Funeral services for 69-year old Franklin Hunter are Friday, July 8, 2022 at a minute after 12-noon at the Hunter residence in Kyle, SD, with Fr Brad Held, SJ, officiant and traditional Lakota services by Ivan Sorbel
Burial is at the Hunter Family Cemetery in Kyle/
A one-night wake service starts Thurs, July 7, at 1:30 at the Hunter residence in Kyle with Rosary services starting at 7:00 PM and a meal to follow.
Franklin Ray Hunter, “Wakul Wicasa” was born on April 12, 1953 in Pine Ridge, SD to Ethelyn Ferguson-Hunter and Aloysius Hunter of Kyle, SD. Frank made his journey to the Spirit World on July 2, 2022 at Monument Hospital in Rapid City, SD.
Frank grew up on his parent’s ranch north of Kyle, where he learned to do ranch work, ride horses, and work with cows. He eventually started his ranch carrying on the lessons of being a true cowboy.
Frank became a self-taught mechanic, and as years went on, there wasn’t anything that could not fix or rig up to get from point A to B.
He generously shared his expertise with his sons, nephews, and grandsons to ensure they would always make it safely to where they were going.
All who knew him well knew they could count on him to lend a hand and always knew where to find him within his shop with an ice-cold Budweiser and working on cars.
In the younger years of Frank’s life, he enjoyed being a competitive saddle bronc and bareback rider, competing alongside his brother Howard and many rodeo buddies he met along the way.
He was a member of the OCS rodeo club in high school, where he qualified in the South Dakota High School Rodeo in bareback and saddle bronc.
Frank was the 1875 “Rookie of the Year” at the OSIRA Finals and in 1979 he won the SDRA Saddle Bronc Championship. In 1983 Frank won the OSIRA championship to qualify for the Indian National Finals Rodeo. In 1988, he competed at the Crow Fair Rodeo and took home the championship buckle that year.
Frank cruised the rodeo trail with his buddies to numerous rodeos around Indian Country. In 2020, Frank anticipated being honored by the Oglala Lakota Nation Rodeo. Unfortunately, due to the COVID pandemic, the honoring was postponed.
Frank was one of the founders of the Kyle Rodeo that later became the Hunter Memorial Rodeo. He was a mentor to many young cowboys and cowgirls. He never missed an opportunity to teach a young cowboy how to “Turn Your Toes Out!” or a young cowgirl how to “Look at the next Barrel.”
Frank married Linda (Mendoza) Hunter for 38 years on June 8, 1984, and they enjoyed raising their blended family. He also enjoyed spending his time with his grandchildren. In addition, they enjoyed traveling to the casino and pressing their luck on the slots.
Although Frank loved the fast life of the rodeo trail, he enjoyed working in his shop on new and old cars. In addition to his many passions, he collected vintage toy cars. He displayed them on the shelves in his lean-to, which every grandkid itched to get into to play with.
His joy was his grandchildren. There was no birth of a grandchild he did not attend, asking when he needed to bring in his calf-puller. He enjoyed watching them on their go-karts, running in and out of his house, or watching his grandsons jump on the back of a green broke horse or a bull.
He always said, “Remember, you are a cowboy.” Frank was the rock of the family. No matter the crowd or event size, you would always find your way to say hey to Frank.
In Frank’s later years, he continued each day to check on his cows with the help of his right-hand man. He also became a provider for OST Child Care for his two granddaughters.
Grandpa Frank would load up through the generations of grandkids, buy snacks, and head out to the pasture to check cows or fix the horse tank.
His children, nieces, and nephews all grew up at Uncle Frank’s. He was a very family-oriented man, having enduring values he kept true blue to who he was. He was a son, brother, husband, grandpa, uncle, and friend.
Frank loved spending quality time with his sisters and brothers telling stories of the past. He always ensured his sisters-in-law were ok after his brothers made their journey. At the end of a long day’s work, he liked to come home to his wife and turn on Lonesome Dove reruns.
“It’s been one hell of a party” – Gus McCrae (Quote from Lonesome Dove)
Frank is survived by his loving wife, Linda (Mendoza) Hunter; children, Darrell (Alice) Hunter, Rose (Vince) Fraser and Mindy (Manny) Hunter, all of Kyle, SD, Ryan (Tera) Apple of Rapid City, SD, Tyrone (Danette) Albers and Sara (Matt) Albers, both of Sioux Falls, SD, Mia (Scott) Cuny of Oglala SD, and Brendon Albers of Batesland, SD; grandchildren, Coy (Jill), Kevin (Tonya), Djay (Brianna), Chelsea (Kasey), Derek, Jesse, Cashus, Jodene, Frankii, Sofia, Reyna, Clarinda, Daydria, Tony, Nia, Izayiah, Catlin (Latina), Kevin, David, Lacey (Kasey), Victoria, Harley, Johnny (Shyla), Zeke, Buck, Carlee, and Tillyston; great grandchildren, Ava, Mateo, Lamira, Kleo, Rylan, Kanyon, Acen, Huxen, Kinslee, Jazlyn, Jaxson, Hayden and Sawyer; siblings, Lorraine “Tudy” (Melvin) Swallow, Margie (Richard) Janis, and Wilbur Hunter; aunties, Marilyn “Babe” Puckett, Theresa Ferguson, Caroline Janis, Ellen “Snooks” Cuny; and many loved cousins, nieces and nephews.
Frank was preceded in death by his parents, Aloysius & Ethelyn (Ferguson) Hunter; brothers, Jim Hunter, Howard Hunter Sr., and Randy Hunter; and sisters, Suzy Hunter and Paulette Hunter.
Pallbearers will be Coy Hunter, Kevin Hunter, Cole Hunter, Djay Hunter, Cashus Hunter, Johnny Ferguson, Kiko Mendoza, Wyatt Hunter, Tyrone Pourier, Lance Christensen Jr., and Derek Tyon.
Honorary pallbearers will be Phil Baird, John & Donna Heathershaw, Mike Heathershaw, Beaver Scott, Jim Nelson, Lorraine “Tudy” (Melvin) Swallow & Family, Karlene (Jim) Hunter & Family, Margie (Richard) Janis & Family, Anne (Howard) Hunter & Family, Wilbur Hunter & Family, Paulette Hunter & Family, Lorna, Laddie Jr., & Tyler Clifford & Family, Gary Ferguson & Family, Ronnie (Myreen) Ferguson & Family, Ed Clifford, Bill Clifford, Richard Pierce, Perry Zephier & Family, Penny Hunter & Family, Leroy Cook, Frieda Brewer & Family, John & Arlene Haas, Larry (Wendy) Mendoza & Family, Robert (Debbie) Mendoza & Family, Louis Mendoza & Family, Cynthia (Dale) McCrea & Family, Jesse (Florine) Mendoza & Family, Geri (Randy) Mendoza & Family, Lily Mendoza & Family, Corina (Vernon) Robertson & Family, Dayna (Chris) Brave Eagle & Family, Dawn (Terri) Brave Eagle & Family, and All Friends & Relatives.
Arrangements entrusted with Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge, SD