Don Perdue passed away peacefully at his home in Rapid City, South Dakota on August 19, 2023 surrounded by family, he was 91 years old.
He was born in Dearborn, Michigan to Garnet and Asaline, the middle child of three. Don was an entrepreneur to his core. As a child he knocked on neighbors’ doors selling vegetables from his red wagon. Don served in the Navy during the Korean War on the destroyer, the USS Knapp. After his return, he tried his hand at many endeavors from selling seafood to carpentry. His life was positively changed after moving to Minnesota for work. His boss, recognizing a maverick, thought Don should meet his daughter, Joan. Upon hearing that she read “Time” and “Playboy”, he was intrigued and soon after meeting, he married his kindred spirit in 1961. Together they acquired real estate by purchasing and remodeling forsaken duplexes.
Fulfilling his dream of living out west, Don and Joan moved their young family to Montana in 1970. Planning to employ his carpentry skills, he quickly realized that residents of rural Montana are their own carpenters. Looking for other options to support his family, he saw a chest of drawers in a furniture store and thought that he could build one better. Don and Joan started building furniture in their garage. Expanding the business, Don and Joan moved their family to Rapid City, South Dakota in 1986. Ultimately, Don’s simple idea grew to be a national manufacturer of bedroom furniture.
Don received recognition for his quiet civic contributions. He received the North Star Award for Exceptional Support of Scouting. Mr. Kooiker, former Mayor of Rapid City, proclaimed April 21, 2012 as “Don Perdue Day”. Most recently, the Honorable Dennis Daugaard, former Governor of South Dakota, presented Don with the Rushmore Honors Award Day. With the dual goals of increasing tourism and expanding knowledge of our presidents, Don founded the City of Presidents, which is responsible for placing the bronze statues of the U.S. Presidents on our Rapid City street corners.
Don’s tenacity, unconventional thinking, and hard work benefited many lives and will continue to do so into the future.
Don enjoyed sharing new experiences with his family. On his first camping trip in Montana, he stayed awake throughout the night holding a hatchet to protect his family from bear attacks. Don completed numerous woodworking projects with his grandsons, Reed and Riley, imprinting on them the value of a quality, smooth finish. On their many walks together, Don collected rocks with his granddaughter, Jaida, and zipped around the Black Hills with Rhory, his grandson, in his cherry red sports car. Don also enjoyed sailing, old cars, reading about great minds of the past, innovating, and shopping for an RV for his next great adventure.
Don is survived by his wife, Joan; children, Richard Perdue (Tracy) and Lori Stueber; grandchildren, Rhory Perdue, Jaida Fehrman (Brian), Reed Padilla (Brooke), and Riley Stueber; and sister, Diane Purcell (Norm).
A celebration of life is planned for a future date.
Friends and family may sign the online guest register and leave written condolences at WestRiverFuneral.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of West River Funeral Directors in Rapid City.