William Carl Schuette of Highmore, South Dakota, is responsible for bringing more than 1,000 points of light to South Dakota. He was a pioneer in helping to bring electricity to rural citizens.
At age 18 in 1930, Schuette left his family in Illinois and came to South Dakota. He worked as a hired man until he was able to start his own ranch in 1935. The Schuette ranch started with only 14 cattle on a share agreement on one-half section of land. Today, the Schuette family continues to live on and operate this ranch, which has grown to more than 7,000 acres with 460 cattle.
As a young rancher, Bill worked to bring electricity to rural South Dakota. For many years, he was actively involved with the South Dakota Rural Electric Cooperative Association, serving on the board of directors, as vice president, and as president. On the national level, he was a member of the Power Use Committee. On the local level, Bill was a director and later president of the Ree Electric Cooperative.
In 1969, the South Dakota Rural Electric Association honored William Schuette as Man of the Year. The award was given to recognize Schuette for his lifetime contributions to rural electric programs in South Dakota.
He was one of the original members of the Hyde County Soil Conservation District. He also served on the Hyde County Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Committee. In 1987, he received the Range Manager of the Year Award from the South Dakota Society of Range Management.
He served on the stockholders advisory board with the Federal Land Bank of Omaha; was a director for the Federal Land Bank of Miller; and a director for the First National Bank of Miller.
Schuette has been a lifetime supporter of 4-H. He served on the church council and was treasurer of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Highmore. He was the clerk for the Lincoln Township Board and a member of the Lincoln Township School Board.
Although he did not have a high school education, William values education and has continued to educate himself by reading and being actively involved in his community.
William and his wife Marjorie have lived in Highmore for the past 12 years. He has five children: Robert Hirsch of Phoenix, Arizona; Leroy Schuette of Highmore, South Dakota; James Schuette of Highmore, South Dakota; Grace Peterson of Wyandotte, Oklahoma; and Dorothy Dean of Highmore, South Dakota.