Ginger Lois Vitalis

The family of 78-year old Ginger Vitalis will hold a memorial service for her at a later date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ginger Lois Vitalis was born in Pine Ridge, SD, on March 8, 1942 to Evelyn Deon and Art Vitalis Sr and passed June 11, 2020, in Rapid City, S.D.

She was raised in Pine Ridge by her Mom and Grandma Julia Deon. She attended Oglala Community School all her school years and began her career as a teacher aide there in 1971 and remained until she retired in 2013.

She loved her job, her school and the many children she helped educate. She was a true Thorpe. Ginger possessed a repertoire of humorous stories of the children she taught and loved to share them with parents and the students even though they may not have always wanted to hear them.

She found lifelong friends in her coworkers Esther Ecoffey, Cassie Steele, Donna Bettelyoun, Diane Ramos, Georgine Pourier, Andrea Akers and so many more.

Except for the one time her niece Sandy attempted to teach her to drive Ginger never drove a car. You would see her walking everyday uptown to do errands and get her exercise.

Ginger was a warrior woman. She loved her people. Along with her mother, she was a member of the American Indian Movement and one of the first people arrested during the 1973 Wounded Knee occupation.

Ginger was preceded in death by her mother Evelyn, Grandmother Julia, father Art Vitalis, and brother Wade Vitalis, her cousins/siblings Lucille “Tiny” Deon, Earl “Sonny” Deon, Jr., nephews Duncan Deon, Glen “Denny” Three Stars and neighbor Gladys Ecoffey.

She is survived by beloved granddaughter Georgine Bettelyoun, great granddaughter Darien Evelyn Richards, great great granddaughter Lilith Evy Hudspeth, great grandsons Lyle Richards Jr. and Riley Backward, all off Pine Ridge, sister Patricia Vitalis Mills, Cheyenne, WYO, sister she shared a special bond with Margaret “Sissy” Vitalis and her niece Bessie Vitalis LeBeau, both of Pine Ridge, cousin Lavonne Three Stars, of Scottsdale, AZ.

Grateful for having shared her life are her nieces Lynette Cuny and her children Paula Bettelyoun, Georgine Bettelyoun, and Kiley Weston, all of Pine Ridge, Karla Cuny, Manderson, SD, and her children Rayette Provost, PR, Kory Provost Crow Creek, SD. Darcy Cuny and her children Tobi Marquez, Tasha Alvarado, and Julie Alvarado, all of Casa Grande, Az nephew Gilbert Cuny, Pine Ridge, SD, his daughters Lindsey Cuny and Jessie Cuny both off Chadron, NE, nieces Dawn Deon, Denise Mesteth, Deann Deon, her Deon (Tiny & Sonny) grandchildren, son-in-laws Bodie Weston (Lynette) & Ken Billingsley (Karla)

Her godson Jeremy Bettelyoun, Durango, CO and goddaughter Ashley Brehmer, Rapid City, SD.

She is also survived by her wonderful neighbors Shane, Nichelle, Richard and Jesse Hagen, Todd and Martina Waters, Lucy Bettelyoun, Lindy Trueblood (and Amya) , Darcel Pourier, and Chip Hunter, the generations of children she helped educate and her Sioux Nation/Buche crew.

Arrangements entrusted with Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge, SD

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