Craig Tieszen, the man behind the suit

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RAPID CITY, SD (KOTA TV) - We've talked a lot about who state legislator Craig Tieszen was and what he did for the state of South Dakota.

But he did a lot of things behind the scenes for the youth of the Rapid City community.

South Dakota lawmakers have remembered representative Tieszen with words like 'thoughtful, considerate and full of integrity.'

He also refereed basketball in Rapid City and his co-workers in the strips had only nice things to say about Mr. Tieszen.

Basketball official, Brad Booth, says “Craig is one of the most thoughtful and intelligent people that I have ever met."

While another referee buddy, Randy Stanton, explains “Craig is one of those guys, that man, if you wanted to, he would be your friend. And he had no trouble making that connection. And if you were a friend then you were a friend for life."

Tieszen was a longtime basketball referee, dedicating more than 30 years of his life to making calls on the court.

He spent 25 years in the Lakota Nation Invitational, officiated seven basketball state tournaments, and one championship game.

Booth recalls unique moment’s Tiezsen had with ball boys at college tournaments where he would share a gift and take the time to make them feel important.

"Craig always took a moment to give each of the kids on the ends of the court a dollar, a gold dollar. And it was just important to him but it was so important to those kids. They were just like in awe,” states Booth.

The loss of such a thoughtful man is something that hits this basketball community hard.

"It's a tremendous loss and we're all sad about that," says Stanton.

And Booth has similar feelings, “Craig is one of those people that will always be a memory. He was such a positive influence."

This season, you may notice something a little different about the referee's uniform.
They are having patches made right now while Tieszen’s initials on them and hope to have them for the start of basketball season on Friday.

The Rapid City Police Department has also put a black band across their badge to honor him.

Funeral services are set for Monday and will take place at 1 pm at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Theatre.
Governor Dennis Daugaard also asks for flags to be flown at half-staff on Monday for representative Tieszen.