Lance Carson


December 3, 1945 - October 14, 2020


Lance Carson, 74, of Mitchell, SD, died Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at Fairview University Medical Center in Minneapolis, MN. Funeral services will be 10:30 AM Thursday, October 22, 2020 at the Mitchell Corn Palace. A private family burial will be in Graceland Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5-7:00 PM Wednesday at the Corn Palace. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

A live-stream of the service may be viewed at:

On October 14, 2020, Lance Allen Carson, fought one last battle, one that he would not be able to win. Lance beat health issues time and time again, each time coming out the victor. However, in the end, victory would be found in Heaven.

Lance Allen Carson was born in Madison, South Dakota on December 3, 1945 to Ferne and Ernest Carson.  Each time he was asked his birth date, he proudly stated,”12345”.  Lance was a graduate of Rutland High School, Class of 1964. He was also a graduate of Southern State Teachers College, Springfield, SD, with a degree in Auto Technology.

Donna Mae Downs caught the eye of a 16-year-old young man.  On June 19, 1966 they started a life time of love and adventure that would last 54 years. Lance and Donna Mae’s marriage was one for the ages.

Lance worked in Brookings until he was drafted into the US Army in 1967.  It was with great pride that Lance   served with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam. Upon leaving Vietnam, Lance was awarded the Bronze Star.

Upon his return from Vietnam he returned to Brookings to work and later purchased Medary Standard, which he would own until he and Donna Mae sold the “station” to move to Mitchell in 1979. Lance’s Interstate Amoco would be a staple in the Mitchell community until 2003 when Lance and Donna Mae “retired”.

 Serving District 20 in the State House of Representatives was a position that Lance did not seek as much as it sought him. Throughout his 10 years in office, Lance served on the Appropriations Committee with his fiscal tenacity. His service to the State of South Dakota will long be remembered.  He may not have been a man of many words, but his words spoke volumes.

 Lance served on a variety of boards and committees throughout Mitchell and the rest of the state.  He served as Chairman of the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo, as well as the board for the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo. Lance also chaired The South Dakota State Fair Commission.  Recently Lance was awarded the Bob Duxbury Award for his service to the SD State Fair. He was a member of the Palace City Lions Club, Davison County Republicans and many other organizations.  The establishment of the Veteran’s Park on Main Street was a project that was dear to Lance’s heart.

 Lance somehow found time to be a huge Green Bay Packer fan which lent itself to many a bet with Vikings fans.  He was an avid SDSU Jackrabbit fan.  There were many hunting trips taken without the rewards of the hunt, especially turkey hunting. Lance loved the outdoors and he and Donna Mae would take “road trips” along SD roads while listening to Willie Nelson music.

Although Lance was not a father, he was a father figure to many children young and old.  These “kids” have described him as hero, warrior, mentor, boss, friend, and uncle.

Lance and Donna are members of Trinity Lutheran in Mitchell.

Lance Carson lived a life of service to his wife, family, his state, and his country.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Donna Mae; brother, Lloyd of Brookings; sisters, LeeAnn (Mel) Withnell of Pueblo CO., Larainne (Harlan) Gorath of Fairmont, MN, and Lyles (Tom) Lewis of Stockton, MO; sisters-in-law, Wanda Carson of Waconia, MN and Rose Carson of Mitchell.  He is also survived by Donna’s brothers Myron (Clara) of Madison, SD and Milo of Lake Benton, MN; and friend, Caleb Larson. Uncle Lance will be remembered by many nieces and nephews, as well as great nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and Donna’s parents; 3 brothers, Lawrence, Leland and Lyman; sisters-in-law, Carol Carson, Neva Carson, and Karen Downs; brother and sister-in-law Wendell and Esther Downs.

Thank you to all who were a part of Lance’s life. Each and everyone one of you touched his heart. As we go on, continue to live your lives to honor his.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the organization of your choice in Lance’s memory.



