Jean Rounds, Sen. Mike Rounds' wife, former SD first lady dies of cancer

Jean Rounds, a former first lady of South Dakota and Lake Preston, South Dakota, native, had been treated for cancer at the Mayo Clinic.

Then-Gov. Mike Rounds and his wife, Jean, in 2006. Submitted by Sen. Rounds' office.

FORT PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota's former first lady Jean Rounds has died after a battle with cancer. She was 65.

The office of her husband, U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, made the announcement on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

"The love of my life is with the Lord," said a statement from Rounds. "No more treatments. No more pain. Just peace."

Jean Rounds was the state's first lady while her husband was governor for two terms, from 2003 to 2011. A Lake Preston native, she had been undergoing treatment for cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.


Jean was diagnosed in June of 2019. While initial treatment was successful, the cancer had re-returned last year. During negotiations over the bipartisan infrastructure bill this summer — negotiations in which Republican Sen. Rounds played a central role — the senator's office said he was also tending to his wife in Rochester.

"She was everything to us," Rounds said. "We ask for your continued prayer as we remember her life and grieve together as a family."

The couple have three children and 10 grandchildren.

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