Duane R. Rykhus, 86, of Brookings, passed away Saturday, December 25, 2021, at his home in Brookings, SD, under hospice care. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1:00 pm Thursday, December 30, 2021, at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Brookings, and will be live-streamed through the Rude’s Funeral Home Facebook page. Visitation will be from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm Wednesday at Rude’s Funeral Home.
Duane Robert Rykhus was born to Oscar and Josephine Rykhus on March 18,1935 in Tracy, MN. When he was 9, his family moved to Brookings, SD. There he attended Brookings High School and made the All-State Football 1st team and was 3-time State Champ in the Pole Vault. As a Bobcat, he also competed on State Champion football and basketball teams. After graduating high school in 1953, he attended South Dakota State University. At SDSU he was an All-American in the pole vault and was only beaten twice in his college career. He was North Central Conference pole vault champ in 1955 and ’56. In 1956 he set an SDSU record of 13 feet using a metal pole and landing in a sawdust pit. That year he placed sixth at the NAIA national meet.
He taught Shop and Physical Education while also serving as head football and track coach and assistant basketball coach in Balaton, MN from 1957 to 1962. He taught Physical Science in Brookings High School from 1962-1968 and 1969-1975. In 1969, he took a sabbatical to attend Texas A&M and earned his master’s degree.
Duane started roofing at just 16 years old. While teaching, Duane owned a roofing business that he started in 1964. In 1975, he quit teaching and put his full attention towards the roofing business until he retired from it in 2015 at 80 years old.
Throughout his life, Duane has always been active in sports, especially pole vaulting. In his 60’s, he started competing again in age group national meets. He was six times national champ and six times runner-up at USATF indoor and outdoor meets, Nike World Masters Games and Senior Games. He has been inducted into the Brookings High School Hall of Fame and the South Dakota Senior Games Hall of Fame. In 2017, he was inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame.
Outside of sports, Duane enjoyed jigsaw puzzles and playing cards with family and shooting billiards with friends. He had a special knack for winning Tripoly!
Duane is survived by his wife Shirley, sons Russell of Sioux Falls and Robert (Krin) of Brookings, daughters Sheryl of Ivanhoe, MN, Theresa (Todd Collins) of Owatonna, MN, and Kathleen of Sioux Falls, five grandchildren (Christina, Michael, Zachary (Brooke), Josephine, and Parker), and two great grandchildren (Avri and Jaxon)
He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Douglas, Donald and David and one sister, Delores.
Condolences may be sent to the family through www.rudesfuneralhome.com