Gordon Seymour Rollins


September 13, 1912 - August 7, 2009


Gordon Seymour Rollins was born September 13, 1912 to Ralph and Rachael Vera Moon Rollins at the family farm twelve miles north of Draper, Jones County, South Dakota.  After Gordon attended country school for three years, the family moved to Draper in 1921 where his father, Ralph, was employed to operate the Farmer’s Elevator Co., buying and selling grain, coal, binder twine, flour, seed, etc.

Gordon graduated from Draper High School in May 1930.  On September l, 1930, with his father’s help, he and his older brother, Robert, purchased the Draper Supply Co., renaming it the Rollins Supply Co.  The general store handled hardware, groceries, and International Harvester farm machinery.  On July 14, 1935 Gordon married Elsie G. Peterson, a Draper High School teacher, at her home in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Three children were born to Elsie and Gordon: Barbara Joyce on July 24, 1936 to September 18, 2008, Norman Gordon on December 20, 1940 to January 9, 1994 and Donald Robert on April 19, 1947.

Since Gordon was in a non-essential industry in Draper, he decided it was necessary to be in an essential industry to help in the WWII effort so he and his family spent time in Vancouver, WA, helping build small aircraft carriers as well as farming at home in Draper, SD. In mid July 1946, after an interview with Bradley Young, board chairman of DWU, Gordon was invited to accept the position of Business Manager & Treasurer.  He accepted the offer and began work on September 1, 1946.

Shortly after Gordon took the new position, the family moved to Mitchell.   During many summers, Gordon took intensive studying in Business Management at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, NE and additional classes sponsored by the General Board of Education of the Methodist Church, Nashville, TN.  Gordon had the pleasure of serving with six presidents at Dakota Wesleyan University.  He retired from his position as Vice-President of Finance in 1975.  At that time, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Dakota Wesleyan University.

Then for many years Gordon knocked on doors of DWU Alumni sharing the “Good News” of DWU and raising funds for the school through Life Income Agreements and  contributions.

Gordon was active in the Mitchell Community and beyond.  He was an active member of the Methodist Church locally, as District Lay Leader, Lay Leader with the SD Methodist Conference, and a delegate to the World Methodist Conference held in Oslo, Norway.   Gordon was a charter member of the Davison County School Board, a charter member of the Mitchell Planning Commission and the Mitchell Area Development Committee.  Also, he served on the Salvation Army Board, Abbott House Board and was a member of Masons, Kiwanis, and Rotary for many years.    After leaving the DWU Administration, he served on the Commercial Bank Board for a good many years.

Gordon is survived by his son, Donald Robert Rollins, MD, Denver, CO; a sister, Doris Fredericksen, Kadoka, SD; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph on October 6, 1969 and “Vera” on October 1, 1971; wife, Elsie on June 3, 2001; his son, Norman Gordon Rollins June 9, 1994; his daughter, Barbara Joyce Nemer, September 18, 2008; three brothers: Robert on November 10, 1995, Paul on March 19, 2002 and Virgil on July 14, 1998.

A Memorial Fund Scholarship Fund has been established at Dakota Wesleyan University, 1200 West University Blvd.,Mitchell, SD in the name of the Gordon & Elsie Rollins Family.



Gordon did his best to glorify God and improve human kind and was thankful for ninety-six years of a wonderful life.



To Be Announced


Monday, August 10, 2009
11:00 AM
Dakota Wesleyan University
Sherman Center
1200 West University
Mitchell, South Dakota


Graceland Cemetery
Mitchell, South Dakota

Posted by Hank and Bonnie Kor on August 10, 2009
We are sorry to miss the service today. You are all in our thoughts as we will miss a most wonderful man. Gordon was a most generous man who setnseveral checks to my son, Jason, in Chicago. We have been with him this past week. He and Elsie have been a shiniing beacon and example in our church and community. They "lived" their faith. May God be with you.
Posted by Kelly Gross on August 8, 2009
I have known Gordon since starting DWU in 1979. Since that time, I have gotten to know him better by working at Commercial Bank but especially by sitting in the pew next to him at church for over two decades. He was the finest man I have ever known.
Posted by Milton Leischner and Family on August 8, 2009
We were sorry to hear of your loss. It has been awhile since I have seen Gordon. My girls have many fond memories of Elsie and Gordon. We lived to the South of them on Minnesota Ave.
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