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Thank Albert 'Red' Zarecky for some of the fun children's exhibits and activities at the South Dakota Discovery Center in Pierre. Photo by Bernie Hunhoff.
Thank Albert "Red" Zarecky for some of the fun children's exhibits and activities at the South Dakota Discovery Center in Pierre. Photo by Bernie Hunhoff.

Thanks, Red

Jan 9, 2013

Last winter, the Hunhoffs all gathered for a family weekend in Pierre with kids and grandkids. The little tykes splashed in the pool and raced around the capitol on a quiet Saturday afternoon when there was no one there. But we had the most fun at the South Dakota Discovery Center, a children's activity center located in an old city water plant on the west side of town, near the river.
The grandkids made sand art, constructed a wood dinosaur puzzle, spoke in a whispering dish, crawled through a tree house and had all sorts of other fun. Most of the exhibits were simple and sturdy. I wondered who made them.
Today I was reading the Pierre Capital Journal and came across the picture of a kindly fellow named Albert "Red" Zarecky. It accompanied his obituary.
Red was a retired pharmacist, age 93 when he died Jan. 5, "at his home, surrounded by family." He grew up at Flandreau, served with the Marines in the South Sea Islands during WWII and then studied pharmacy at SDSU. He ran the Corner Drug in Pierre, and later, the city's first Walgreens. 
Red retired in 1976, some 37 years ago. And that was just a beginning. He started working with wood. He built two homes and remodeled his own. Then he started making toys and gifts for children, friends and neighbors. Every Christmas, he made a special gift for grandchildren. And he made handcrafted gifts of wood for every grandchild's high school graduation — keepsakes that will be passed down through the generations.
Finally, a paragraph near the end of the obituary noted that Red made many of the children's exhibits at the Discovery Center.
It's pretty amazing how one person's talents can spread to so many — even a talent developed after retirement. Thanks Red, on behalf of my grandkids. Wish I'd had the chance to meet you.


07:31 am - Wed, January 9 2013
Heidi said:
It is so fun knowing that the toys and projects at the Discovery Center are made in our state and not ordered from a catalog. Woodworking is sadly becoming a lost art. Hopefully a few of Red's grandkids or kids took the time to learn the trade with him.
06:28 am - Tue, January 15 2013
Lynn Beck said:
As a South Dakota Discovery Center board member and a family freind of the Zarecky family I charish the craftsmanship Red put into the exhibits he built at the SDDC. Thanks Red.
06:38 am - Tue, January 15 2013

Thank you so much for noticing that Red had built many of our exhibits. They are beloved by many that visit us. To attest to his skill and craftsmanship, he built most of them over 20 years ago and they are still some of the favorites.

I don't know if Red's skills were passed on to his family, but his heart and generosity are still alive in them as they teach and volunteer throughout the community.

We are so thankful Red shared his talents with our Center.

Kristie Maher, Executive Director, SD Discovery Center
07:53 am - Tue, January 15 2013
Kay Hyde said:
My sisters and brothers are all so appreciative of the klind words about the work dad did for the Discovery Center. He was always so glad to do projects for them. It warms our hearts to see that his work has brought so much joy to so many. Kay Zarecky Hyde
02:26 pm - Tue, January 15 2013
Brett Hyde said:
My grandpa showed/taught me most of what I know, and gave me the "eye" for building things. He was an amazing man. I now have an audio company starting up in Denver, and his influence is displayed in everything I touch. I love you, grampa!!
01:49 am - Wed, January 16 2013
Ellen Lee said:
Red was full of life, humor, and he really cared about people. He was important right from the beginning of the SD Discovery Center and I am so grateful he did gave his talents to exhibits my kids..and now grandkids..enjoyed.
07:47 pm - Wed, February 6 2013
Daniel Morrison said:
While we lived in Pierre , my kids enjoyed the exhibits at the discovery center..The office where I worked had roll top desks made by Red. I'm not real sure but I do believe Reds brother also cut my hair in Flandreau where I grew up till I was 5 years old.....

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