Leon "Duke" King
Born: Feb 26, 1940
Died: Jun 03, 2015
Leon "Duke" King, 75, took the Savior's hand leaving peacefully after a long illness surrounded by family at the King family home in the Little Rocky Mountains in Hays on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. A wake will be held this Friday, June 5, 2015 with rosary recited at 7:00pm. Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 11:00am at the St. Paul’s Mission Recreation Center in Hays. Arrangements have been made with Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook. Duke was born into the Medicine Bear Clan and adopted by Corabelle (Windchief) and Richard King. He was proud to be double royalty-a king and a duke.
Duke had a strong work ethic, and expected the same of his children and grandchildren. Always employed in various jobs, he was never late and seldom missed work. Wherever he worked he made lifetime friends. His most enjoyable employment was with the Zortman/Landusky Mines as a fueler from 1978 to 1996. He then retired as an operator with the Fort Belknap BIA Roads in 2000.
Duke often shared his memory of working with his father to bring supplies up to the Three Buttes and Monument Peak fire watch towers. He spoke of riding horseback with his brother Bobby "Buckskin" King as they trailed horses from down the Valley to where Rodeo Drive is now, and being with his brother Richard King out in the country where he witnessed a tornado. Duke attended elementary school in Hays and high school in Harlem and then back to the St. Paul’s Mission School in Hays. For two years he served in the US Army, and after his discharge, he married Norma Jean Gardipee on January 12, 1963. Duke enjoyed visiting with friends, often tricking them in some way and telling some "good ones". He loved listening to Willie's Roadhouse on XM Radio.
Surviving are his wife Norma of 52 years and six children, Mary, Toni, James Kirby (Bridgette) all of Billings, Leona Jo of Harlem, Chantel (Darrell) Blackwolf and Karen (Hawkan) Haakanson all of Hays. Adopted sons, Jeremy (Raechelle) King of Hays and Todd (Tia) Messerly of Havre and adopted daughter Angie (Floyd) McConnell of Hays. 33 grandchildren and 41 great-grandchildren. Brothers Clayton Carrywater, John R. Strike, Levi Enemy Boy, sisters Diana Larsen, Mayme, Ethel and Wallene Bear.
Preceding him in death are stepson Kelly Gardipee, son Scott Plummer, parents Corabelle & Richard King. Brothers Robert, Richard and Thomas King, Joseph, John, Robert, and Wallace Bear, and Raymond Strike. Sisters Serena LaRoque, Alice Fleury, Ruth and Olive King, Georgina Weasel, Claudia King, Amy Jo Bear and Rosella Birdtail and grandson AJ Longsoldier.
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Edwards Funeral Home ♦ 500 Indiana Street, Chinook, MT 59523 ♦ 406-357-2529