I Buried My Friend, The Sage Of Menlo Park Today [OPINION]
I buried my friend Bob Sivertson, the Sage of Menlo Park, today (September 19). You might not have known him, but he was your friend too.
Bob was a dad and a grandfather. A role he enjoyed.
Bob served us in the Marines in WW II. He received a Purple Heart for wounds received in the South Pacific. After receiving the Purple Heart he went back into battle. That's the kind of guy he was, a tireless fighter.
Bob served in the Sioux Falls Fire Department for 27 years, much of that time as a captain. He was a strong, and fair union man.
He also served three terms as a representative in the South Dakota Legislature. Bob was a Democrat. He represented all of us, the regular folks. He helped the little guy, the underdog, to get to a better place. He stood up to bullies of all types, especially the political ones.
Bob had courage on the battlefield, fighting fires, and being a champion of politically unpopular causes. In the legislature his last great act of courage was to introduce and fight for a state income tax. It lost by one vote in 1976. He was never elected to public office again.
Bob kept talking about important issues wherever he could. He was a frequent participant at the County Democratic Forum. He would speak at public meetings supporting issues of fairness. He called Viewpoint University to "correct my thinking" on more than one occasion.
He lived in Menlo Park just east of Sanford Hospital. I dubbed him the "Sage of Menlo Park." It was a fitting description, as he sat on his porch overlooking the park and waxed eloquently on the issues of the day.
Bob was comfortable sitting on a bar stool, drinking a working man's beer, talking politics, his family, the Minnesota Twins, Timberwolves, and Vikings.,
Bob lived for 91 years. I am blessed to call him a friend for 42 of those years.
We buried his body today at Hills of Rest. However, his spirit of fairness, fighting for the little guy, and courage will always be with the many people he touched. We are a better state and city because of him.
I am glad our paths came together. Like the state and city, I am a better person because of him.