Edith Knight

Edith Knight, 94, of south Dupree, passed away on Monday, December 13, 2021, at her home.

Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m., MST, Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at the Dupree School Gym, Dupree. Burial will follow in the Knight Family Cemetery, south Dupree. A wake will be 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 21, 2021, at Pioneer Hall, Dupree. A procession will form at 3:30 p.m. at the 2-mile.

Edith (Edie) Pauline LaPlante Knight (He Ska Win – White Horn Woman) 94, was born March 13, 1927 to William LaPlante and Mamie Jewett. The story of her birth, you’ll know that from day one Edith was a fighter. She was so little she fit in a shoebox that was warmed by the family stove. Many didn’t think she’d make it past that first winter. As time would prove, she had an enthusiastic vigor for life that would not stop her. She used that spirit to constantly push onward, proving that she had much to accomplish in life.

Edith grew up during the tough Depression era. Like many during that time and the LaPlante family encountered hard times but was able to survive through grit and a persistence. William was lucky and able to work during that era taking his family with him while he built many of the large dams on the Cheyenne River Reservation. A young Edie was in tow while she was about 3-5 years old and witnessed the dam being built by crews with teams of horses. She witnessed the Rattle Snake, Bear Creek and White Horse dams all being built by her father.

Edith went to school at the Cheyenne River Boarding School from 3rd grade through 12th grade, graduating with honors. It was during her early school years that she met her sweetheart Jess A. Knight of Dupree SD, whom she’d marry August 2, 1947. Their love story began in 5th grade when Edie received a note asking her to sit with him during the school’s movie night. Another note included Jess asking her to marry him in their youth, which she accepted with a laugh because they both had liked each other right away, but she wasn’t thinking of marriage just yet. Always each other’s sweethearts, their marriage lasted an awe-inspiring 49 years, ending with the passing of Jess in June of 1996. Their long and loving marriage brought forth 8 wonderful children: Monte (Buckshot), Lona, Tom, Bill, Jess (JR), Lucy, Jeff, and Mark. Edith would become a grandmother to 22 grandkids, 28 great-grandchildren, and she was Hunka (adoptive) grandmother to many. There wasn’t a soul who didn’t call her grandma and a kid that she didn’t love and support to the fullest. She was super grandma with loving healing hands for “all” of her grandkids.

A lover of education, 40 plus years, Edith attended college at Haskell Institute in Lawrence Kansas. After her marriage, she began her teaching career for the Headstart Program in 1964. She was able to continue her education during those seven years taking college extension courses and attending summer school at Black Hills University. In 1971, after teaching first grade and kindergarten, she joined the Teacher Corps and received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1973, for Elementary Education, from Black Hills State University. She then attended BHSU’s extension courses to further her career. She later went on to complete her Master of Science degree in Elementary School Administration in Aberdeen SD in 1993.

Over the course of the 40 plus career in the educational system she taught various levels at many of the schools in the surrounding areas: Cherry Creek Day School, Red Scaffold, Eagle Butte and Takini and Dupree. Snow, rain or shine, Edie always made her way to her students. She could either be seen riding horseback to the main road or riding on the back of Jess’ tractor protected by a large straw hat and bags to cover her outfits. Everyone knew her as “Speedy Edie” during her years at Takini. Whenever there was a large dust cloud on the gravel road everyone knew that “Speedy Edie” would soon be flying by in her large white Lincoln Continental.

Quit was not in her dictionary. Her first “tour” of retirement didn’t last long. Soon after retirement she took on the Lakota Language teaching role at Dupree school for 9-12 grade through the DDN system and taught Faith and Isabel as well. Her second round of retirement did not last long either. Though she retired to focus on her ranch, once again she returned to the educational field; this time as her favorite position in life “grandma”. In 2013 Edith joined the Foster Grandparent program at the Dupree school. This was a program that she loved, her main duties included providing tutoring for the kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades, eating lunch with the kids, and her favorite part of her day, giving and receiving hugs from the children. In 2015 at 89 years old Edith underwent open heart surgery that caused her to retire for good as her health and family were now her main focus, but not officially retiring until 2017 from the record books. However, she was still active in her grandkids and her Hunka grandchildren’s lives by attending every football, basketball, concert, graduation, rodeo, and any important milestone that she could get to.   She became a member of NAIWA (Native American Indian Women’s Association). As a member of NAIWA she was elected as the National Director of Public Relations at the 36th annual national conference in June 2006. In 2007 she was voted woman of the year by NAIWA, in the awareness of Native Culture category.