Wednesday, October 21, 2020
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Mitchell Corn Palace
604 N Main St.
Mitchell, SD 57301


Thursday, October 22, 2020
10:30 AM
Mitchell Corn Palace
604 N Main St.
Mitchell, SD 57301



Private Family Graveside Service

Graceland Cemetery
Mitchell, SD

Posted by Gloria Hanson on November 13, 2020
So sad to hear about Lance. He made our Vietnam Reunion a great place to come. Be strong Donna.
Posted by Deono and Lonna Miller on October 25, 2020
Donna, we are saddened by the death of Lance. We first met him at a Vietnam Veteran's reunion here in Mitchell. We attended the reunions every year and it helped my husband, a fellow VN veteran heal. God bless you!
Posted by Kevin Krog on October 22, 2020
I met Lance 50 years ago, while attending college in Brookings. He owned the Standard station and took great care of me. Many repairs for a broke college kid! Upon my move to Spearfish and his to Mitchell, I made sure I stopped for gas (or repairs). It was always a fun and interesting time catching up SDSU sports or legislation or whatever! Calling Lance a friend was an honor and a great addition in my life. See you soon my friend and we'll catchup again!
Posted by Mindy Mangel on October 22, 2020
Our deepest sympathies to you Donna and your family from all of us nurses on 6C at the U of MN. We are so sad to learn of Lance's passing. He is always remembered as one of our favorites, and we so enjoyed getting to know him throughout his time our paths would cross. Peace and prayers to you at this most heavy time.
Posted by Kathy Weitala on October 22, 2020
Donna, felt so sad to hear Lance is gone. Dennis and I talked about the many memories. Lance was a one-of a-kind guy. He will be missed.
Posted by Angela Chaney on October 22, 2020
Oh Donna! It’s been so hard hearing of Lance’s passing. Neil and I still use some of his quips including having Davin at age 3 call him King, Peaches with ice cream, and having bread just as filler. Please let us know if you need anything or are in Sioux Falls do not hesitate to call us! Lance has a special place in our hearts and know that you do too!! There is so much more we could write but so could everyone else who considered him a good and loyal friend. Hugs and know you are in our thoughts! Neil and Angela Chaney
Posted by Nikki Johnson on October 22, 2020
Donna - Crazy how I just saw you guys a few weeks ago at breakfast. And miss seeing you at breakfast at the board :( my sincere thoughts and prayers to you for your loss of Lance.
Posted by Cindy Christensen on October 22, 2020
Dearest Donna, I was all dressed and ready to go today. It is so slippery in spots here, it is better if I just watch from home. Please know you are in my prayers in the days to follow. Love you and cherish the memories of Lance and your friendship over the years.
Posted by Jim Wosje on October 22, 2020
Donna sorry to hear about Lance. My deepest thoughts and prayers for You, Lance will be deeply missed.Our deepest sympathy Jim & Marge
Posted by Sharon and Dale Houchin on October 21, 2020
So sorry for your loss Donna. We will miss Lance at coffee.
Posted by Diane Wheatley on October 21, 2020
Dearest Donna and family,
We are profoundly sorry for the loss of your heroic Lance. A true "5 Star" friend to our family.
Thank you God for blessing us with Lance and know he will light your heart in heaven with his gracious spirit and love. We will miss everything about him but never forget him. If anything good came out of the Vietnam War it was sharing a bond of friendship for over 50 years.
With our deepest sympathy,
Diane and Mike, Lisa, Cynthia and Amy
Posted by Mike Wheatley on October 21, 2020
I had the pleasure of serving with Lance in the 25th Infantry Div. 25th MP Co. Cu Chi Base Camp. Lance was one of the finest human beings I have ever met. When I told my father about my new best friend, he said what did you expect, he is from South Dakota. I am a prune picker from California, but my Dad was born in SIoux Falls. Boy was I lucky to have been his friend.
Over the years we kept in touch. We got to visit with Lance and his "Bride/Angel over the years in both states. We both had heart and leukemia issues and could relate with each other as we grew older. I am a battler but do not hold a candle to "Lancelot." Rest In Peace my Good Friend."
Donna, you were the love of his life and added decades to his life. Our heart felt condolences.
Posted by Rich Woolworth on October 21, 2020
My deepest condolences to Donna and to Lance's family and friends.

