Gabriel Medicine Eagle, Sr., 69

Gabriel Allen Medicine Eagle, Sr. was born on March 18, 1951 in Rosebud, South Dakota to George and Matilda (Eagle Dog) Medicine Eagle.

He was raised by his maternal grandparents, Matthew and Addie (White Lark) Eagle Dog, and attended school in Ideal, SD up until the eighth grade. He went to the Rosebud Boarding School and attended Todd County High School in Mission.

For a period of time he was sent off to live with his Uncle Noah Grass Rope to learn the ways of a medicine man as the family expected him be a spiritual leader for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. During the final years of the Vietnam War, Gabe enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a corpsman (medic) and then became a torpedo man on the USS Fort Knox, a destroyer escort. He was stationed in San Diego and Pearl Harbor.

He married Viola Old Lodge on March 1972 in Ideal.

After a tubular miscarriage, the doctor said Vi would not be able to have children which proved true. However, near the very end of her life she had a medical procedure and learned that her tubes were tied years earlier against her knowledge or wishes.

Such stories of forced sterilization are unfortunately common to native people. In 1977, Gabe’s sister Leah gave birth to a little boy. Gabe and Vi adopted this little boy, named him Gabe Jr. and raised him as their own. He remains their only child.

After being discharged from the Navy, Gabe Sr. enrolled in Springfield Vo-Tech and then Mitchell Vo-Tech and became a certified mechanic. They lived in Ideal, South Dakota.

For several years he struggled through the difficulty of employers not wanting to hire natives but eventually was hired at Westside Tire in Winner. He then worked at Harry K Ford in Winner as their only Ford Master Technician for seventeen years.

In 1984 at the wake for his mother in law, Ruth, a visiting Christian Pastor Ed and Darlene Schupan introduced Viola to the Jesus and she became a Christian confessing Jesus as her Savior and Lord.

The Schupans held Bible studies in Gabe and Vi’s two-room green house in Ideal, often long into the night. Initially Gabe scoffed and drank beer and blew his cigarette smoke in Rev. Schupan’s direction. He always laughed when telling that part of his testimony. However, he came to discover Jesus wasn’t a white man, nor was Christianity a white man’s religion. He was able to separate the treatment of natives by the so-called Christian/Catholic Church, from the person of Jesus. Gabe discovered Jesus was from the tribe of Judah and the only name under heaven given unto men by which we can be saved.

He made the decision one night to give his life to Jesus and follow him. He poured out his beer and threw his cigarettes in the trash and never touched either again the rest of his life. As Pastor Schupan was a Navy Seal, and as Gabe was a Navy man, they soon hit it off and Gabe was discipled by his pastor friend.

As their home Bible study grew, they also grew spiritually and soon Gabe and Vi started a church, Shekinah Glory Chapel in Ideal, SD under the covering of the Pentecostal Church of God.

For over twenty-five years, God used them mightily on the reservation, nationally and to several foreign countries to do God’s work. His passion and love for the youth was evident as he and Vi hosted an annual camp meeting at Ghost Hawk Park in Rosebud for nearly three decades.

He also served as the chairman of the Rosebud Boarding School for six years.

Early on, Gabe and Vi led Bible studies each night of the week in the various Rosebud communities, Friday night services in the council chambers, revival services in community halls in Winner, Mission and Parmelee.

They hosted annual Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners in Winner that fed over 300-500 people at each meal. Gabe was a keynote speaker at the men’s Promise Keepers Conferences in Rapid City, SD and in Casper, WY. He became covenant brothers with several white ministers and they traveled to spread the message of reconciliation between God and man, and between red and white peoples.

They led many strategic reconciliation events and prayer summits throughout South Dakota and nationally, from Plymouth Rock all the way west. They sought to be “repairers of the breech.”

In 2004, he and Vi and other national Christian Native leaders worked with Sen. Sam Brownback to bring the resolution to Congress containing the apology to Native people which was signed in 2010 by President Obama. The resolution referenced past injustices, breaking of treaties, the years of depredations and of the wrongdoings by the US government against Native peoples.

