Kevin Joseph Casey: 1961-2012 | TSLN.com

Kevin Joseph Casey: 1961-2012

Kevin Joseph Casey, 51, of Rapid City, died in a car accident at Vivian, SD on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012.

Kevin Joseph Casey was born May 21, 1961 in Rapid City. He was the son of Dennis "Doc" and Margaret Pauline Casey. He was the oldest of seven children (Dennis, Brendan, Sean, Shannon, Mike and John).

He attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help Elementary School, and St. Martin's Academy graduating in 1979. He then went on to Carroll College where he obtained a biology degree, which would benefit his career of working with and his love of animals. Along with earning a degree, he met future spouse Mary Trudnowski while shopping at a sporting goods store for ski boots.

In 1972 "Doc" Casey opened the gates of Bear Country USA. Kevin would prove to be an integral part of the success of the family business. Beginning with cleaning up cigarette butts and rabbit turds his love for wildlife flourished, and he would continue to work there until 2008. When his father died in May of 2000, he assumed the position of President. Under his eight years of guidance Bear Country soared to new heights. Over his lifetime of dedication to the park, Bear Country grew into one of the most successful and well-loved attractions in the Black Hills.

Growing up on a Rapid Valley ranch he found a love in caring for animals. His father started a ranch near Wind Cave National Park where he ranched buffalo, cattle, and elk. Kevin ran the ranch for "Doc" as well as helping run Bear Country. Under his direction the Milliron Buffalo Company was established. Over its many years of existence it thrived into a successful business. Upon its sale to Wind Cave National Park in 2010, Kevin took his love of ranching East to Vivian, SD. It was here that he founded his own buffalo operation, Riata Bison Company. In the "land of milk and honey", as Kevin constantly referred to it, he found a new joy and happiness. In three short years he made a heavy impact on Lyman County before his life was tragically taken.

After years of dating, Kevin and Mary were married November 30, 1985, in Helena, MT. Throughout their 27 years of marriage, they provided each other with an unfailing friendship and an undying love. They supported each other through all of life's trials, no matter the size or scale. Their strong relationship was rooted not only with trust in each other, but trust in each other's faith. They had a common love for skiing, the outdoors, wildlife, travelling, and spending time with their family and friends. Mary supported Kevin's many antics, not the least of which would be coming home after de-skunking a skunk and having otters, bobcats and baby mountain lions running around the house on any given day. Their enduring love will always be an example for their children of how beautiful life can be.

Kevin, being an extremely dedicated father, followed his children's many activities and interests. He put many miles on the car attending concerts, plays, recitals, and games. He taught them how to camp, fish, ski, hunt, and enjoy life to the fullest. He taught his sons the many wonders that gasoline and duct tape could provide, and how much fun you could have in an hour with PVC pipe, an air compressor, and a frozen egg. He taught his daughters the importance of making your own decisions and standing by them, whether it was becoming a vegetarian, dreading your hair, or occasionally having questionable taste in men, letting them know when it was time to return to reality. His children will remember him as being a courageous, humble, honest, and joyful father who showed them how to live life with a purpose.

His interests brought him into membership with the Buckaroos, SDARL Inc., Sports Buzzard, Stock Show Foundation, and numerous organizations throughout the years. He spent many hours enjoying his friends' company and the warmth that those friendships provided. Kevin would spend countless hours hunting pheasants, fishing in Canada, playing poker, golfing, enjoying a fine Goetzinger cigar, road tripping, team roping and countless other activities. He had the charm and charisma to have conversations with complete strangers, and have them refer to him as a close friend days later. His likable and engaging personality was a magnet for characters from all walks of life. Kevin's ability to touch people's lives through simple conversation was one of his most valuable character traits, and what people will remember him by most.

Faith was what kept Kevin grounded throughout his life. Faith in his friends, faith in his wife, faith in his family, faith in his future, and most importantly faith in God to carry him through safely. Although people knew him for his lively and boisterous personality, he kept his strong faith and relationship with God close to his heart. It guided him through both difficult and joyous times in his life. Words can never express how blessed we are to have had him shape our lives.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Casey of Rapid City; two daughters, Caitlin Casey of Helena, Mont. and Bridget Casey of Rapid City; two sons, Conor Casey and Kevin James Casey, both of Rapid City; his mother, Pauline Casey of Rapid City; his sister, Shannon Ballard of Rapid City; and five brothers, Brendan Casey, Dennis (Dottie) Casey, Sean (Jami) Casey, Michael (Sandra) Casey, and John (Stephanie) Casey, all of Rapid City.

Kevin was preceded in death by his father, Dennis "Doc" Casey and an infant brother.

Mass of Christian Burial was 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the Cathedral with Father Michel Mulloy as celebrant. Interment followed at Pine Lawn Memorial Park in Rapid City.

A memorial has been established to the Black Hills Stock Show Foundation and the Rapid City Catholic School System. Friends may sign Kevin's online guestbook at http://www.kirkfuneralhome.com.Kirk Funeral Home of Rapid City is in charge of the arrangements.

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