The descendants of Lewis Levi and May (Bovell) Painter were honored as the 2012 Black Hills State University Legacy Family, which honors families who have a tradition of attending BHSU. The Painters, who have deep roots in rodeo and ranching, span five generations of family members who have attended, are attending, or have graduated from BHSU. Members of the family attending the ceremony were: Randy Routier, Attended; Edward “Ned” Painter; Madelaine “Maddie” (Erickson) Wood, Attending; John Tyler “Ty” Wood; Helen (Painter) Watson, Class of ’70; Paul Jay “PJ” Painter, Class of ’10; James B. Watson, Class of ’71; Joe Painter, Class of ’82; Ruth (Painter) Henrikson, Attended; Cindy (Schutt) Painter, Class of ’80; Marvin Heesacker, Class of ’10; Joey Painter, Attending; Marilyn (Scott) Painter Freimark; Jessica (Painter) Holmes, Class of ’09; and Laurie (Painter) Goehring, Attended.

The descendants of Lewis Levi and May (Bovell) Painter were honored as the 2012 Black Hills State University Legacy Family. The award was presented to Joe Painter, Class of ’82, and his wife, Cindy, Class of ’80, by BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp; Jhett Albers, athletic director; and Glen Lammers, rodeo coach, during halftime of a recent BHSU basketball game.

The Painters, who have deep roots in rodeo and ranching, span five generations of family members who have attended, are attending, or have graduated from BHSU.

May Bovell began what would be the first generation of the Painter legacy at BHSU in 1889. She then taught for 12 years in Montana on Tie Creek, before marrying Lewis Levi in 1902. Lewis Levi, who was better known as “Jingo Bill” because his spurs always jingled when he walked, settled on the land that is currently known as the Painter Ranch in 1900.

May and Lewis Levi had three sons, making up the second generation of BHSU attendees: Frederick B. Painter, Class of 1929; Preston Painter, Attended; and Joseph T. Painter, Class of 1926.

Frederick married Helen (Crawford), Class of 1927, and had two children. Frederick went into education upon graduation from BHSU and spent 12 years of his career as the Superintendant of Schools in Rochester, N.Y.

Preston married Marion (Cranston), Attended, and they ranched on the Painter Ranch until 1955 before purchasing a ranch of their own in Crawford, Neb. The couple had nine children, four of who make up the third generation of the Painter legacy: Daniel P. Painter, Attended; Helen (Painter) Watson, Class of 1970; Edward “Ned” Painter, Attended; and Ruth (Painter) Henrikson, Attended.

Joseph attended elementary school at a school north of the Painter Ranch, which later became known as the Painter School. He then attended high school in Spearfish, where he also worked for the fish hatchery. After graduating from BHSU, he started his own ranch and married Mildred (Ellis), Class of 1927. Mildred taught at Windy Flats School by the Mackey Ranch.

Joseph and Mildred had four children; two are a part of the third generation of family members attending the University. Their daughter, JoAnne attended BHSU in 1952, and although their son, Paul Lewis did not earn his degree from BHSU, he married Marilyn (Scott) Painter Freimark, who earned her degree from BHSU in 1978.

Paul and Marilyn were very involved in rodeo during college. Marilyn was crowned the first Miss Rodeo America in 1955. The couple began the fourth generation of BHSU attendees with their four children: Laurie Mae (Painter) Goehring, Attended; Cindy (Painter) Heesacker Mankin, Attended; Judy (Painter) Melvin, Attended; and Joe S. Painter, Class of ’82. All four of Paul and Marilyn’s children carried on the ranch and rodeo tradition, competing in youth, high school, college, amateur, and professional rodeo.

Laurie’s children Randy and Riley Routier both attended BHSU and are now ranching. Laurie currently operates a ranch with her husband southwest of Buffalo.

Cindy, who currently works as a nurse in Gillette, has one child, Marvin Heesacker, Class of ’10. Marvin had an exceptional rodeo career while at BHSU. The BHSU men’s rodeo team (which included Marvin’s cousin, PJ Painter) finished fifth at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) during his senior year. Marvin is currently a realtor in Rapid City and is pursuing his MBA (Master in Business Administration) from BHSU.

Judy, and her husband, Marty Melvin, have been raising horses in Keller and Paradise, Texas, for many years. Judy taught for several years before retiring to spend time with her children and to raise horses. Judy and Marty’s children compete in rodeo circuits across Texas.

Joe met his wife Cindy (Schutt), Class of ’58, while attending BHSU. They both received their business degrees before returning to the Painter Ranch, which they currently manage today with the help of their three children: Jessica (Painter) Holmes, Class of ’09; Paul Jay “PJ” Painter, Class of ’10; and Joey Painter, Attending.

Jessica owns a small ranch near Rapid City with her husband, Casey, and is the marketing director for Fugro Horizons. Jessica earned her master’s degree in business services management at BHSU and was a student assistant coach for the BHSU Rodeo Team.

PJ, who was recognized with the Spirit of BH Award while at BHSU, is currently earning his law degree at the University of South Dakota. PJ was a leader and excellent role model at the University. He spearheaded the return of the BHSU Rodeo Team and volunteered countless hours promoting the program. He was also involved in numerous student organizations and community and campus events. He also had an outstanding career on the BHSU Rodeo Team and was recognized during the 2009 CNFR with an academic scholarship for having the third highest grade point average among the contestants at the national rodeo.

Joey, a leading member of the BHSU Rodeo Team, is currently a business administration-marketing student at BHSU. She was awarded the prestigious Floyd Scholarship upon attending BHSU, which is a scholarship for female students from South Dakota who have a farm/ranch background along with a strong desire to learn. Joey is also very active in student organizations across campus and volunteers her time helping promote the rodeo team.

The Legacy Family Award honors families who have a tradition of attending BHSU. Others who have received the award include: the Peter and Kirsten Matthesen family; the Guy and Sylvia Doll family; and the Robert L. and Elizabeth Crosswait family.

Posted in: 2012
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