Born: December 1, 1919
Died: December 2008
Mayoral Dates: 1955-1956
Don L'Esperance was educated in the public schools of Rapid City and attended Black Hills Community College in 1939, National School of Business in 1940 and LaSalle Ext. University in 1953. He was a bookkeeper for Independent Binder Company, office manager for Kenosha Transportation Company, administrative assistant to the Corps of Engineers at Igloo, assistant division superintendent at Burlington Trailways, office manager at Mellgren Plumbing Company and director of Punco Investment Corporation. He served as mayor of Rapid City, was a member of the city commission and chairman of the Pennington County Board of Health. He received local and state district service awards in 1955.
Don A. L'Esperance was born in Pierre, South Dakota, on December 1, 1919, the son of Joseph R. and Katherine (O'Reilly) L'Esperance. His family came to Rapid City in 1921. He married Eileen Forette, November 27, 1941, in Rapid City. They had five children--David, Judi, Keith, MaryAnne and Jim.
He was educated in the public schools of Rapid City, graduating in 1938, and then attended Black Hills Commercial College, National School of Business and LaSalle Extension University. After college, he became a bookkeeper for Independent Bindery Company from 1940-1941; office manager for Kenosha Transport Corporation from 1941-1942; administrative assistant to the U.S. Corps of Engineers at Igloo, SD, from 1942-1944; assistant superintendent at Burlington Trailways in Rapid City from 1944-1949; office manager and partner at Mellgren Plumbing Company in Rapid City from 1949-1986; and founder and director of Pennco Investment Corporation from 1954-1963.
He served on the city commission from 1953-1956 and as mayor of Rapid City. He also served in the House of Representatives from 1957-1962.
He was chairman of the Pennington County Board of Health, member and president of the SD Association of Plumbing/Heating/Cooling Contractors, member of the National Association of Plumbing Contractors, National Association of Home Builders, Community Chest Board, charter member and board member of the Rapid City Young Men's Christian Association, president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and president of the Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Lions Club and Elks Lodge. He served as a five-year member of the Elks board of trustees, with two years as chairman.
L'Esperance was awarded the Jaycee Distinguished Service Award (Rapid City chapter) and was awarded the DSA for the state of South Dakota. He was awarded the Rapid City Sertoma Service to Mankind plaque and the Sertoma district award for Service to Mankind. He served on the study committee for the merger of St. Johns McNamara and the Bennett-Clarkson hospitals. When the merger was completed, he served on the board of trustees for the Rapid City Regional Hospital from 1973-1978 and served as chairman of that board from 1974-1977.
L'Esperance's hobbies included restoring, driving and enjoying antique cars, as well as woodworking and mechanical work.