CRAZY HORSE - Anne Ziolkowski Christensen rode her spirit horse from her Trail's End home early Friday, May 6, 2011. In her absence, a sign on her office door encourages you to "Live Each Day With Courage."
Her other life-guiding signs tell you that everything worth knowing is found in the Wizard of Oz, that chocolate will "buck you up," and horses – oh, those horses! – will cure what ails you.
"They are a type of therapy for me. When everything is bad and I'm having a rough day … you can go down there. They love you unconditionally. … There is a peacefulness with the old guys because they are very kind," she told student reporters at the 2011 Crazy Horse Journalism Workshop.
Anne thrived in caring for elderly and retired rodeo horses with her husband, Paul Christensen, at Trail's End, their home at Crazy Horse Memorial. They were married Sept. 23, 2000.
Born August 21, 1955, Anne Ruth Elizabeth was the sixth child of Crazy Horse sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Ruth Ziolkowski. Delivered at home, as were her nine siblings, her father named Anne for his mother. Of his girl with the eye-crinkling smile, Korczak said, "You'll have to watch out for Annie. She will steal your heart if you aren't careful."
After graduating in the last all-female St. Martin Academy class at Rapid City in 1973, Anne attended Black Hills State College at Spearfish. She worked at the St. Joseph's Indian School at Chamberlain, and in law enforcement before returning to Crazy Horse.
She and her brother Adam, together known as the "A-Team," used their father's "C-Z" brand for their herd of Angus and Holstein-cross cattle and black-and-white Galway Dutch Belted "Oreo" cows. They based the cattle operation near their parents' former dairy in Holstein Hollow.
Anne also directed operations of the memorial's visitor center and its centerpiece, the Indian Museum of North America. She said her parents started her interest in history by teaching her to read. "I was always curious about the old things here-like a cabin built on the site long ago, and the people mom and dad met."
They met famous and every day people, and Anne's duties included working with American Indian arts and crafts vendors, dancers, singers, writers and others contributing to cultural education programs and the annual Native Americans' Day activities at Crazy Horse.
Anne helped start such Crazy Horse traditions as the night blasts on the mountain carving to honor her parents' birthdays, the Gift from Mother Earth Celebration of Indian and Western art and the Crazy Horse Stampede. It is the only rodeo featuring Great Plains Indian Rodeo Association and PRCA competitions. The PRCA magazine deemed the Stampede one of the nation's best small rodeos.
Survivors include her husband, Paul Christensen; her mother and best friend, Ruth; siblings John, Dawn, Adam, Jadwiga, Casimir, Mark, Joel, Monique and Marinka; stepchildren, Doug and Crystal Christensen; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Thursday, May 12, at Crazy Horse Memorial.
The celebration of life ceremony will be at 10 a.m. at Crazy Horse. Private interment will be at Korczak's Family Tomb at Crazy Horse. Casketbearers are relatives Doug Christensen, Jean Riley, Cheyanne Bailey, Austin Schultz, Adam Ziolkowski and Heidi Ziolkowski. All other family members and friends are honorary pallbearers.
Memorials in Anne's name are established to the Indian Museum of North America and for the care of elderly horses and dogs.
Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home of Rapid City is in charge of arrangements.
Her online guestbook is available to sign at www.osheimschmidt.com
Published by Rapid City Journal on May 9, 2011.