Lance hired me to work at Medary Standard Service in Brookings, SD when I was only 14 years old. He was a tough but fair employer and working for him was good training for my eventual career in the military. Lance was a Vietnam War vet and even though he was Army, he ran a "tight ship"...he was conservative with praise and didn't hesitate to chew me out when I deserved it.
I worked for him for 5 years and he taught me a lot about paying attention to the little details...everything from showing up to work on time in a clean uniform to making sure all his tools were correctly cleaned and put away every evening.
He taught me how to deal with customers, especially unruly ones. I worked during the 1970s oil embargo, when we had to limit gas sales to 5 gallons per customer, and I had to deal with some seriously angry individuals, who decided I personally was to blame for our country's dealings with OPEC!
When Lance moved to Mitchell to run a new business, I still saw him from time to time as my National Guard unit met in Mitchell for our monthly training. I last saw him at my mother's funeral last year.
He'll be missed.
Posted by Cathy Woolworth Moklebust on October 21, 2020
Donna...I was so saddened to read this morning in the Brookings Register that Lance had died. You and Lance hold such an important and beloved place in our family. He will be sorely missed, but remembered with fondness and love. Peace and love to you and your families.
Posted by Neil Peters on October 21, 2020
Donna, Deepest sympathy for your loss. May God be with you to comfort you in this time of sorrow. I got to know Lance through my brother Gary, and I always enjoyed stopping and visiting with him at the station whenever I was passing by Mitchell. Lance never did anything half way, he always did things the best he could and was so dedicated to those around him. Thoughts and prayers for you.
Posted by Matthew wilfahrt on October 21, 2020
Just remembered that I had a good time with him and putting up his signed in mitchell sd and I will miss him and because he was having fun teasing me about my football team and I started to laugh and he was a great person to talk to when he had a chance to come to Sioux falls SD and come to Gateway food and lounge and he was a very nice person and so my prayers are with his wife and family okay and I will say that he is going to watch everyone and good by my friend okay
Posted by Austin Sindt on October 20, 2020
My grandparents introduced me to Lance when I was just a little kid. I have grown to know him, and he was someone who had all of my respect! He did not have one bad bone in his body. Everytime we would see each other we would shake each other’s hands. Well the last time I saw him (a few months ago) I went to shake his hand (totally forgetting we were in the middle of a nasty pandemic) and he backed away. Right then and there I felt so terrible and disrespectful. From that moment on, I made it a mission to do the right thing and apologize for being so careless and rude. But now, I’ll never get the chance. Lance, I don’t know if you can see this, but I’m sorry! Now I know he would forgive me, because that’s the kind of guy Lance was. He wasn’t one to hold a grudge, because people make mistakes. You were a great guy Lance and I think I speak for all of Mitchell when I say I’m really going to miss you!
Posted by V.Dianne Larson Scherbar on October 20, 2020
I am so sorry for your loss! He was A good guy! I think we were classmates for all our 12 years of school! We rode the same bus for 12years .
You were always very kind person, to
Posted by Sue Wermers on October 20, 2020
So very sorry for your loss Donna. Such a special couple enjoyed our visits. He told me one time how he enjoyed the holiday decor you would put out, but I was not to tell you. Prayers and thoughts.
Posted by Tom & Kathy Hamilton on October 20, 2020
We are so sorry to hear that Lance has passed away! Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Donna & family.
Posted by Bryan and Diane Slaba on October 20, 2020
Donna, Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. Lance will be missed by many! Heaven gained a wonderful man! Loved his Packer car! Go Pack Go!
Posted by William McElroy on October 20, 2020
I worked for Lance at I-90 Amoco while in high school. First job. I've repeatedly stated that I learned more about human nature and customer service from Lance over anyone. Very few men have influenced me towards becoming the person I am today. From Lance I learned to work hard, take a chance on yourself, give back to the community and don't take a bad check from a guy that just got out of the state penitentiary. Lance knows what I talking about. Take care Donna.
Posted by Tami Haiar Krogman on October 20, 2020
Donna I am so sorry for you loss!! Lance was a great Leader, Mentor and Friend to me. I thank god For allowing me to get to know this man. He will be missed!!
Posted by Kayla Page on October 20, 2020
Donna I'm sorry to hear about Lance! He was a great person. RIP Lance
Posted by Bret and Jamie Withnell on October 19, 2020
Uncle Lance will be dearly missed! Aunt Donna, you are in our thoughts and prayers, as is the rest of family. Our deepest condolences. We love you!
Posted by Bob and Leah Suhr on October 19, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and extended family during this difficult time.
Posted by Glenda Stevens Williams on October 19, 2020
