Longtime Spearfish resident Nadine Fidler is this year's Swarm Day Parade Grand Marshal.
When Nadine Fidler moved to Spearfish with her husband Ray in 1955, the two immediately immersed themselves in the happenings of the Northern Hills including those at Black Hills State University. Nearly 60 years later, Nadine remains as active in both Spearfish and BHSU as the day she moved here.

Nadine will continue her contributions to BHSU as the Swarm Day Parade Grand Marshal. She will lead the homecoming parade Saturday, Oct. 5 when it runs from the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center to downtown Spearfish.

“I was just blown away,” she said of the honor.

Nadine learned of the honor during a lunch with BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp and Steve Meeker, vice president of University Advancement, a few weeks ago. She thought they were going to give her an update on what was happening on campus; she never anticipated what the lunch was truly about.  

“When (the president) asked me to be parade marshal, I almost fell off my chair,” she said.

Ray and Nadine moved to Spearfish with the hope of opening their own funeral home business. Ray had worked in the funeral business for several years in Nebraska when an opportunity came up in the Northern Hills. He worked at the local funeral home for a few years before establishing his own. The Fidlers soon opened two more funeral chapels – one in Lead and one in Sundance, Wyo.

Nadine, also a licensed funeral director, worked with her husband until his death in 1997. The funeral homes are now owned by Damon Isburg but still contain the Fidler name.

Throughout their years in Spearfish, both Nadine and Ray were active in a variety of church and community organizations. Nadine, who always valued music, instantly became interested in all the music and theatre events at BHSU.    

“Ever since I’ve been here I’ve been intrigued by the music and drama department on campus,” she said. “I had an early association with the University that just continued.”

The couple attended numerous concerts and plays throughout the years. Nadine also spent some time as a student at the University hoping to finish up her four-year degree. However, with a growing family that eventually included five children, the funeral home business and her commitments to her community, Nadine changed her focus. She, however, always continued her strong connection to BHSU.

Nadine’s first financial contribution to the University came as a donation for a plaque on one of the chairs in the 260-seat Clare and Josef Meier Recital Hall. Meier Hall had just been built and the University was selling plaques on the chairs. Nadine purchased one in honor of her brother-in-law John Fidler who had just been awarded the 2003 BHSU Special Achievement Award. She was one of the first people to buy a chair.

Nadine then purchased three more, one for Ray, one for herself and one for her oldest daughter Paula. Since then, Nadine has donated money to provide music and theatre scholarships for BHSU students. In acknowledgment of her music donation, the keyboard lab in Meier Hall was named the Raymond H. and Nadine M. Fidler Piano Lab, a recognition that remains close to her heart.

Saturday, Oct. 5 concludes the Swarm Week festivities with the parade and the homecoming football game against Western State. For a full list of activities go to BHSU.edu/SwarmDays