When speaking with his nieces and nephews they can share many wonderful memories of how they traveled with them across Indian country to other camp meetings, youth activities and always made holidays special for the kids.

He loved fishing and hunting with his son Gabe Jr, his grandkids and friends. He was an amazing dad, uncle and papa and faithful husband to Viola for 39 years. She died Jan. 6, 2011.

After the passing of his beloved wife Vi, God’s work continued to take him to many different places, and he operated in all the fivefold ministries. His season alone was short-lived as God led him to Colleen Fisher.

They were married in September of 2013. Gabe and Colleen traveled to Washington DC for the All Tribes DC National Native Day of Prayer in 2016 and 2017.

In June of 2019, Gabe and Colleen were invited to tour the nine reservations in South Dakota where they spent time in communities praying and serving the people. His work was at an international, national and statewide level. His love for the Sicangu Nation was abundant as he loved to serve the people at a local level too.

He was also a community chairman and was elected to the Rosebud Tribal Council. He served on the Board of Regents at Sinte Gleska University at the time of his passing.

Precious to Colleen was his laugh and joyful spirit and all the time they spent together in ministry and traveling. During these last few years of his life, he attended and supported the White Horse Ministries in Mission, SD and the Keystone Ministry in Keystone, SD.

He developed heart problems and needed various procedures and yet he remained quite mobile to the very end. Pastors JR and Mema Boyd and Pastor Steve Hickey will be officiating the memorial and life celebration services and remembering him as Gabe the Good-Hearted.

He was an invited VIP guest at President Trump’s July 3rd visit to Mt. Rushmore and Gabe had a heart attack there at Mt Rushmore shortly after the fireworks.

Only a few hours earlier he said on Facebook live, “This is kind of a historical moment for native people. As far as even personally, for me, things I get to see before I go into the next world. When I get to the next world, I’ll have some stories to tell.”

Gabe’s life was celebrated in an Honor Service on Monday at 1 pm , July 13 at Bethel Church in Rapid City; at a vigil service which was on Tuesday July 14 2020 at the Carpenter Shop/White Horse Ministry in Mission; and a Celebration of Life service at 11am Wednesday, July 15, with a burial following at the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Veterans Cemetery. Wopila.

Lois Holmberg, 74

Lois Jean (Sieh) Holmberg was born in Burke, South Dakota on June 16, 1946, the daughter of Harold and Edna (Fuhrman) Sieh. She grew up on a farm outside of Herrick, South Dakota. She attended school in Herrick and Burke, South Dakota. During high school, Lois was in the Job’s Daughters and served as Honored Queen. Lois was homecoming queen as a senior for Burke High School and graduated in 1964.

Lois was united in marriage to Norman Holmberg on Sept. 5, 1964, and began married life on a farm north of Dallas, South Dakota. During their forty-two-year marriage, three daughters were born: Cheryl in 1965, Carey in 1967, and Charlene in 1970.

Life on the farm was busy with raising chickens, maintaining a large garden, and raising three daughters. In 1970, they moved from the house on the hill down to the main farmhouse. Lois also enjoyed raising large flower gardens, cooking, decorating cakes, and sewing. Norman and Lois enjoyed card parties and going dancing with their friends.

Norman and Lois were members of the Gregory United Methodist Church, where she was a member of the Ruth Circle, and a Sunday school teacher. Lois was an active member of band boosters while her three daughters were part of the band program at Gregory High School.

Lois was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star for over 50 years, originally initiated into Chapter 101 in Dallas, South Dakota, in 1967, with her final membership at Chapter 113 in Winner, South Dakota. She served a term as Worthy Matron. She was also Grand Esther of the Grand Chapter of Eastern Star in 1976 and Grand Representative of Florida from 1996 to 1998.

