David Michael Gillen, 59, of White Lake, passed away as a result of brain cancer, surrounded by his family on August 15, 2017. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m., with a prayer service at 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 18, at St. Peter's Catholic Church. The funeral mass will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, at the church. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel in Mitchell.
David Michael Gillen was born May 14, 1958 in Chamberlain, SD to Donald and Dorothy (Jira) Gillen. David’s life is celebrated by his wife Carol of 35 years; daughters Stephanie (Tim) Ross, Kristy, and Megan; sons Ryan and Bryce (Terasa); grandchildren Jack, Reagan, and Lizzy; sisters Jacki(Merlin) Konechne and Jody(Kale) Zahniser; brothers Ron (Carol), Dane (Brenda), Curt (Louise), Mike (Marie), and Darin (Becky); brother in-law Monty Cain; and uncle Joe(Audrey). David was preceded in death by his mother Dorothy, father Donald, and sisters Lynne Cain and Teresa (infant sister).
David, who farmed south of White Lake, was perpetually passionate about agriculture, and was a leader in the industry in South Dakota for decades. He started farming at the age of 19, in 1978, while finishing a degree from Mitchell Tech in Ag Marketing and Management. He continued building a prosperous farming operation for the next 38 years. David served as a long-time director and president of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association and South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, and was active in shaping public policy with the national association. David has been active in a number of other agriculture-related groups, serving as state director of the South Dakota No-Till Association and as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Public Policy Action Team.
He married Carol Hoing on September 25, 1982. Among the many things they enjoyed doing together were taking vacations and spending quality time with their family.
David was a steadfast family man, active member of the community, and devout Catholic. He served as a member of the Knights of Columbus, was a long-time lector at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, and never hesitated to offer his help and leadership with various other church and community activities.
He will be most remembered by his family for his love of long, lively conversations over holidays, innovation and ambition in agriculture, pheasant hunting, and his constant optimistic outlook on life.