- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Ruth Ziolkowski carried on her late husband’s dream of honoring American Indians by carving the likeness of warrior Crazy Horse into South Dakota’s Black Hills. She died Wednesday in Rapid City, at age 87.

Below, excerpts from reactions to Ziolkowski’s death.

- South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard

Ruth Ziolkowski’s legacy will be as lasting as the stone her family has carved for decades. Ruth was Korczak’s partner at Crazy Horse, and she has tirelessly led the project for more than thirty years. Linda and I will miss Ruth very much, and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family and to all of those who continue to pursue the Ziolkowski vision.”

Daugaard has requested that flags be flown at half-staff statewide on the day of her funeral, which hasn’t been announced.

- U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson

“Since arriving that first summer in 1947, Ruth shared her beloved Korczak’s vision and dedication to the Crazy Horse Memorial dream with the same sense of determination, commitment, and passion. After Korczak’s death in 1982, Ruth and her family made a number of historic advancements with the carving as well as enhancing the project’s cultural and educational goals. In her own right, Ruth carved out her own legacy with her contagious smile, enduring courage, pioneering and humanitarian spirit, and unwavering dedication to the Memorial’s completion and future mission. Barb and I offer our heartfelt condolences to the Ziolkowski family.”

- U.S. Sen. John Thune

Ruth was an inspiring and driven individual. She was a transformative leader for the Crazy Horse monument and did so much more than just keep the dream alive. Kimberley’s and my thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends as they celebrate the life of this remarkable woman.”

- U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem

Ruth was an incredible asset to her community and to our state. In working tirelessly to move her family’s dream forward, she transformed the community around her and our state in a way that will be remembered for generations. She will be missed.”

- Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds

“While (Ruth Ziolkowski‘s) passing marks the end of an era in which she tirelessly dedicated herself to continuing Korczak’s dream of completing the Crazy Horse Memorial, her legacy will live on in the mountain for future generations to see. Ruth made certain that the Crazy Horse Memorial and Native American Educational & Cultural Center will become a reality through the continued work of the Ziolkowski family.”

- David Bordewyk, general manager, South Dakota Newspaper Association

“For 13 years Ruth hosted a journalism workshop for American Indian students at Crazy Horse Memorial. The workshop was sponsored by Crazy Horse Memorial, the Freedom Forum, the journalism programs at SDSU and USD, and South Dakota Newspaper Association.

“During the workshop, Ruth would hold a press conference with the students and she would visit with them often throughout the course of the three-day event. By the end of the workshop, she was the rock star among the students. It was amazing to see the hugs and gratitude expressed to Ruth by the students at each workshop’s closing ceremony. They had experienced her generosity of spirit and kindness, her patience and good cheer and her smile. They also learned from her the value and importance of hard work and to never give up on your dreams.”

- Larry Atkinson, past president, South Dakota Newspaper Association

“When we were creating the (Crazy Horse Journalism) Workshop and decided Crazy Horse was where it should be held, we called Ruth to see if that was possible and she immediately said, “yes.” From the first event her commitment to the workshop, and to the students and staff who attended, was far greater than our expectations. She was there for the students throughout each and every workshop. She also created a scholarship program for the workshop, providing funds for some of the top students to attend journalism school. She will be missed terribly, but she will always be with us in spirit.”

- Matt Gassen, executive director, Feeding South Dakota

“Feeding South Dakota is deeply saddened to hear the recent news of Ruth Ziolkowski’s passing. While many will remember Ruth for her passion and dedication to the Crazy Horse Memorial, we will forever remember Ruth for her dedication to hunger relief. Ruth provided more than 2 million meals to help feed hungry families and children across western South Dakota through the many food and fund drives she held at the Crazy Horse Memorial. She was truly a ‘Hero to the Hungry’ and will be deeply missed.”

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