In 1977, Lois was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Lois took part in clinical trials for Betaseron – a medication that could reduce multiple sclerosis flare-ups. For several years, Lois was able to enjoy a remission from the severe symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Living more than half her life with this disease, Lois donated her body to science upon her death.

Norman passed away in May of 2006, and Lois moved into TLC Assisted Living Care Center in Burke. Lois resided here until August of 2011, when she moved to Avera Rosebud Country Care Center in Gregory, South Dakota. She resided here until her passing on July 9, 2020 at the age of 74.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Norman, sister Ruth, brother-in-law Harry Wagner, grandson Vance Johnson, and nephew David Wagner.

Survivors are her children Cheryl (Wes) Bachman, Carey (Dwight) Johnson, Charlene (Matt) Johnson; four grandchildren: Christopher Lindquist, Shelby Johnson, Vaughan Johnson, and Layne Johnson; her brother Don (Connie) Sieh, sister Judith Sieh, and brother Charles (Nancy) Sieh. Many nephews, nieces, cousins, other relatives, and friends also survive Lois.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Gary Leach, 85

Gary D. Leach passed away at the age of 85 in Loomis, CA. on July 8.

Gary was born on Sept. 29, 1934 in Mission, South Dakota to Florence Barnes Leach and Robert Crowder Leach. Gary spent his youth growing up in Winner. After high school, he became a cook in the US Army and spent his service mostly in Okinawa, Japan. Later Gary received his degree in business at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He became a Husker fan to the end.

Gary’s ability to communicate well, lead to a successful work experience with Glidden Paint. He married Joan Dell Mackaman and they raised two sons, Jim and Tom. Gary had a love for the beauty in nature. He enjoyed hunting pheasants, fishing, grilling new foods, and he was an avid golfer.

He loved sauerkraut, pickles, baked beans, and corn; and was a terrific dancer.

He will be remembered most for his perpetual smile, his incredible memory of people and places, his tremendously positive outlook on life, and his kind and compassionate spirit.

Gary was preceded in death by his father, Bob, his mother Florence, and his wife of over 40 years, Joan.

He is survived by his two sons Jim (Veronica), their children Brad and Holly; Tom and his two sons Kraig and Scotty; his sister Jean (Gary Stickland) and their children Kara and Mike; several cousins, nieces and nephews; and his friend and partner Susan Smith.

A private family memorial will be held at the Winner Cemetery in Winner

Kimber Bell, 65

Kimber “Kim” Lee Bell was born July 7, 1955, in Winner, SD, to Eddie Lee and Lee “Verdean” (Klein) Bell. He graduated from Winner High School in 1973, and went on to college at SDSU and NSU, participating in the ROTC program.

Eventually, Kim went to work as a trucker, and trucked for many years. After his accident, he went looking for a place to build his log house, and decided to put it right next to the interstate, just in case he decided to go back to trucking, because that would give him easy access to the road. He was later self-employed, working heavy equipment building roads.

Whatever Kim did, he worked hard and gave his all. Kim was everyone’s “hero.” No matter who you were, he would always take the time to stop and just listen, and no matter what the circumstances, he thought of others before himself.

He was a giver, not a taker. Kim had a tremendous passion for two things – old cars and bass fishing. No one can remember a time when Kim bought anything new, as he would rather fix up something himself. This translated to his love of cars, believing in working hard to restore old to new. His latest was his green 1957 Ford Ranch Wagon.

However, when it came to fishing, that was his time to relax. He loved fishing the stock dams near Winner, and the lies and stories that came afterwards were always a joy to listen to. The solitude at the pond was what it was all about to him, second only to the competition amongst the whole family when it came to fishing.

On any given Sunday afternoon during football season, Kim could be found watching his beloved Chicago Bears. He was a die-hard fan, and he refused to have company on Sundays, because there was always a game to be watched. Above all, Kim was a writer.

He always had a unique way with words, and everyone looked forward to a letter from him. His words were so wise, sincere, and straight from the heart, reminding his friends and family how loved and cherished they were.

