PENNINGTON COUNTY, SD. (THECOUNT) — David Lust, a longtime South Dakota lawmaker and former House majority leader, died unexpectedly Friday at his Pennington County home. He was 53.

Lust, a partner at the Rapid City firm Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore, died during early Friday morning of a suspected heart attack, his law office confirmed.


Lust, a Republican, served 11 years in the House, including four as the majority leader. He was first elected to office in 2006.

“David was such a strong leader for our state, his community, and our law firm, and most importantly a loving father and husband,” former Attorney General and current law partner Marty Jackley said in an email to the Argus Leader. “We have all lost the statesman we came to admire in Majority Leader Lust, the community has lost a strong voice, and I have lost my dear friend. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Becky and their family.”

In 2011, he served his first of two terms as majority leader, helping newly elected Gov. Dennis Daugaard usher in a series of painful budget cuts following a sharp downturn in revenues.

“I’m very sorry and saddened to hear about his death because he was a very good man,” Daugaard said.

Lust grew up in Aberdeen. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and his law degree from the University of South Dakota School of Law.

Lust is survived by his wife, Becky, and four children.

A cause of death has not been confirmed.


Geo quick facts: Pennington County is a county in the U.S. state of South Dakota. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 100,948, making it the second-most populous county in South Dakota. Its county seat is Rapid City. The county was created in 1875, and was organized in 1877 – Wikipedia.