Marnee White Wolf

Marnee M. White Wolf, 86, of Rapid City, S.D., passed away December 19, 2022, in Rapid City.

Marnee was welcomed into her family on September 14, 1936, at their home in Potato Creek. She spent her childhood on the family ranch creating many lasting memories and experiencing the benefits of hard work. Her elementary school years at Green Valley School promoted a love for learning which lasted a lifetime. She attended Bennett County high school (not graduating) during which time she married Jimmy Starr. They had four children: Cindy Raye, James Albert, Rocky Allen and Andrea Leslie. Later Marnee married Larry (Charles) Fanning and they were blessed with three children: Barry Linn, Forrest Daniel and Steven Jerome. When her children were young, she decided to get her GED so she could become a teacher. Her maternal Grandmother was a teacher and had a lasting influence on her. Marnee entered Black Hills College with her six children in tow. She completed her teaching degree in three years going summers to finish early. She was the first in her family to obtain a college degree. Her first teaching position was at Batesland School. Marnee started her administrator degree that same year and finished within the year. She then took a position at Red Cloud Indian School as the K-8th grade school Principal. While working as a principal she also worked with Oglala Lakota College as its first certified professor. During this time, she married Eddie White Wolf who was an important part of her life. Marnee and Eddie later moved to Pocatello, Idaho where she held educational positions in administration, teaching and special education. After her husband passed on, Marnee returned to South Dakota where she again worked as a professor with the Oglala Lakota College, preparing others to obtain teaching degrees in general and special education. She also worked as a consultant for area schools. Marnee later took a position as the Principal for Manderson School. After retiring, Marnee began working on a Lakota curriculum that would strengthen Lakota children’s knowledge of their culture through story telling using educational practices. Her mentor and lifelong friend Pete Catches, a Lakota medicine man, contributed Lakota cultural elements for the curriculum. The curriculum became her passion in life as she saw it as a way for Lakota youth to apply teachings from the past to promote future well-being. At the time of her illness Marnee was working on a high school Lakota curriculum, but now leaves that work to another who has the same inspiration and passion that fueled her life. Marnee was known for her generosity to others and opened her home to many throughout the years. Her family and friends will miss her kind spirit, wisdom, encouragement, and her ability to see the exceptionality of all.

Marnee is survived by her brother, Larry May (Zona); her children, Cindy Keegan (Ken), James Fanning (Faye), Andrea Hines (Gary), Barry Fanning (Lisa), Forrest Fanning, and Steve Fanning; her adopted daughter, Crystal Abunis; her grandchildren Pat Keegan (Becky), Mike Keegan, Kelli Keegan (Orlando), Kyle Fanning, Kayla Hammer (Mike), Erin Heath (Kevin), Yvonne Hudson (Dave), Jacqueline Moreland (Grant), Seth Dettling (Leslie), Tia Hexom, Jessica Cadorette (Brian), Christian Fanning, Joshua Fanning, Will Damon, Cole Fanning, Marie Fanning, and Danielle Fanning; her adopted grandchildren, Corleone Short Bull, Kirsten Short Bull, Lovey Abunis, Praise Abunis, Star Abunis and Legacy Abunis; and her great-grandchildren, Sage Keegan, Luke Keegan, Felicity Keegan, Luta Keegan, Leo Herrera, Kyler Hammer, Keaton Hammer, Kayson Hammer, Alison Heath, Tanner Heath, Clyde Moreland, Ryan Dettling, Eden Dettling, Susanna Crowe Dutcher, Lars Fanning, Brian Cadorette, Kodie Cadorette, Annalisa Fanning, and Brylie Bestgen.

Marnee was preceded in death by her husband, Eddie White Wolf; son, Rocky Starr; adopted daughter, Mary Lu Running Horse; parents, Albert and Genevieve May; sister, Beverley Harris; her brothers, Buddy Joe May and Daniel May; sister-in-law, Ramona May; nephews, Michael Vaughan and Jerry May; niece, Tamara May; and grandsons, Tyler Fanning and Neil Fanning.

Pallbearers will be Patrick Keegan, Kyle Fanning, Grant Moreland, Avery “Joe” May, Clint May, Bert May, Bud May, and Seth May.

Honorary pallbearers will be all family and friends. 

Visitation Services will be held from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 28, at the Holy Rosary Mission Catholic Church at Red Cloud Indian School near Pine Ridge. 

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 28, at the Holy Rosary Mission Catholic Church at Red Cloud Indian School near Pine Ridge, with Father Brad Held, S.J. officiating.

Burial services will be held at the White Wolf Family Cemetery, Mission Flats-Pine Ridge.

Arrangements entrusted with Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge.

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