The One Spirit family is devastated by the loss of Tess Updegrove,
Area Service Coordinator for Pine Ridge.
She passed away suddenly on February 13th.
Tess was a woman who cared deeply for her family. She talked frequently of her husband, children, grandchildren, and her 91 year old mother-in-law. Her horses and other animals were also close to her heart. Tess had great compassion for the world at large.
We would often hear from her while she was watching her grandchildren and at the same time making calls to help the people on Pine Ridge Reservation. She was so loved by the people of Pine Ridge that on Christmas Eve she answered her phone to hear a stirring rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" sung by a number of people from the Reservation.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Tess' family.
A Tribute to Tess
Below is the tribute written by Bamm Brewer, Food Program Manager on the Reservation. His eulogy accurately reflects the sentiments of the Lakota people who knew Tess.
To the family of Tess,
The Pine Ridge village of South Dakota would like to express our deepest condolences at the loss of this very special lady who had dedicated much time to the One Spirit Food program as a volunteer. Tess was the ASC or Area Service coordinator of the Pine Ridge Village.
It is the largest area on the food program that she took responsibility over and she was great in looking out for the people. Pine Ridge is also considered one of the poorest counties in the United States, she truly did help and look after many. Such a gentle and caring person she was and we really appreciate all her efforts here.
Along with all of us there are many folks there who will surely miss her. It is at this time of sadness that the people who also work for the One Spirit Food Program grieve with the family. We want you to know we care and love her too. Our prayers are with you all for strength at this sad time.
We also want you to know the Great Spirit Tunkasila "GrandFather" will be by her side to help her on her journey as she has helped the Lakota on their journey through life of this modern world of today. We would also like to say Thank you for sharing the love of this very special caring lady. She will be greatly missed and remembered here in Indian Country.
Charles "Bamm" Brewer One Spirit Food Program Manager