Randolph “Randy” Seiler


Randolph “Randy” Seiler, 76, of Ft. Pierre, SD passed away Monday, April 17th, at the Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls. A visitation will be held on Monday, April 24th from 5-7pm at the Pat Duffy Community Youth and Involved Center in Ft. Pierre with a prayer service starting at 7:00pm. A funeral service will be held at 10:00am on Tuesday, April 25th at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Pierre with burial at the Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Pierre. For those unable to attend the services they will be live streamed on his obituary page at

Randolph John Seiler was born on July 7, 1946, at the Mobridge Hospital. His parents were Matt and LaVaun Seiler. Randy and his younger sister Kutzie grew up in Herreid where Matt ran the theater and gas station and LaVaun worked for the USPS. After graduating from high school in 1964, Randy enrolled at South Dakota State University in Brookings. As Randy tells the story - at SDSU his BAC was higher than his GPA and Uncle Sam invited him to serve in the Air Force. Three years in the military including a year in Vietnam changed his life. He served with distinction earning the Air Force Commendation Medal for meritorious service. He had always been proud to be an American. In Vietnam, he learned how lucky he was to be an American. Interested in public service, Randy enrolled in the University of Nebraska Omaha, where he graduated cum laude in 1973 with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. His uncle, Les Heisler took him to Pierre where he met and was tapped by Governor Kneip, to be the Director of the Division of Law Enforcement Assistance, a post he held from 1973-77. After working in the Kneip Administration, he fulfilled his life-long dream to become a lawyer. He graduated from USD Law with honors, was chosen to be Editor-in-chief of the South Dakota Law Review, and was selected by the faculty as the outstanding graduate in his law school class. Randy clerked for the U.S. District Court before returning to Mobridge in 1981 as a partner in a private law firm.

As a young attorney in a small-town practice, he handled civil and criminal cases, served as the Campbell County Deputy State’s Attorney, appeared in local, state, and federal court as well as the tribal courts. He was a Special Judge for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, beginning his lifelong commitment to tribal justice and sovereignty.

In Mobridge, he and wife Patti (Graff) had two sons, Christopher and Jeffrey. His boys were raised to understand the concept of distributive justice - the extent to which society’s institutions ensure that benefits and burdens are distributed in ways that are fair and just. The family made room in their home and hearts for scores of foster children. When Randy’s clients couldn’t afford representation, he bartered - once for a horse that wasn’t broken that nearly broke him. One Christmas Eve he drove to the Walworth County Jail and paid bail for his client so he could spend the holiday with his family. He just did the right thing for someone else - quietly, with no expectation of recognition.

In 1995, Randy sold his law practice and moved to Pierre to accept a position as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota. Randy believed that being an AUSA was one of the greatest jobs a lawyer can ever have. Representing victims of crimes - homicide, child sexual abuse and rape - broadened his understanding of justice. He never walked away from a difficult case. He was the lead counsel on more than 70 jury trials and more than 500 criminal cases.

In 2009 he became the First Assistant U.S. Attorney, showing a skill for management and organization that was a career trademark. In March 2015, Randy was named South Dakota’s acting U.S. Attorney and on February 5, 2016, his appointment was made official by the U.S. District Court. Creating a Civil Rights division was one of his proudest achievements as U.S. Attorney.

In 2018, Randy was the Democratic nominee for SD Attorney General, and with broad bipartisan support, ran a strong race against the Republican challenger. As a Democrat in a predominately Republican state, Randy was defeated, but in typical Randy fashion, he seized the opportunity, re-focusing his time and energy on the causes and people important to him. He served on the Fort Pierre City Council, and was a founding member of the Badlands National Park Conservancy. He was honored to serve as legal counsel to the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Sioux Tribes. In 2019, the South Dakota Democratic Party, struggling to remain financially viable, elected Randy as Chair. Randy was determined to right the ship - he and others personally guaranteed loans to make sure the Party could be competitive and relevant. His goal was to create a bridge to a new generation of leaders. Randy served his party with distinction and honor for four years.

While the law and politics were major parts of his life, his family was his priority. In Pierre, he met and married the love of his life, his wife Wanda. Married on October 12, 1996, their union was a true partnership. As a couple they challenged one another to be their best self. Together they raised her daughters, Jennifer and Paige. The family spent summers on the river - from dusk till dawn. Randy enriched their lives - expanding their world and perspectives - always their champion, advisor and friend. Their home was filled with love and happiness. Randy was the heart of their family and their marriage set the standard the girls would aspire to in their adult lives.

In 2013, the Seilers welcomed their first grandchild, Brooklyn, with whom Randy formed a special bond. They talked daily. When Brooklyn named Grandpa Randy as her “favorite person in the world,” Randy acknowledged that it was the best recognition he could ever receive. With the addition of grandchildren - Alley, Orson, and Otto - Randy began to shift his focus. Seeking to enjoy and enrich their lives, he attended their events and was the instigator of regular adventures - hiking, sledding, boating, skiing. After a long career in public service, Randy declared Grandpa as the best job he would ever have.

Randy was a lifelong runner and always had a four-legged companion by his side. In 2013, he founded Four on the Fourth in the Fort, a fun run that kicks off Fort Pierre’s July 4th celebration. Randy also loved the outdoors, the law, the great State of South Dakota, and the community he called home - Fort Pierre.

Randy is survived by his wife Wanda, sons Chris (Diana Gomez) and Jeff Seiler, daughters Jennifer (Derek) Newcomb and Paige Jensen and grandchildren Brooklyn and Alley Newcomb, Orson Robertson and Otto Seiler, sister Kutzie Flyger and Nelson. He was preceded in death by his parents, and brother-in-law Steve Flyger.

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