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Wayne L. Ducheneaux

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Ducheneaux-webMass of Christian Burial for Wayne L. Ducheneaux, age 76 of Eagle Butte was held at 10 a.m., MT, Saturday, December 29, 2012 at the Eagle Butte Auditorium. A Prayer service was held at 7 p.m. Friday with visitation starting at 6 p.m. at All Saints Catholic Church in Eagle Butte. Kesling Funeral Home of Mobridgewas in charge of arrangements.

Wayne Leo Ducheneaux I was born at home September 25th, 1936 in old Armstrong County, South Dakota. On that fall day in a house south of the old Cheyenne Agency, Wayne’s mother said to his oldest sister, “Joan, you need to look after your brothers while I do something.” Some time later Babe emerged from the bedroom with the newest member of the family to find Joan preparing breakfast for brothers Bud and John. Wayne’s parents were Frank and Ellen “Babe” (Claymore) Ducheneaux.

On December 17, 2012, Wayne succumbed to cancer after a year long battle. He died with family at his side in Mobridge, SD. Along with his parents, Wayne was preceded in death by his daughter Lisa Marie Farlee, grandson Austin Dale Anderson, sister Joan LeBeau, brothers Henry Dale “Bud”, John, and Anthony Claire. Beyond his loving wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, he is survived by brothers Franklin, Greg and Les, and sisters Karen Nitzschke, Lorna Rochelle, and Candace. The fourth of 11 siblings, Wayne’s formative years were spent doing a man’s work at a boy’s age on the family ranch. Teams and wagons provided horsepower for ranch operations and transportation to and from Boarding School at the Old Agency.

Wayne met many lifelong friends before he left school at 15. He proudly made his own way in the world from that day forward. He lived with Uncle Leonard and Aunt Sybil Claymore for a while and stayed briefly with his sister Joan, in Belcourt, ND. After a short stint working in the oilfields and at a car dealership in Newcastle, WY, Wayne joined the United States Marine Corps in 1954. He attained the rank of “Buck” Sergeant while serving in San Diego and Okinawa. He was honorably discharged in 1957 and moved home to help on the family ranch. Working with his father Frank, Wayne was able to get his own start in ranching.

In July of 1960, Wayne met two folks who would forever impact his life, Leo Fischer and Regina Rousseau. Leo ended up being not only Wayne’s brother-in-law but his best friend. Over five-plus decades they discovered and cultivated many common interests, including playing cribbage and chess, and playing guitars and singing. They enjoyed a friendly rivalry in everything from turning old tires inside out and stacking hay to a “deal” that the last man standing would sing “Amazing Grace” at the other’s funeral. Ever “Woodrow” to Wayne’s “Augustus,” Leo was one of the last to visit Wayne in Mobridge.

Regina Rose Rousseau would go on to become Wayne’s wife. The story of their “love at first sight” meeting is a true Wayne classic, and it is widely known that he cherished her more than life itself. A couple months after they met, Wayne won a bull riding and used his prize money to buy Regina an engagement ring. They were married in Ridgeview, SD on November 26th, 1960. Wayne and Regina began their new life at Wayne’s place in Old Armstrong County, 20 miles west of today’s Ducheneaux Ranch.

Between 1963 and 1979, Wayne and Regina had seven children: Colette Ann (Peter “Buck” Reule), Lisa Marie (Jerry Keith Farlee), Lorelei Dale (Marty Anderson), Zachary Wayne (Jenn Zeller), Guthrie Leo, Wayne Leo II and Bud Henry (Kirsten Myren). Each of Wayne’s children counts his or her siblings and their parents to be among their best friends. Wayne would always consider this to be one of his greatest accomplishments.

In 1968, Wayne got the opportunity to purchase the family ranch from Frank and jumped at it. He moved his new family to the place where they all now call home. He was actively engaged in his ranching career until his death. Wayne raised everything from purebred registered Hereford cattle to a motley herd of “braymers” and longhorns, but the Quarter Horse herd he developed was his pride and joy.

Shortly after starting his family, Wayne began a career of public service that would continue in some manner until his death. Even after he left the Cheyenne River Housing Authority in 2008 after serving as executive director for 17 years, Wayne acted as a consultant to Tribal officials and other entities. He began his political career as a Cheyenne River Council Representative. He served as Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe from 1974 to 1978, and again from 1986-1990. He was elected President of the National Congress of American Indians in 1989 and served a two-year term.

Wayne’s accomplishments on behalf of not only his people but native peoples throughout the country and indigenous people around the world, are far too numerous to list. Suffice it to say his impact far exceeds anyone’s estimation of what he’s done. He had an unsurpassed blend of humility, compassion, integrity, and honesty and a no-nonsense leadership style that earned him the Lakota name “Itazipa Owotonla” or Straight Shooter.

In 1982 Wayne entered a new – perhaps his favorite – chapter in life. With the birth of his first grandchild, Jill Daye, he and Regina became “Poppy and Granny,” nicknames borne with great pride. Following Jill, Poppy and Granny were blessed with grandchildren Shari Marie, Jaymie Lee, Meredith Ellen, Cindy Marie, Kelsey Rose, Jade Keith, Kathryn Leigh, Austin Dale, Julissa Kae, Calico Lois, Ty Zachary, Augustus Wayne, and great grandchildren Lauryn Kade andDamien Edward “Sun”, as well as Eulayla Rose and Jetta Jaymz. He was also Poppy to Keith and Lyndsey Anderson, Alexandra Dolezal, Shayne Ashley Farlee, Evan Walker Dolphus, Tia and Kaya Pearman, Kamee Mareska, and Tabitha Reule. Whether “Dad,” “Poppy,” Grandpa Wayne,” “Uncle Wayne,” simply “Wayne,” or even “Mr. D.,” he always had time for a hug and a shared smile.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed towards the Lisa Farlee Memorial Scholarship c/o the State Bank of Eagle Butte or a charity of your choice.

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