayers and support we received throughout this battle were powerful and made a difference. We ask for your continued prayer as we remember her life and grieve together as a family.”

Jean received her cancer treatment at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In February 2020, when Senator Rounds announced his bid for re-election, the family was optimistic about Jean's prognosis.

However, in September last year, doctors found another tumor after she was experiencing leg pain.

Former Governor Dennis Daugaard was lieutenant governor when Rounds was governor.

"She was always a steadfast supporter of Mike," Daugaard said. "Also, a very attentive mother and grandmother. But we, Linda and I, sure enjoyed her company. We were shocked. We knew she was doing poorly, but were shocked when we heard the news today. We surely are sorry and send our best to Mike and the family."

Daugaard said Jean was instrumental in recent Governor's Mansion renovations.

Jean died in hospice care at the couple's home in Fort Pierre. She was 65.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.