Brian J. Boyer, prominent Custer businessman and civic leader passed away May 24, 2020, surrounded by love, with his wife, son and friends by his side.
Brian, 59 had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June, 2018, and fought the disease for 2 years.
He was born in Minneapolis, MN on August 20, 1960, the first of 6 children born to Benedict and Barbara Boyer.
Brian was raised in Gettysburg, SD and graduated from Gettysburg High School in 1978. He then went to USD majoring in Journalism and Political Science where he was editor of the Volante. After graduation in 1983 he took a newspaper job in Iowa but decided to return to college for a teaching degree which he received from SDSU.. Brian then took a teaching position in Hill City, SD where he met Janet Eastep Stahl. They married in Deadwood in 1994.
In 1984, Brian and Janet started a newspaper in Hill City which fulfilled a lifelong dream of Brian's. At the same time they bought the Little Nashville building in Hill City and leased it to others. In 1988, Brian took a job in Pierre with the SD Rural Electric Association state office. In 1994, he moved to West River Electric in Rapid City as the Communications and Economic Development Director. Through that position he met Bob DeMersseman who mentored his interest in economic development. Brian was a founding member of the Board of Rapid City Economic Development Partnership where he ultimately served as Chairman. He was also a founding member of the Rapid Fund and was instrumental in building the business incubator on the School of Mines campus. He was a strong advocate of the Rushmore Industrial Park and the West River Revolving Loan Fund. His involvemnt in economic development in Rapid City and the Greater Black Hills Area is incalculable and included a 10 year stint with the Diplomats in Rapid City. He served on the Board of Black Hills Vacations for 12 years where he was President for two of those years. In the words of Susan Johnson he was one of a handful of Black Hills leaders who really built Black Hills Central Reservations. He was also a member of Black Hills Badlands and Lakes Association where as President he helped keep the location of the group's visitior center at Exit 61 after Cabelas made a play for the property.
While at West River Electric, Brian and Janet started a pub in the Little Nashville building which eventually became Mt. Rushmore Brewing Company the second brew pub in the Black Hills. In 2005, Black Hills Harley Davidson bought the building which led to the Boyers selling their Hill City interests and moving to Custer where Johnathan was already managing one motel, the Sunset/Days Inn, The trio then added another motel in the Rock Crest. They then added a pool and a number of log cabins behind the motel. In 2010, they purchased the Elk Canyon Restaurant, remodeled it into the Buglin' Bull restaurant and sports bar which they sold in 2019. In 2012 they purchased a building several doors to the east of the Bull which then became the Beggin' Burro a well respected Mexican restaurant still in operation today. In 2015, the couple “accidentally” bought the Cattleman's Steakhouse building at auction. They resurrected the Mt. Rushmore Brewing Company, a full line brew pub and added Pounding Fathers upstairs along with an event center in the front of the building. These businesses are still in operation today.
Brian was the quintessential businessman always moving and developing. When he made a commitment he stuck to it. He was conscientious, cared about the health of the industry and his community. He was a huge advocate for his communities. As Dave Ressler said, he had a great sense of knowing what needed to be done in Custer to ensure the Community's success. Brian, Janet and Johnathan were recognized numerous times for their advocacy for Custer. Brian's awards are numerous but one of his proudest moments was being named Western South Dakota Enterprenuer of the Year. In Custer, he served on the City Council in the early to mid 2000's, brought the concept of the Business Improvement District (B.I.D.) to Custer and tirelessly advocated for tourism in town.
With all these accomplishments, one would think Brian would be an intense, driven individual. In fact, he was one of the most laid back and kind guys you ever met. He was, most simply, a very good guy someone you enjoyed knowing and definitely wanted to be around. His avocations were golf, fishing and riding Harleys. He and Janet enjoyed many motorcycle trips with friends including journeys into Canada's Lake Louise with a stay at the Castle and trips to California and Mississippi and many points in between. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him as he truly was “a good guy”.
Brian is survived by his wife Janet, son Johnathan of Custer, his mother and father Benedict and Barbara of Webster and 5 siblings, Brenda Boyer of Sioux Falls, Joe (Karen) Boyer of Sioux Falls, Bonnie (Dave) Charron of Webster, Belinda (Bryan) Miller of Volga and Bobbi (Dave) Edson of Snoqualmie, WA., his brother in law Ron Eastep of Keystone and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his niece Ashley Charron of Webster.
Graveside services are scheduled for June 6, at 11:00 am at the Custer Cemetary on the north side of Custer off Highways 16/385. Following the services there will be lunch at Mt. Rushmore Brewing Company 140 Mt. Rushmore Road in Custer.
Memorials in Brian's name can be made to benefit the Custer YMCA; 644 Crook St.; Custer, SD 57730.