Sioux Falls, SD
The matriarch of Crazy Horse Memorial leaves a lasting impact on South Dakota leaders as Ruth Ziolkowski helped make the monument a national draw.
"It's the kind of thing that reminds us all about the importance of having a vision and not being too afraid to think really, really big," Gov. Dennis Daugaard said.
During Ruth Ziolkowski's life, she carried the work of her husband through many governors, working with them while she carved an entire mountain in the Black Hills.
"I was honored to call her a friend, I think she was one of the most influential and important women that South Dakota has ever had the privilege of being home to," former Governor Mike Rounds said.
South Dakota's congressional delegation also deeply respected Ziolkowski.
Rep. Kristi Noem said: Ruth was an incredible asset to her community and to our state. In working tirelessly to move her family’s dream forward, she transformed the community around her and our state in a way that will be remembered for generations. She will be missed.
Senator Tim Johnson said: Since arriving that first summer in 1947, Ruth shared her beloved Korczak’s vision and dedication to the Crazy Horse Memorial dream with the same sense of determination, commitment, and passion. After Korczak’s death in 1982, Ruth and her family made a number of historic advancements with the carving as well as enhancing the project’s cultural and educational goals. In her own right, 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. Barb and I offer our heartfelt condolences to the Ziolkowski family.
Senator John Thune said: Ruth was an inspiring and driven individual. She was a transformative leader for the Crazy Horse monument and did so much more than just keep the dream alive. Kimberley’s and my thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends as they celebrate the life of this remarkable woman.