Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station
Francis Leslie Cuny

Francis Leslie Cuny

Francis Leslie Cuny was born on November 24, 1936 in Pine Ridge, SD to Leslie Cuny and Madge (Beaird) Cuny. Francis made his journey to the Spirit World on May 31, 2024 at the Monument Health Hospital in Rapid City, SD.

Francis’ life was marked by a blend of ranching, rodeo, and various skilled trades reflecting his resilience. Growing up on his family’s ranch in the Lost Dog Community near Potato Creek, he honed his ranching and horse skills early on. As a youngster, he often took on ranch responsibilities while his father, Leslie, participated in rodeos.

During his elementary years at Oglala Community School, he survived the boarding school hardships, including hunger and cold. One poignant memory he shared was using his last dime to buy cream for his sister Loretta’s cracked and bleeding hands even though he spent all winter wishing to buy penny candy at the store in downtown Pine Ridge. He said it broke his heart to see his sister crying.

As a teenager, he attended Bishop Hare School in Mission, SD, where he remembers playing on the basketball team with Severt Young Bear. He also began his bronc riding career during this time. His bronc riding talent was nurtured by Bad Waln, his father’s friend. Francis’s determination shone through when he successfully rode a notoriously yet unridden tough bronc despite Bad trying to talk him out of riding it, marking the beginning of his championship cowboy status. He fondly recalled the camaraderie with fellow bronc riders like Jumbo Montileaux, Earl Charging Thunder, and Homer Stands, and the modest, yet satisfying earnings from rodeo victories. He said a first place would pay a rider like $80, making a guy feel like he was “shittin in tall cotton.”

Transitioning from ranching, Francis moved to Los Angeles through a relocation program with his first family, where he learned barbering and formed lifelong friendships with the Brewer boys and Lester Pourier. Upon returning to Pine Ridge, he worked as a laborer during the installation of the first running water lines. His skills as a barber and heavy equipment operator took him to Dallas, Texas, and various highway construction projects across Montana and Wyoming, earning him a reputation for excellence.

In the 1970s, Francis returned to ranching near his family ranch and also ran the Horse Shoe Bar in Interior, South Dakota. The 1990s saw him working for the Oglala Sioux Rural Water Supply System until retirement. Settling in Rapid City with his special friend Barbara Kelley, Francis found joy in watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren excel in basketball, never missing a LNI Invitational when Orie, Kiley, Jacob, Jesse and Nettie played. He also loved watching Kenda compete in barrel racing, and Tory and Wahinkpa compete in Indian Relay Horse Racing. It made his days brighter to hear of Casey’s, Kory’s and Cheese’s hunting exploits.

Francis will be remembered as a hardworking, good-hearted man, a loving father, and a cherished grandfather.

Francis is survived by his children, Lynette (Farrell Bodie Weston) Cuny-Weston, Karla (Ken Many Wounds) Cuny, Darcy Cuny, Kim Cuny, Shawn (Janet) Cuny, and Loren Cuny; brother, Bernard (Connie) Cuny; sister, Loretta (Donnie) Ball; grandchildren, Paula & Georgine Bettelyoun, Kiley Weston, Kory Provost, Rayette Provost, Tobi Marquez, Natasha Alvarado, Juliana Alvarado, Thomas Cottier, Jr., Ashley Cottier, Cindy Middletent, Jacob & Jesse Brown, Shawna Cuny, Justin Cuny, Patty Cuny, Shelby Cuny, Casey Cuny, Kenda Carroll, and Trenton Cuny; special friend, Barbara Kelley; and numerous great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

Francis was preceded in death by his parents, Leslie & Madge (Beaird) Cuny; son, Arlen Cuny; sisters, Elfreda Amiotte and Ramona LaPointe; paternal grandparents, Jules & Prudy (Stirk) Cuny; grandson, Orie Brown; granddaughter, Lainie Cuny; and great grandchildren, Chevelle Provost and Aliyah Provost.

Pallbearers will be Kory Provost, Kiley Weston, Thomas Cottier, Jr., Casey Cuny, Quincy Means, and Mark Cuny.

Honorary pallbearers will be Midge Johnston, Tudy & Melvin Swallow, Ronnie Twiss, Gertie Twiss, Veronica Twiss, Connie Twiss, Francis Jacobs, George Amiotte, Patty & Chuck Conroy, Mike Amiotte, Tom O’Rourke, Chuck O’Rourke, Scott Weston, Bodie Weston, Beans Weston, Ken Many Wounds, Peri Strain, Janet Cuny, Bryan Cuny, Blane Cuny, Eddie Cuny, Brent Cuny, Jada Kraft, Genia Campbell, Ellen Cuny, Robin Cuny, Michelle Hicks Gropper, Rocky Cuny, Maurice Twiss, Donnie Ball, Shawn Weichmann, Jody Kelley, Cynthia Baxter-Guarino, Pete Sigler, Debbie Durant, Arlene Brewer, Cecilia Fire Thunder, Allie Bad Heart Bull, Freida Brewer, Joy Brewer, Bryan Brewer, Vince Brewer, Harold Brewer, Dickie Brewer, Ducky Harris, Good Samaritan Nursing Home Staff and all friends & relatives.

Visitation Services: Visitation will be held from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM, Monday, June 10, 2024 at the Pine Ridge Elementary School Gymnasium in Pine Ridge, SD

Funeral Services: 11:00 AM, Monday, June 10, 2024 at the Pine Ridge Elementary School Gymnasium in Pine Ridge, SD

Officiating: Minister Rol Bradford

Burial Services: To Be Held At A Later Date

Arrangements entrusted with the Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge, SD.

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