MCLAUGHLIN, S.D. (KELO) — A family and community in KELOLAND are remembering two people who touched countless lives.
Jesse Taken Alive, who was a former tribal chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, died Monday.
The 65-year-old, who was more commonly known as Jay, had also been teaching Lakota language and culture at McLaughlin School for the past several years.
His wife, 64-year-old Cheryl Taken Alive, passed away just over a month earlier.
Both tested positive for COVID-19 in late October and were hospitalized.
January second would’ve marked Jay and Cheryl Taken Alive’s 46th anniversary.
“If there is a silver lining to my father’s passing it’s the fact that both my mother and father are reunited,” Jay and Cheryl’s son Ira Taken Alive said.
Ira Taken Alive says COVID-19 contributed to the death of his parents, but if you ask him, his father ultimately succumbed to something else after living without the woman he called his backbone.
“If you could put “heartbroken” on a death certificate, that’s what my dad’s death certificate would read,” Taken Alive said.
Ira says he’ll remember his parents most for their selflessness and compassion.
“It’s amazing and heartwarming to see, although we’re going to miss them, to see how they impacted lives beyond my siblings and me or our family. That gives us a lot of comfort and a lot of peace that they were so well-loved by everybody. Even though we thought they gave everything to us they had enough to share with a lot of people,” Taken Alive said.
Not only were Cheryl and Jay parents to five children, but they were also grandparents and great grandparents.