A tree fit for a First Lady


With the help of Lake Preston City Mayor Andy Wienk, Al Vedvei and Kingsbury Conservation District Manager Tanya Flegel, the perfect location was found to plant a tree in memory of Jean Rounds. The tree was planted in the city park, which happens to be out the back window of Jean's mother and father, Helen and Alec Vedvei.

Rounds graduated from Lake Preston in 1974 and served as first Lady of South Dakota from 2003-2011. She passed away from cancer in November of 2021. On June 17, Wienk and Flegel, along with Jean's parents, brothers, great uncle and some nieces, gathered and planted the tree in her memory.  

"Jean's brother, Alan Vedvei, has served on the conservation district board for over 30 years, and we wanted to keep Jean's memory alive and honor her and all she has done for the state and her home community of Lake Preston," said District Manager Tanya Flegel. 

The Kingsbury Conservation District donated a Fall Fiesta maple which was planted right where Jean's parents can see it every time they look out their kitchen window or sit on their back deck. A Fall Fiesta maple was chosen for its beauty, changing vibrant colors of red, yellow and orange in the fall. 

"With all I have heard about Jean from her brother Al, how she was such a loving person, beautiful inside and out, I knew this tree would represent Jean's strength and beauty well," Flegel said. 


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