Christensen, Anne Ziolkowski: Crazy Horse operations director passes on at 55

Crazy Horse, South Dakota (AP) May 2011

Anne Ziolkowski Christensen, the sixth child of Crazy Horse Memorial president and chief executive Ruth Ziolkowski and the late sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, died at her home on the memorial grounds, her family said in a statement. She was 55.

Crazy Horse was a famed Oglala Lakota warrior and leader who played a key role in the 1876 defeat of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana. He died a year later after being stabbed in Nebraska. Work on a mammoth mountain carving of him in South Dakota’s Black Hills has been going on since 1948.

When completed, the carving about 10 miles southwest of Mount Rushmore will be 641 feet long and 563 feet high. 

As the director of memorial operations, Ziolkowski Christensen managed the welcome center, Indian Museum of North America and Native American Educational & Cultural Center complex. She also oversaw visitor education programs, arrangements for American Indian arts and crafts vendors exhibiting at the site and annual Native Americans’ Day activities.

The memorial drew 1.2 million visitors to the southern Black Hills last year.

Ziolkowski Christensen lived at Trail’s End at Crazy Horse with husband, memorial security officer Paul Christensen. She and her brother based their herd of cattle near there, and she and her husband cared for a number of elderly horses, including retired professional rodeo horses.

Her family didn’t give a cause of death, saying only that she died unexpectedly.

Along with her mother, she is survived by two stepchildren, Doug and Crystal Christensen; nine siblings; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral arrangements are pending.