Lampert: ‘Ruth was the First Lady of SD’
Published: Thursday, May 29th, 2014
“She was just a good friend. South Dakota just lost one of its greatest assets,” said Custer businessman and long-time Custer State Park concessionaire Phil Lampert about the death last week of Ruth Ziolkowski.
“She was a very great and influential lady, but you would never know it by talking to her. She greeted everyone in the same friendly manner, no matter who you were,” Lampert said.
“In my opinion, she was the First Lady of South Dakota. There is not anyone I can think of who will take her place,” he said.
“She and Kay Riordon-Steuerwald helped me the most when I started in the park,” Lampert said. Riordon-Stueuerwald was the State Game Lodge manager from 1941-51 and president of the concession company at Mount Rushmore from 1951-1993.
“I feel blessed to have worked with two great ladies in my business career,"” he said.
“About a week before Ruth died, I had about a two-hour conversation with her. I asked her if there was anything I could do for her. She made me promise to help the girls. I intend to do that if they ask,” he said.
Lampert recalls his first meeting with Korczak when he was a rookie police officer in Rapid City. “We got a call about an unruly customer in a bar. It was Korczak who was having a good time, but who got a little loud. We had standing orders to call his wife, Ruth, if this happened. We called her and while we were waiting, Korczak entertained us with some of his stories. She came and picked him up and thanked us for taking care of him,” Lampert recalled.
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