PIERRE | Mansour Lincoln Karim was born on August 14, 1928, in Tehran, Iran and passed on July 5, 2019, in Rapid City. Mansour's journey through life was in many ways the epitome of the American Dream, forged by dedication to God, determination, generosity of spirit and joyful service to his family and community.
Mansour was born to Jafar and Zahra Karim in Tehran, Iran, in a humble, loving home. In 1950, with the encouragement of his parents and $27 in his pocket, Mansour traveled to the United States to pursue his dream of an education, making his way to South Dakota where he enrolled for a semester at Huron College.
Mansour then attended South Dakota State College at Brookings, earning a Bachelor of Science in agricultural engineering and a Master of Science in civil engineering. While at SD State, Mansour earned a sound education, valued friendships and competed in wrestling for the Jackrabbits.
After receiving his undergraduate degree, Mansour briefly lived in Rapid City before moving to Pierre to work for the South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT). On Dec. 31, 1959, Mansour married the love of his life, Ruth Kempter, in Huron. Together Mansour and Ruth raised seven children: Laura, Kiran, Shane, Zahra, Monni, Soraya and Jafar.
In 1960, Mansour proudly became a U.S. citizen. Professionally, Mansour established the DOT's first highway hydraulics office where he served for 36 years. He later pursued his desire to own and manage rental properties, providing housing to residents in Pierre.
Later, Mansour and Ruth began a new chapter, giving back to South Dakota and the community of Pierre that so generously gave them the opportunity to succeed. He contributed to many community organizations, including South Dakota State University Foundation, University of South Dakota Nursing Program, South Dakota Right to Life, Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Trail of Governors, SD Community Foundation, SD State Historical Society, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Countryside Hospice, and chief among them, Boys & Girls Club of the Capital Area.
Mansour spent his final days in Rapid City surrounded by family, receiving compassionate care at Good Samaritan St. Martin's Village.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 53 years, Ruth; his parents; and eldest daughter, Laura (Mark) Kist. He is survived by his brother, Houshang of Lulea, Sweden; sister-in-law, Delores (Gordon) Mydland of Pierre; his children, Kiran Karim of Kailua Kona, HI, Shane (Dan) DeWald of Seattle, WA, Zahra (Todd) Pfeifer of Omaha, NE, Monni (Karen) Karim of Custer, Soraya (Gordon) Anaple of Cincinnati, OH, and Jafar (Jess) Karim of Rapid City; 17 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and several nieces, nephews and extended family.
Mansour's indomitable optimism endured throughout his remaining years. His enthusiasm and compassion were contagious and so endeared him to anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. He became known across the Pierre community for his warm hugs as much as his generosity, living up to one of his favorite sayings: "I cannot do all the good things my community needs, but my community needs all the good things I can do."
According to his wishes, there will be a community Celebration of Life in honor of Mansour at 2 p.m. CDT on Friday, August 9, at Drifter's Event Center in Fort Pierre.
In lieu of flowers, Mansour requests gifts to the Boys & Girls Club of the Capital Area, South Dakota Right to Life Education Fund, the Central South Dakota Retired Senior Volunteer Program and Countryside Hospice.