Garnett Black Bear, Sr.


Funeral services for Garnett Black Bear, Sr., 86, of Green Grass, were held Tuesday, May 21, at 10:00 a.m., MDT, at the  Cultural Center, Eagle Butte, with his brother, Rev. Gerald Yellow Hawk and Rev. Norman Blue Coat officiating. Burial was at 3:00 p.m. at Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, under the direction of Stout Family Funeral Home, Mobridge. Garnett entered the spirit world May 13, 2013, in Green Grass as a result of a motor vehicle accident. The Cheyenne River Veteran’s Association served as casketbearers and also performed military honors. Wakinyan Maza performed as the drum group. Friends and family met at the 4-mile Jct. at 4:00 p.m. Monday to process to the cultural center for wake services beginning at 7:00 p.m. Garnett entered the spirit world May 13, 2013, in Green Grass.

Garnett Phillip Black Bear, better known as “Buzzy”, was born September 27, 1926, in Chase, South Dakota to Charlie and Annie (Elk Head) Black Bear. His parents were married by the old Lakota way of pre-arranged marriage by their parents. His father Chester died while he was still young.

Buzzy grew up in Green Grass, South Dakota and attended Green Grass Day School. He rode rough stock horses before the bareback rigging was invented in rodeos.

He was not yet 16 years old when war broke out in the South Pacific. With his mother’s hesitant consent, he entered into the U.S. Navy. Buzzy got on board the battleship U.S.S. Colorado and fought in the Second World War where he was wounded in action and was awarded the Purple Heart. He was honorably discharged after the war.

Garnett married Helen Hayes and to this union eight children were born: Sharon, Garnett, Debra, Vincent, Leona, Linda, Karen and Charles.

Garnett worked hard all of his life, working as a mechanic attached to the 28th Transportation Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base. He retired with over 30 years of combined service.  He was a member of the Grey Eagle Society, Black Hills Treaty Council, Cheyenne River Elder Nutrition Program Board Member and the Red Feather Society (Warriors Wounded in Combat).

After retiring, Garnett came home where he lived out the balance of his life. He helped raise many of his grandchildren, and today, some of those he helped raise, have families of their own. Buzzy enjoyed listening to Lakota music, beadwork, playing bingo and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.

Garnett is survived by his children, Sharon Black Bear, Rapid City, SD, Garnett Black Bear, Jr., Rapid City, SD, Vincent Black Bear, Green Grass, SD, Debra (Delwin) Bowker, Eagle Butte, SD, Alecia Black Bear, Mitchell, SD, Yolanda Black Bear, Porcupine, SD and Lewis Black Bear, Eagle Butte, SD; also surviving is his brother, Gerald (JoAnn) Yellow Hawk, Rapid City, SD and grandchildren, Garnett M., and Lori, whom he helped raise and Roperto Reyes, Jr. along with over 30 other grandchildren and over 90 great grandchildren including Heleina, Angel Gonzales and Jose Gonzales.

Garnett was preceded in death by four children, Leona Howard, Linda Black Bear, Charles Black Bear and Karen Black Bear who died in infancy; four siblings, Clifford Black Bear, Freida Good Bear, Goldie Bear and Carrie “Dollie” Wilcutts.

It is a sad day when we say “Toksa” to our elders. And so for now, we say farewell to our father, grandfather, uncle and brother. Your work is finished; go rest in that quiet place. Mitakuye Owas’in.


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