Oh Donna! So sorry to hear of Lance’s passing. Sending you our deepest sympathy.
Posted by Butch & Diane Odegaard on October 19, 2020
Donna, our thoughts & prayers are with you at this most difficult time. Lance was a true gentleman & will be greatly missed.
Posted by Dave and Gayla Lyons on October 19, 2020
So sorry to hear of your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Posted by Rita Driscoll on October 19, 2020
Donna, so sorry to hear of your loss. Cherish the memories!
Posted by Brenda Dreyer on October 19, 2020
Enjoyed working with Lance when he was on the State Fair commission and also in the Legislature - what smart man always with a smile and quick for practical jokes! Thank you for sharing him with us!
Posted by Kori Clarambeau on October 18, 2020
Donna you have my deepest sympathy!!
Posted by Verle and Audrey Thompson on October 18, 2020
Wow what a blessing to know you two and all the great high school memories we share. Wished we could have had our reunion this year. Sending our sympathy to you Donna. Know we care! We are in Az for the winter so will not be able to attend services. God bless!
Posted by Lynn and Jerry Metcalf on October 18, 2020
Donna our sympathy to you in the loss of Lance. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Posted by Dan and Kathy Carlson on October 18, 2020
Donna - we extend our sympathy to you. May the good memories of Lance sustain you as you go through this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you.
Posted by Sue Salter on October 18, 2020
Deepest sympathies on the loss of a great man. He served our state admirably for so many years. I enjoyed working with him on the State Fair Commission, and appreciated his strong leadership. Peace and prayers.
Posted by Gary and Mary Stadlman on October 18, 2020
So sorry for your loss, Lance was a very nice man, always a smile and lending hand. God be with your family
Posted by Sheryl and Steve McClure on October 18, 2020
Donna, so sorry about your loss, Lance will be missed by everyone that knew him. We had lot of time together with the VN reunion some good and bad but we have memories of times, He did a lot help to the Veterans of S.D. and US and GOD BESS YOU!!!!
Posted by Charlie & Wanda Kobes on October 17, 2020
Donna so sorry for your loss of a great man ! Lance was always there for anyone that needed him , You are in our thoughts and prayers .
Posted by Clay and Cindy Gregg on October 17, 2020
We will be forever grateful for the work Lance did for Vietnam veterans. He will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with his family during this time of profound sadness.
Posted by Tom Riddle on October 17, 2020
A true South Dakota Hero,friend ,leader,and so much more, thankful to have known him
Posted by Derek Smith on October 17, 2020
HI Donna This is your friend derek i wanted u know send my condolences to you and family because its tough and give me a call to chat sometime 605-770-8277 and email me if u need anything i understand what your going threw and i know its been hard and my family will support u or what ever
Posted by Randy & Cindy Seppala on October 17, 2020
I can't express in words the loss our State has experienced with Lance's passing. I will always remember the good times with Lance as he always had words of wisdom he liked to share. Our deepest sympathies to Donna and will be here if you need anything.
Posted by Barb Bjorneberg on October 17, 2020
I worked for the Jt Appropriations Committee for 14 years, consequently I saw Rep. Carson every day. He carried a medical bag and stored it near my desk. He'd always say "remember where that is" and then he'd laugh. He was quiet, smart and more importantly kind. I am honored to have known him.
Posted by Ed Goss on October 17, 2020
WE extend our prayers and sympathy to Lance's family. I served several years with him on the State Fair board. WOW, what a great guy.
Posted by Rep Tim Goodwin District 30 on October 17, 2020
I served with Lance in the Legislature. Both being Veterans made an automatic bond between us. I just saw Lance at the Veterans Ceremony at our State Fair in Huron and we had a great chat. My deepest condolences to the Family.
Posted by Rep Tim Goodwin District 30 on October 17, 2020
I served with Lance in the Legislature. Both being Veterans made an automatic bond between us. I just saw Lance at the Veterans Ceremony at our State Fair in Huron and we had a great chat. My deepest condolences to the Family.
Posted by Sheilah Stoneback on October 17, 2020
Lance and my son were the “test case” for Mitchell’s Kinship Program 30+ years ago, All these years later my son still talks about their experience, the fun times they shared, and the positive influence Lance had on his life. Our deepest condolences to you, Donna.
Posted by Jerry Hall on October 16, 2020
Donna, Glad and I want to express our deepest sympathy
Posted by Alfred and Deanna Rude on October 16, 2020
Lance was a wonderful man. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Posted by Kim (Overbay) Satterlee on October 16, 2020
Donna.. Thoughts and Prayers to you from the Overbay Family
Posted by Jake and Bobbie Prickett on October 16, 2020
So sorry for your loss thoughts and prayers
Posted by Kelly Gross on October 16, 2020
Donna and extended family, my thoughts and prayers have certainly been with you. If you need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to ask. We will miss him!
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