On November 28, 2020, Leroy V. LaPlante, Sr, loving husband, father, and grandfather, passed away peacefully at the age of 92 at the Avera Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD. At his request, no wake services will be held. A public visitation and viewing was held at Kesling Funeral Home Chapel in Mobridge, SD on Thursday, December 3, 2020 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. central time and Friday, December 4, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. central time, followed by a Christian service from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. central time. Burial was at the LaPlante Family Cemetery in Eagle Butte, SD at 1:30 p.m. central time. Due to COVID-19, all public gatherings and services will follow the CDC COVID-19 guidelines, requiring masks and social distancing. The funeral service will also be live-streamed on the Kesling Funeral Home Facebook page.
Leroy was born on May 31, 1928 in Whitehorse, SD to William Douglas and Mamie (Jewett) LaPlante. He attended Cheyenne River boarding school but did not graduate due to tuberculosis, of which he was cured through traditional medicine. Leroy later achieved his GED at the age of 63 to set an example for his children and grandchildren. After surviving tuberculosis, Leroy worked for local cattle ranches where he was regarded as an excellent wrangler and horseman. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in January of 1951 and was deployed to Korea where he was wounded and received a Purple Heart. While in the Army, he married his sweetheart, Delores “Toni” Meeter on November 13, 1952 in Pierre, SD by the Justice of the Peace. After being honorably discharged from the Army in January 1954, he returned back to the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation to start his family with Toni. Together they raised three daughters, Diana, Gloria, and Patsy and four sons, Bernie, Cedar, Richard, and Leroy “JR”. Leroy became a born-again Christian in 1986 and was baptized at the First Baptist Church in Eagle Butte where he remained a member until his death. He retired from the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a maintenance worker in 1988. He then worked for Takini School as supervisor of maintenance and retired for good in 1992. In retirement he enjoyed his home located on allotted trust lands north of Eagle Butte where he spent time with Toni, children, and many grand kids. He would tell his stories of growing up on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, telling stories about family, relatives, and friends, his cowboy days, with an occasional joke. They were blessed with numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. Leroy was proud of each and every one of them and loved them all deeply.
Leroy loved to play guitar, mandolin, fiddle and was a self-taught musician. He also loved to sing country songs by Jimmie Rodgers, Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams and others. When he wasn’t playing music, he enjoyed listening to it and he and Toni were both big fans of Fun Time and Molly B polka on Saturday evenings. Leroy also enjoyed golf, winning local tournaments and making many friends around central SD. He also was an avid bowler, playing league in Eagle Butte back in the day. He loved playing card games with family and friends, and was dubbed “Brunson” by his poker buddies because of his age and skill as a poker player. He also loved fishing and hunting, especially “cat-fishing” and hunting mushrooms in the trees along the Moreau River. He knew the reservation like the back of his hand and had fond memories of the people and places of Cheyenne River. He told stories like no one else could, telling them in English and in Lakota, making them twice as funny. He never had a grievance with anyone and treated everyone with respect. He was a good listener who chose his words carefully and was truthful, kind, and good. Leroy died as he had lived, at peace with God, himself and others. He was an example to us all.
Leroy was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Toni; his mother, Mamie and father, William; brothers, Richard, Loren, Ellsworth, Rupert, Bernard, and Jack; son Bernie; grandson, Danny; granddaughter Kristi; and great grandsons, Cooper and Casimere. He is survived by his brother Allen LaPlante; sisters Edie Knight, Luverne Cummings, and Rita Birkeland; children, Diana, Gloria, Patsy, Cedar, Richard, and Leroy “JR”; and their many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren; and housecat, Dude.