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Colette Ganje was proud to be raised as a ranch girl

Colette Ganje, 71, of Rapid City and formerly of Eagle Butte, passed away on Friday, April 12, 2019, at Fountain Springs Hospice in Rapid City.
Funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m., MDT, on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, at All Saints Catholic Church in Eagle Butte.
Burial will be in Eagle Butte Cemetery under the direction of Luce Funeral Home of Eagle Butte.
A scripture reading and rosary service will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday at the church with visitation two hours prior.
Colette Norma (Opp) Ganje was born on April 9, 1948, in Mobridge, to Norman and Ione (Rivers) Opp.
Colette grew up on a ranch in Armstrong County south of Ridgeview. She was proud to be raised as a ranch girl and loved to share stories with the children and grandchildren of her adventures and experiences. She attended grade school through third grade in Timber Lake. Colette finished her elementary school years at the Cheyenne Agency Boarding School and attended Cheyenne Eagle Butte High School, where she lived in the dorms, graduating in 1966.
She married her high school sweetheart, David Ganje, on Aug. 6, 1966. The couple moved to Minneapolis, Minn., where Colette attended Minnesota Business School. David became a pilot and flight instructor. The couple made their home in various South Dakota communities where opportunities took them.
David passed away in 1977.
Colette and David had three children: Deneen Marie, Lisa Collette and Michael David. Colette’s daughter, Tracie Ione, was born during her second marriage to Vince Maher. Vince also had three children, Michael, Troy and Jill, who Colette loved and helped raise.
Colette went on to earn a degree from Black Hills State University in Spearfish and later began her career as a paralegal with Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Housing Authority, where she worked for 14 years before retiring to Rapid City. She always enjoyed socializing with friends and colleagues.
Colette was also a part of several organizations, giving her time and talent to many programs and events over the years. She was a devout member of the Catholic Church, serving in many capacities at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Mobridge and All Saints Catholic Church in Eagle Butte. For 10 years, she was involved in Missouri Showboat Community Theatre organization in Mobridge, where she was an actor, producer, director and served on the Board of Directors.
Her grandchildren were a great source of joy to her. She enjoyed sharing her favorite jokes and quirky stories with them. She spent her time attending their school plays, sports, music concerts and taking great interest in every aspect of their lives. Colette had a special gift for making others feel welcome and important. Her kindness and generosity for others were evident to all who had the pleasure of meeting her.
Colette is survived by her daughters, Deneen (Carson) Redd of Spearfish; Lisa (Gary) Nelson of Newell, and Tracie (Shane) Clark of Rapid City; son, Michael Ganje of Eagle Butte; 13 grandchildren (six girls and seven boys); one great-granddaughter; sisters, Tina (Bob) Clement of Ridgeview and Marie Long of Pierre; sisters-in-law, Lucy (Sharon Carson) Ganje of Grand Forks, N.D.; Francie Ganje of Sturgis and Sheila Ganje of Eagle Butte.
She was preceded in death by her husband, David; parents, Norman and Ione; brother, August; sister, Iona; stepson, Troy; and adopted son, Anthony.
The family extends a thank you to the staff at Fountain Springs Healthcare Center in Rapid City for their thoughtful care and support.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund in Colette’s memory has been established at State Bank of Eagle Butte to support community and tribal organizations.