On Monday, July 13, 2020, Kim passed away at his home in Piedmont, SD. He put up a hell of a fight to beat cancer, and succeeded for five years longer than he was supposed to. He never complained about the journey, and he never lost that determination to live until his very last breath.

Kim touched the lives of all who knew him, and will be deeply missed by each and every one.

He is survived by his sisters, Debbie Robinson, Cindy (Jerry) Haskell, and Amy (Bill) Reiser; his brother, Randy (DeEtte) Bell; niece, Sadie; nephews, Chad, Charlie, Luke, Tye, Corey, Bryce, Preston, Nick, and Brandon; and a host of other family members and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ed and Verdean Bell; grandparents, Lee and Lena Klein and Elmer and Hazel Bell; and his nephew, Kris Robinson.

Funeral services were held 10 a.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020, at Grace United Methodist Church in Piedmont, with Pastor John Britt officiating. Graveside services followed at Piedmont Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Piedmont Cemetery Association in Kim’s name. Condolences may be sent to the family at

A Historic Day at Mount Rushmore

By Governor Kristi Noem
July 10, 2020

On July 3rd, South Dakota got to showcase our state to not only the rest of the nation but also the world. For the first time in more than a decade, we celebrated America’s birthday with fireworks at Mount Rushmore. The excitement leading up to the event could be felt by everyone in attendance. Over just three days, more than 125 thousand people tried to get tickets to the event, and the lucky 7,500 who witnessed it in person saw quite a show.

South Dakotans know just how beautiful and magnificent the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore are, but it was wonderful to share them with millions of viewers from around the globe. Early estimates suggest more than 5.5 million people tuned in to watch our celebration on just one cable news network.

Our team at the Department of Tourism spent countless hours pulling together this great event. The Department of the Interior’s Secretary David Bernhardt was instrumental in helping us overcome countless obstacles to make it a reality. And of course, none of this would have been possible without President Trump’s dedication to making this event happen. Before I was even sworn in as Governor, I asked for his help to bring fireworks back to Mount Rushmore, and he went to work on it immediately.

In addition to the wonderful fireworks display, we were also thrilled to be the audience for President Trump’s best ever speech. It was unifying and focused on his dedication to the things that make America the greatest country in the world. But he also warned of a sinister threat to that greatness: the radical movement to re-write American history.

Make no mistake, this movement is not about equality. This movement’s attempt to “cancel” the founding generation is an attempt to cancel our own freedoms. Our Founders had their flaws, certainly. But every person has flaws. Without our Founders’ words, ideals, and sacrifice, the world would not have a ringing example of true freedom. We can write, worship, work, defend ourselves, and even protest as we see fit because of these men and their ideals.

That’s what the celebration of America’s birthday is about. It’s about our core American ideal: “All men are created equal.” It’s about the day our ideal was forever enshrined in one of the most important statements of purpose ever written, the Declaration of Independence. It’s about the work of countless brave men and women, including the four presidents enshrined on Mount Rushmore, to live up to that ideal and make America the greatest country ever.

Everyone who tuned in for our celebration also learned about South Dakota’s commitment to that American ideal, to freedom, and to trusting our citizens to exercise their personal responsibility to do what’s best for themselves and their loved-ones. Let us, like our Founding Fathers, pledge our own lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the cause of liberty and self-government, so that we may continue to have the freedom to follow our consciences, build our lives, and live in peace.

And let’s continue to celebrate America’s birthday with fireworks at Mount Rushmore!

School set to reopen

By Dan Bechtold

Mike Calhoon was re-elected chairman of the Winner School Board at Monday’s meeting.

Scott Meiners was re-elected vice chairman as the school board started its new term.

Taking their seats on the board and taking their oath of office were Nelle Schlomer and Rusty Blare. They were elected to the board in the June 30 election.

