Graveside services for Brenda Lea Leighton Vanderwalker and inurnment were held at the Winner Cemetery in Winner, SD on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 with Rev. Morris Gustafson officiating.
Brenda was born to Wilford Sr. (Bud) and Belva Jean Leighton on Nov. 25, 1958. The eldest of 3 children, she grew up in Witten, SD and graduated from Wood High School. Following high school, Benda married Jeff Hanson of Witten. They resided in Colome, SD and were blessed with three sons: Jason, Jamey and John. Brenda and Jeff parted ways and Brenda later married Richard Vanderwalker of White River, where she worked as a dietician at the White River Healthcare Center.
Brenda studied at Sinte Gleska University to pursue a career in teaching. After Richard passed away, she remained in White River and completed her college education. Along the way she met and fell in love with August (Augie) Chasing Horse. While working as a teacher at the White River Elementary School, Brenda continued to pursue her higher education, including certification in special education. She was a life-long learner and passionate about the kids she worked with.
Brenda shared the remainder of her life with Augie, traveling when she could, spending time with family, going to movies and listening to Elvis (she may have been his #1 fan.)
Brenda Lea Leighton-Vanderwalker passed away on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 with her best friend August Chasing Horse and son Jason Hanson at her side.
She is survived by her life partner August Chasing Horse of White River; sons: Jason (Crystal) Hanson of Pierre, SD, Jamey Hanson of Brookings, SD and John (Bobbie Jo) Hanson of Loretto, WI; parents Bud and Jean Leighton of Winner, SD; sister Vicki (Jim) Supik of Winner and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family.
Brenda was preceded in death by her brother Wilford Eugene Leighton, Jr and spouse Richard Vanderwalker.