Anne Ziolkowski Christensen, the daughter of Crazy Horse Memorial founder Korczak Ziolkowski and his wife, Crazy Horse Memorial president and chief executive officer Ruth Ziolkowski, died unexpectedly of natural causes Friday.
Ziolkowski Christensen, 55, was at her home on the Crazy Horse memorial grounds when she died.
She served as the director of operations for the memorial and was intimately involved in the Crazy Horse visitor’s complex and museum.
“She’s been involved with the museum in some capacity since it opened,” said Pat Dobbs, media relations specialist for the memorial. “Her first job (ever) was painting the ceiling.”
Born on the memorial grounds on Aug. 14, 1955, Ziolkowski Christensen grew up a part of the Crazy Horse memorial project.
Ziolkowski Christensen was the sixth of 10 children, seven of whom have been involved with Crazy Horse.
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“They were born to do what they were doing,” Dobbs said.
Embedded in the floor of Ziolkowski Christensen’s office were 10 horseshoes, one for each of the Ziolkowski children.
She loved chocolate and the “Wizard of Oz,” and was even more passionate about caring for elderly horses. She and her husband, Paul Christensen, 59, cared for a small herd of horses around their home, called Trail’s End, on the memorial grounds.
Ziolkowski Christensen graduated from St. Martin Academy high school in Rapid City in 1973, in the academy’s final all-female class. She attended Black Hills State College, and worked both in law enforcement and at St. Joseph Indian School before coming home to work on the Crazy Horse Memorial.
Dobbs said Ziolkowski Christensen’s death was a surprise.
“Anne has had some health problems over the past year, but her death was unexpected,” he said.
She was the first of the Ziolkowskis’ 10 children to die. She is survived by her mother Ruth Ziolkowski, her husband – a security officer for the memorial – and her two adult stepchildren, Doug and Crystal.
Dobbs said a replacement has not been chosen for Ziolkowski Christensen on the memorial board of directors.
Contact David Montgomery at 394-8329 or firstname.lastname@example.org