Bill Mann was appointed to a one-year term on the board to fill the unexpired term of Haley Barfuss who has taken a position as middle school guidance counselor for the school district.

School board committee assignments include:
Buildings and grounds—Bill Mann, Rusty Blare and Scott Meiners
Finance committee—Mike Calhoon, Scott Meiners and Steve Kubik
Curriculum and personnel—Julie Manke, Nelle Schlomer and Bill Mann
Negotiations committee—Manke, Kubik and Schlomer
Calendar committee—Meiners, Blare and Schlomer
Amended consent decree—Calhoon, Kubik and Manke
Administrative assignments for the school term are:
Trust/agency—Laura Root and Cathy Ducheneaux
Title I, II and VI—Kim DeMers and Keven Morehart
Title IX-Morehart, Gerald Witte, Dan Aaker and Brian Naasz
PL 94-142 SPED—Naasz and Morehart
Section 504/ADA coordination—DeMers and Morehart
Title VII impact aid—Root, Morehart
Asbestos—Root, Morehart
Food Service—Root,Morehart
Facilities management—Orville Schroeder, Morehart, Naasz, Witte and Aaker
District technology—Witte and Brett Gardner
Truancy offciers—Morehart, Witte, Aaker and Naasz

Continuation of amended consent decree—Morehart and DeMers

The school board held a lengthy discussion on the opening of school.
Plans are for school to open on Aug. 20 with in person instruction in the classroom.

Students have not been in the classroom since early March due to COVID-19.

The local well start committee is working on coming up with a plan for the opening of school and guidelines to follow to stop the spread of the virus.

A public forum on the start of school will be held July 30 at 7 p.m. in the Armory where the school board will present the back to school plan.

Prior to the public meeting, there will be a special school board meeting at 6 p.m. July 30 in the high school chorus room.

Chairman Calhoon said parents he has talked to want school to open and the children to be in the classroom.

Supt. Morehart explained other school districts around the state are coming up with plans on what they plan to do to open school.

School board members said they need to be proactive and communicate with the community on the opening of school.

Dan Aaker, Winner School Activities director, sits on the South Dakota High School Activities Association committee that is coming up with guidelines for the start of fall sports.

In other business at Monday’s meeting the school board:
•Approved the chairperson as custodian of all legal depositories of all district accounts. Supt. Morehart and business manager Root remain on all legal depositories.
•Designated the official depositories of school funds to include BankWest, First Fidelity Bank, Sentinel Federal Credit Union and Wells Fargo bank.
•Authorize the business manager to invest and reinvest funds in institutions which serves the greatest advantage to the school district.
•Designated the Winner Advocate as the official newspaper of the school district
•Set date, time and place for regular school board meetings as the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in Room 200 at Winner High School
•Set salaries of school board members as $45 for regular meetings and $25 for special meetings for the chairman and $40 for regular meetings and $20 for special meetings for the board members.
•Set mileage, meals and lodging rates at state rates
•Authorize the publication of salaries
•Designate Rodney Freeman as the school attorney
•Set admission charges for the 2020-2021school year at $5 for adults, $3 for students for regular season events
•Authorize Supt. Morehardt to close school in emergency situations and in case of inclement weather
•Approve Laura Root’s contract as business manager
•Approve nursing service contract with Universal Pediatrics
•Approve school lunch and breakfast prices and there will be no change from the price charged last year.

In additional business, the school board approved the contract of Cyndy DeMers as the assistant dance coach.

Unique Sound of White received the bid to install a new sound system in the Armory. The firm’s bid was $16,498.

The school board canvassed the June 30 school board election.

The board approved the surplus and sale of 325 laptop computers.

Prior to the regular meeting, a public hearing was held on the 2020-2021 budget.

The budget totals $9,341,417 which is an increase of $490,417 from last year’s budget.

The general fund budget is $6,292,890 and the capital outlay budget is $1,400,000.

The special education budget is $1,259,58.

The school district will receive $2,232,158 in state aid based on a projection of 675 students.

he Winner School District will receive $260,267 in federal CARES funding.

