Duane Dale Big Eagle, Sr.
September 8, 1949 – September 24, 2020
Funeral services for Duane Dale Big Eagle, Sr., 71, of Fort Thompson, SD, were held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Diamond Willow Ministries of Fort Thompson, SD.
Wake services were held at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, at Diamond Willow Ministries of Fort Thompson, SD.
Duane Dale Big Eagle, Sr., beloved father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, died peacefully on Sept. 24, 2020, due to complications from the Coronavirus.
Duane Dale Big Eagle, Sr. was born Sept. 8, 1949, at Pierre, SD, to John and Leona Big Eagle.
He was a descendant of Wanbdi Tanka, leader of a band of Mdewakanton Dakota Sioux from Minnesota.
He grew up in east Pierre in South Dakota and attended grade school in Pierre, SD. He then opted to travel throughout his teen years before obtaining his GED and a certificate in welding.
In August of 1973, he married the love of his life, Diane, whom he remained devoted to until her passing in November of 2013. Together Duane and Diane raised nine children, three grandchildren and cared for numerous foster children while opening their doors to all who needed a home.
Duane had an extraordinary life. He was an accomplished guitar player and singer and spent many years traveling to various towns as the lead singer in his country rock band.
Around 1978, he won his first election on tribal council for the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. Duane served several terms as Crow Creek Sioux Tribe tribal chairman before opening and operating the family-owned North Shore Bait Shop restaurant/bar. The bait shop became a gathering place for many stories of past shenanigans, new escapades and tons of laughs.
Duane was well-respected and made hundreds of friends over the years.
Once you became friends with Duane, you had a friend for life.
He was held in high regard by many tribal leaders throughout Indian country as well as local community members and tourists from many states around the United States who came to Fort Thompson, SD, camping, hunting, fishing or were just passing through.
His absence leaves a huge void in his community and his family who loved him dearly.
Grateful for having shared his life are his brother, Jerry “Dean” Big Eagle and Diana; a sister, Marilyn Big Eagle and Larry; his children, Marlys, Virginia, Eric, Sunny and Steven Martinez, Weston, Kristy, Micah and Duane “DJ,” Jr. and Sarah; 32 grandchildren, Maria, Mina, Eric, Jr. “EJ,” Evelyn, Parker, River, Kori, Sapphire, Nicolette, Theron, Hunter, Jalyssa, Jerrod, Cory, Jr., Dale, Justice, Riddick, Kingston, Liam, Diana, Trudy, Darius, Jerome, Alyssa, Jubilee, Tate, Alaina, Erickson, Treyvon, Desmond, Elijah and Rainbow; three great grandchildren, Layton, Aliya and Carson and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and friends too numerous to count.
He was preceded in death by his “Queen Bee,” his wife, Diane Big Eagle; his parents, John and Leona Big Eagle; brothers, John “Terry” Big Eagle and Patrick “Pat” Big Eagle; sisters, Rita Big Eagle and Colleen Big Eagle; his sons, Paul Ziegler and Cory Big Eagle and his beloved grandson, Brendyn Levi Big Eagle.
Hickey Funeral Chapel of Chamberlain, SD, was in charge of arrangements.
The obituary may be seen at www.hickeyfuneralchapel.com.