Colette Ganje, 71, of Rapid City and formerly of Eagle Butte, passed away Friday, April 12, 2019 at Fountain Springs Hospice, Rapid City.
Funeral Mass will be held 10:30 a.m. MDT, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, at All Saints Catholic Church, Eagle Butte. Burial will be in the Eagle Butte Cemetery. A scripture and rosary service will be 7:00 p.m., Monday, April 22, 2019 at the church, with visitation two-hours prior.
Colette Norma (Opp) Ganje was born April 9, 1948 in Mobridge, SD to Norman and Ione (Rivers) Opp.
Colette grew up on a ranch in Armstrong County, south of Ridgeview, SD. She was proud to be raised as a ranch girl and loved to share stories with her children and grandchildren of her adventures and experiences. She attended grade school in Timber Lake, SD through 3rd grade. Colette finished her elementary school years at the Cheyenne Agency Boarding School and attended Cheyenne Eagle Butte High School, where she lived in the dorms, graduating in 1966.
She married her high school sweetheart, David Ganje, on August 6, 1966. The couple moved to Minneapolis, MN where Colette attended the Minnesota Business School. David became a pilot and flight instructor. The couple made their home in various South Dakota communities where opportunities took them. David passed away in 1977.
Colette and David had three children, Deneen Marie, Lisa Collette and Michael David. Colette’s daughter Tracie Ione was born during her second marriage to Vince Maher.
Vince also had three children, Michael, Troy and Jill, whom Colette loved and helped to raise.
Colette went on to earn a degree from Black Hill State University in Spearfish, SD and later began her career as a paralegal with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Housing Authority where she worked for 14 years before retiring to Rapid City. She always enjoyed socializing with friends and colleagues.
Colette was also a part of several organizations, giving her time and talent to many programs and events over the years. She was a devout member of the Catholic Church, serving in many capacities at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Mobridge, SD and at All Saints Catholic Church in Eagle Butte, SD. For 10 years, she was involved in Missouri Showboat Community Theatre organization in Mobridge, SD, where she was an actor, producer, director, and served on the Board of Directors.
Her grandchildren were a great source of joy to her. She enjoyed sharing her favorite jokes and quirky stories with them. She spent her time attending their school plays, sports, music concerts, and taking great interest in every aspect of their lives. Colette had a special gift for making others feel welcome and important. Her kindness and generosity for others were evident to all who had the pleasure of meeting her.
Colette is survived by daughters Deneen (Carson) Redd, Spearfish, SD; Lisa (Gary) Nelson, Newell, SD; Tracie (Shane) Clark, Rapid City, SD; and son Michael Ganje, Eagle Butte, SD.; thirteen grandchildren (6 girls and 7 boys) and one great-granddaughter; sisters, Tina (Bob) Clement, Ridgeview, SD and Marie Long, Pierre, SD; sisters-in-law Lucy (Sharon Carson) Ganje, Grand Forks, ND; Francie Ganje, Sturgis, SD; and Sheila Ganje, Eagle Butte SD.
She was preceded in death by her husband, David; her parents, Norman and Ione; a brother, August; sister, Iona; stepson, Troy; and adopted grandson, Anthony.
The family extends a thank you to the staff at Fountain Springs Healthcare Center, Rapid City, SD for their thoughtful care and support.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund in Colette’s memory has been established at the State Bank of Eagle Butte to support local community and tribal organizations.
Luce Funeral Chapel of Eagle Butte has been entrusted with Colette’s arrangements. (www.familyfuneralhome.net)