On November 6, 2021, the Knight family was honored at the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center in the Ranch Cowboy Family Category for their contributions to their community, rodeo and ranching. Throughout their marriage Jess and Edie were involved in performance horses from bucking stock, and racehorses. Edith was very involved in the program and was the bookkeeper on all the mares, bloodlines, registrations, winnings, and foundations of the horses and each were solidified in her sharp memory up until her passing. Edie still had cattle and operated the ranch, along with her son Bill. It was here home, the home she loved the most that she passed away; forever remaining as a lasting figure on the place.

A warm smile and classy look were the epitome of Edie. She had a zest for life and gave her all into her activities. She was youthful in her charm as well as her looks. She did not look the part of a woman who was 94 years old. If you were to stop in at her house, you’d often find her sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of hot tea playing a game of solitaire. When she had company over, and especially when her sister Luverne visited, you’d see the most astonishing game of Yahtzee ever played. No one was ever truly a winner because both would cheat so badly trying to beat the other and many “new” rules were invented on the spot and argued over. Though highly educated lady she could often mix up the simplest of sentences, that would bring a person to tears laughing at how goof and silly she was. This trait that has been passed down to several of her children and grandchildren.

A sweetheart of a woman, full of a lifetime of achievements, remarkably strong and beautiful, with contagious smile and laugh. She will forever be missed by those whose lives she has touched and influenced. All were held dearly to her heart. She was such a kind soul that always made one feel welcomed, loved, and appreciated. Anytime you were in her presence you left with a smile, a good laugh (usually at her expense) and an overwhelming feeling of being loved that poured forth from her soul. She gave so many wonderful memories to cherish over the years but it will never be enough for a woman so full of charisma and class.  Edith was an incredible woman who lived life to the fullest. She will be missed by so many and our hearts are going to hurt and we will always mourn her parting from this world. The main comfort we can all agree on is that she will be in the arms of the love of her life once again in paradise, teasing each other, laughing and rejoicing. Rejoice in her memories, laughter and love that she was able to share with so many for so long.

Edith is survived by her eight children: Monte (aka Buckshot), Lona, Tom (Carol), Bill (Susan Pourier), Jess Jr. (Marsha Lytle), Lucy, Mark (Connie); 51 grandchildren and great grandchildren: Dawnita (Sonny Dutchover, Emelia), Corrine & Justin Mark (Teegan & Weldon), Ronnie & Will Taylor, Berk (Jacobie, Jhett & April), Little Crow, Robbie (Melkai & Nature High Elk), (Adam Barbosa), Coy Wallace, Sara (Grady), Annie & Chris Dupris (Felix), Clell & Ashley (Selma & Gracie), Cante, Tesla (Omaste, Niyake & Woniya), Jess “Jai”, Spence Etzkorn (Charly, Mason & Easton), Jaci & Steven Heberlein, Kelsey (Markem & Ryatt), Tee (Rilynn),  Ryan & Margaret (Caycee & Jeffrey), Chad High Elk (Cherry Jean), Jessie Lou & Rocky Longbrake (Dean & Scarlett), Jaymie & Shaun Packineau (Shyah); siblings: Rita Birkeland (John), Allen LaPlante; special niece, Diana Jensen.

She is preceded in death by her parents: William LaPlante & Mamie Jewett; husband Jess A. Knight; son Jeffrey Knight; granddaughter Heather Knight; daughters-in-law: Guyla Gunville, Sherry Keller-Knight; siblings she’ll greet in heaven: Luverne Cummings, LeRoy, Rupert, Bernard, Richard (Dick) and Loren LaPlante and half-brother Leland Larrabee; adopted brothers: Lanny and Orville LaPlante.

Luce Funeral Home of Gettysburg has been entrusted with Edith’s arrangements.