I suppose Jack Broome can best be described in just three words.

Burke South Dakota.

I first met Jack back in the mid-1970s. I had just moved to Winner, South Dakota for my first "real" job at KWYR Radio. Jack was a teacher and the football coach in Burke, just down the highway a bit, past Colome, Dallas, and Gregory. Before long I was doing the thing I loved best, doing sports play-by-play and hosting a weekly sports coaches show. It was through those things that I met Jack, who had already established himself as one of the most respected coaches in the region.

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Over the years, he became so much more than that. One of the things he became was my brother-in-law for a number of years and my friend for decades more. An Uncle to my two kids, an important part of their "growing up" years there in Burke.

But what Jack really was, was...Burke. A coach, a teacher, an administrator, a historian, a writer, and ultimately the face of the community. The heart of a small town in south-central South Dakota. If you wanted to know anything...ANYTHING!...about Burke or Gregory County, Jack was the guy to talk to.

Yes, sir, Jack loved that small town, that rural area. What did he love most? I can't say 100% sure, but I'm thinking it's that lady in the picture up there, his wife Marcia. And those three boys of his, Pat, Wade & Ryan. I'd say they were probably at the top of his list.

And then, the kids. The kids of Burke and beyond. From what I've heard, he cherished those kids and did all he could to guide them, mentor them, admonish them when needed and hug them when needed, too.

Jack, it seemed, would be there forever, there in Burke, South Dakota. Writing that column in the weekly Burke Gazette, maybe driving a school bus when needed, stopping by Stella's on Main for refreshments and conversation. Rooting on his beloved Fighting Irish.

But it wasn't forever. Jack passed away in 2020. It was a shock, for his family, his friends, and all the many, many people he touched in so many ways. But he won't be forgotten. No, in a very real sense, Jack will continue on in the town he so fiercely loved.

It was officially unveiled in August of 2021.

If you find yourself in Burke, South Dakota you'll notice a beautiful Community Civic Center. You might not even realize that a tornado ripped through this town of about 600 or so people not all that long ago. And you'll see that Community Civic Center is properly called the "Jack Broome Community Civic Center". While you're there, wander on over into Stella's on main right there and ask whoever's there who this Jack Broome is.

But give yourself some time. It takes a while to describe a man who was the heart of the town.

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