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May 22, 2014 11:46 AM

Ruth Ziolkowski's Legacy

Custer, SD

Ruth Ziolkowski, long-time inspirational leader of Crazy Horse Memorial, died late Wednesday night with members of her family at her side.

Ziolkowski took over operations at the memorial in 1982 after her husband Korczak died. Ziolkowski said she never felt like she had a job working at the Crazy Horse Memorial, she had a way of life.

"(Ruth's legacy) will be as lasting as the stone her family has carved for decades," Gov. Dennis Daugaard said.

Korczak was the original sculptor and visionary for the memorial who started the memorial in 1947 to honor Native American culture. But Ziolkowski has been guiding the work since. Officials said a three-member executive management team is in place to continue the growth and development of the memorial.

"Ruth carved out her own legacy with her contagious smile, enduring courage, pioneering and humanitarian spirit, and unwavering dedication to the Memorial's completion and future mission," U.S. Senator Tim Johnson said.

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