This is funding to off set losses due to the coronavirus. The school district has a plan how to use this money.

Elks Rodeo is Set

The 51st annual Winner Elks Rodeo will be held July 24, 25, 26 at the Tripp County Rodeo Arena.

The rodeo is a benefit for LifeScape outreach program which serves children statewide from centers in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

New this year is an outstanding specialty act from Ponotoc, Mississippi. This act is sponsored in part by Elevate Agronomics of Winner. Nationally known performer Tim “Wild Thang” Lepard and his Team Ghost Riders will entertain the crowd with his capuchin monkeys riding border collies and herding rams into a pen.
Kids will love watching the monkeys dressed up as cowboys. Little E, short for Elvis, is a character and likes to show off. Fans are welcome to bring oranges, apples, bananas and monkey chow, plus bones and liver treats for the dogs. Wild Thang performs at 30-something minor league baseball games a year. He also does half time shows at the NFL. Up until this year when Covid hit, Lepard is on the road 360 days a year. Two years ago, Hollenbeck Rodeo had the pleasure of working a rodeo with Wild Thang and Team Ghost Riders. He calls his animals the Ghost Riders because watching them is like looking at a ghost. You just can’t believe what you’re seeing!

Coming back to the Winner Elks Rodeo is funnyman Adam “Jelly Bean” Carlson from Brainerd, MN. Being a former high jumper and track athlete helps him bring high energy to every show with an upbeat tempo. Adam is a health and physical education teacher and coaches track at Aitkin High School. Adam brings out his inner “Jelly Bean” in class to create a fun learning environment for his students and to help get his lesson to stick.

The competition begins at 7:30 each night with over $35,000 in prize money in all standard events. To add to the excitement is a $1,000 bounty bull each night sponsored by Frontier Motors. The bull rider who has the highest score or if no score, rides the longest, gets a chance to ride the bounty bull. If he rides the bounty bull he wins $1,000. There will be a bounty bull all three nights with $1,000 up for grabs each night.

Ranch bronc riding has a $300 purse each night. The entry fee is $50. It is limited to six each night and persons can enter by calling 842-5830.

Due to Covid 19, the rodeo committee decided it was in the best interest of kids and adults to not have the muttin bustin and the candy scramble this year.

Rodeo stock is provided by Hollenbeck Rodeo Co. of Winner, named SDRA stock contractor of the year. The Hollenbecks have been the stock contractor since the first Elks Rodeo in 1969.

Calling the action will be SDRA Finals announcer, Alan Odden of Ft.Pierre. Dusty May of Creighton and Colton Kovarik, Kearney will be the bull fighters.

Winner BPO Does No. 238 will run the lunch stand, serving grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos and soft drinks. All food & drinks will be covered. Hand sanitizer will be available.

The Elks will have a beer stand. No coolers please.

There will be 50/50 tickets available each night & drawings held for beef certificates and SD lottery tickets.

The rodeo is sanctioned by the South Dakota Rodeo Association, Mid-States Rodeo Association, Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association and Nebraska State Rodeo Association and the WCRA.

Proceeds from the rodeo go to the outreach program for LifeScape which served children last year from Tripp County, 23 from Todd County, 10 from Mellette County, 7 from Jones County, 28 from Lyman County and 5 from Gregory County.

The rodeo started in 1969 under the leadership of four Winer Elks members–Bill Dillon, Vince Hollenbeck, Dick Kazda and Harold Jans. LifeScape, (then Crippled Childrens Hospital & School) had a traveling rehab unit that visited communities across the state providing clinics for children with physical disabilities, mostly polio.

In Winner, the clinics were held at the Elks Lodge. The four men were touched by the plight of the children and their families and decided to start a fundraising rodeo to help. The event has been held every year since with the event raising well over $250,000 over the years.

Admission at the gate is $12; advance tickets are $10. Kids 10 and under attend for free.