USD Memorial Service Celebrates The Life of Colette Abbott

May 9, 2016

University of South Dakota First Lady Colette Abbott. The wife of USD President James Abbott was celebrated with an on-campus memorial service on Monday, May 9, 2016.

The life of University of South Dakota First Lady Colette Abbott was celebrated today/Monday on the USD campus. 

Aalfs Auditorium at U-S-D’s Slagle Hall was filled nearly to capacity to honor Colette Abbott.  Visitors saw hundreds of photographs of her life—from early photos with her twin sister, to waving in Dakota Days’ parades, to posing with leaders like George McGovern and Tom Daschle.   The Abbott’s eldest daughter, Sarah, represented the family, and discussed her mother’s influence on nearly everyone around her.

Sarah Abbott Agne said of her mother, “She shaped the women we’ve become by being an example of what a truly classy woman is.  She had a lust for life that was unstoppable.  She made us feel like she could conquer the world.  She is our hero. 

"In an e-mail to my father, her dear friend Jamie Kay said, ‘We never parted saying goodbye, ‘cause it sounded sad.  It was always, see you soon.’    And we will.  We miss you so much, Mom—and we will love you forever, and ever.”

The service ended with a tribute to Abbott’s passion for Coyote Athletics, as U-S-D College of Fine Arts Dean Larry Schou played the university fight song. 

Abbott died suddenly last Wednesday at age 59.