Dennis Raymond Padrnos was born September 9, 1936 to Judge George Padrnos and Lillian (Honner) Padrnos in Lake Andes, SD. He was the youngest of 6 children. He went to USD on a basketball scholarship, taught business law in the School of Business and graduated with a business and law degree in 1960. He served in the US Army Judge Advocate General Corps from 1960-1963 where he was the recipient of the Army Commendation Medal. While stationed in Germany, he served as Chief Defense Counsel for the 24th Infantry Division, and prosecutor for the JAG Corps. Achieving the rank of Captain, he was honorably discharged and returned to Mitchell where he joined the law practice with local attorney Fred Tinan. Dennis married Diane Nelson on September 2, 1967 at Holy Family Church. Appointed to the position of Davison County States Attorney, he was successful in his re-election bids and served the county for 13 years having a 98% conviction rate in all cases tried.
In 1992 he established his own law practice; his 50 year law career was recognized in 2010 when he was honored by the SD Bar Assn. Dennis retired in 2012 after 52 yrs of law practice. During his career he was a guest lecturer at the SD Bar Assn. Annual Convention, SD Claims Adjusters Annual Convention, Rotary, Lions, Exchange Club, Church and Civics Groups, and the Public Schools.
Among his many awards and recognitions, Dennis received an “A” rating from Martindale-Hubbell (a national ranking of lawyers), became the SD spokesperson for the National Head Injury Foundation, was President of the Fourth Judicial Bar Assn., Davison County Bar Assn., and served as a SD Bar Commissioner. Honors included the Governor’s Award for Service, the Patriotism Award from the Exchange Club, and serving on the advisory Board for the SD States Attorney Assn.
Active in the community, Dennis founded the first Head Injury Support Group in SD, served as President of the Holy Spirit Parish Council, Holy Spirit Lector, lay minister, and usher. He joined the Knights of Columbus holding the position of Advocate. He also served as consultant and advisor for the pre-marriage classes through Holy Family Church. Asked to serve on the St. Joseph Hospital Lay Board, he served as its President before moving to the hospital Board of Trustees. Other boards he served on were the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Middle Border Museum, and Advisory Board of the Mitchell Area Vo-Tech School of Business.
Dennis volunteered for the Meals on Wheels program, was a patron for the Dakota Wesleyan University Performing Arts program and organized a volunteer program to assist the Park and Rec with maintenance of island and city parks. He served on the Chamber of Commerce City Beautification Committee and was a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and United Way. He held membership in the YMCA, Elks Club, Rotary Club, Moose Club, Ducks Unlimited, Oscar Howe Art Center, and MHS Booster Club. He served as review person for the Boy Scout Legal Merit Badge and was a certified timer for the Mitchell Swim Team.
His professional affiliations included East River Legal Services, SD Bar Assn., Davison County Bar Assn., SD Trial Lawyers Assn., National Assn of District Attorneys, Fourth Judicial Bar Assn., Young Lawyers Assn., SD School Attorneys Assn., and SD States Assn. Among his other activities, Dennis was a Certified Abstracter, licensed Real Estate Appraiser, and Certified Mediator.
Dennis loved museums and going to the Pavilion in Sioux Falls to attend concerts and Broadway touring company productions. He loved trying exotic and new foods. Cooking and flower gardening became a passion as well as feeding the birds and squirrels. He was an avid fan of Notre Dame football, enjoyed watching Kernel basketball and put up with his wife’s love of New York Yankee baseball.
In 2012 Dennis was honored with Mayor Sebert proclaiming April, 1st, Dennis Padrnos Day in Mitchell and Governor Daugaard proclaiming May 1st, Dennis Padrnos Day across the state of South Dakota.
Dennis is survived by his wife, Diane, three children: Michael Padrnos (Michelle), South Bend, IN, Beth Padrnos Klein (Aaron), Houston, TX and Lara Padrnos Altenburg (Chris), Sioux Falls, SD. He was the proud grandfather of ten grandchildren; two brothers: George Padrnos (Eleanor), Yankton, Richard Padrnos (Dona), Boulder, CO, two sisters, Elaine Petersen (Don), Sioux City, IA, Patricia Borgen, Slidell, LA and numerous nieces and nephews. Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Betty Becker, and brothers-in-law, Max Becker and Ivan Borgen, and niece, Barbara (Becker) Myers.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to John Paul II tuition assistance fund.