Community Mourns Passing of Travel & Tourism Advocate Julie Schmitz Jensen

Community Mourns Passing of Travel & Tourism Advocate Julie Schmitz Jensen


          The family of Julie Schmitz Jensen confirms the passing of long-time tourism and travel advocate Julie Schmitz Jensen. Jensen served more than 20 years during two stints leading Visit Rapid City, formerly known as the Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau. She was a member of numerous community boards and organizations that promoted Rapid City and the Black Hills as travel destinations and also promoted special community events and causes.

          Mayor Allender released the following statement regarding Jensen’s passing:

           “Julie Jensen was a tremendous force of good in the Rapid City community. Her work over the years with Visit Rapid City no doubt provided tremendous positive impact for our community – for residents and visitors alike.

           “Julie’s indomitable spirit, her outrageous optimism and her loyalty as a friend and colleague makes this loss especially difficult.

           “Rapid City mourns the loss of Julie Jensen. It will be impossible to replace her in our lives. We know that she will live on in our memories and lives, and in our community’s spirit, for years to come. And knowing her, without question, she would be urging us to “Do Big Things“ for Rapid City and the entire region.”

            Below is the City’s proclamation declaring October 27, 2021 as Julie Schmitz Jensen Day in Rapid City. The proclamation was presented at Jensen’s retirement social on the same day 

(Home page photo shows Julie Schmitz Jense, third from left, with Visit Rapid City staff on the occasion of Jensen’s retirement party October 27, 2021)


Executive Proclamation

Rapid City, South Dakota

Office of the Mayor

WHEREAS, Julie Schmitz Jensen has been a tireless advocate for the travel and tourism industry since the late 1970s when she began her visitor industry career in the administration of Governor Richard Kneip; and

WHEREAS, Julie’s career in the tourism and travel industry has included stints in Pierre, Sioux Falls and twice in Rapid City, the latter resulting in more than 20 years of combined service promoting local and area travel and tourism-related businesses and individuals; and

WHEREAS, Local tourism and travel businesses – from generational family-owned entities to new start-up experiences – could not find a stronger advocate in developing, promoting and marketing the visitor experience in Rapid City, the Black Hills and South Dakota, than Julie; and

WHEREAS, Julie served as executive director of the Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau from 1983 to 1997; left to raise her family, then returned in 2014 to usher in a new era for the local visitor experience, overseeing the rebranding of the Convention and Visitors Bureau as Visit Rapid City; and

WHEREAS, She engineered the ‘Do Big Things’ theme and mission that became recognized nationally and internationally and not only serves as an enduring promotion of our local visitor industry, but also symbolizes devotion, dedication and commitment with which Julie approaches each day and has defined her years of service to the community and citizens of Rapid City; and

WHEREAS, Julie is literally a force of nature, approaching every effort large or small with genuine energy, enthusiasm and excitement – a passionate advocate for the ‘great places and great faces’ of our region; and

WHEREAS, Julie Jensen has ‘DONE BIG THINGS’ for Rapid City and her contributions and legacy will have a lasting impact on the visitor industry locally, regionally, and statewide.

NOW, therefore, I, Steve Allender, Mayor of Rapid City, do hereby proclaim Wednesday, October 27, 2021, as

Julie Schmitz Jensen Day

In Rapid City, encouraging citizens of Rapid City and the surrounding area to recognize and honor the tireless contributions and efforts of Julie Jensen to our travel and tourism industry


IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the seal of the City of Rapid City this 27th day of October, 2021.

​​​ ​​​ ____________________________________

Steve Allender, Mayor

​​​​​​​Rapid City, South Dakota

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