Rodney Martin: 1981-2013
Mass of Christian Burial for Rodney Martin, age 32, of Ree Heights, S.D., was Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, at the Eagle Butte Auditorium. Burial was at St. Therese’s Catholic Cemetery in Whitehorse under the direction of Kesling Funeral Home of Mobridge. An all night wake started at 7 p.m. Friday at All Saints Catholic Church in Eagle Butte. Rodney passed away Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 at Hand County Memorial Hospital in Miller, S.D.
Rodney Hayes Martin was born on June 28, 1981, to Marty Martin and Etheleen Jewett in Rapid City, S.D. He is the older twin brother to Robert Andrew. At the age of two, a special man entered his life to serve as his step-father, life-long coach and mentor. This man not only married his mother, Eddie, but received three young boys; Ryan, Rodney, and Robert, as his bonus. The completion of this family came with younger brother Francis and with Gage and Salacia.
He spent his early years living in Aberdeen with his family where he attended school at Aberdeen Lincoln Elementary and Simmons Jr. High. Most weekends and summers were spent back in White Horse on the River with Grandpa Pinky and Grandma Mary. He spent most of these days down on the river with his brothers and cousins, learning the cowboy way from his grandpa. The time he spent in Aberdeen during his middle school years he and Robert worked for Rod Hall and Cherie Farlee where he was able to enjoy his love for horses. Many lifelong friends were made. He later spent endless hours on the road with his brother, cousins and their horses as they traveled to high school rodeos or various ranches in the area helping work cattle and branding. He was always willing to lend a helping hand. He left an impression of exceptional work habits and ethics on so many people along the way. These relationships and his hard working way brought him back to the area from miles away to help.
Another of his passions was wrestling. He spent many early morning hours in the back of the suburban with his brothers, cousins, or friends as Tom drove and Eddie “co-piloted” them across the state competing. He spent his high school years at Tiospaye Topa, Aberdeen Central and Cheyenne Eagle Butte. He qualified for the State Wrestling tournament for Aberdeen Central and again in 1998 for Cheyenne Eagle Butte. He was also a Lakota Nation Invitational Wrestling Champion in 1998. He graduated from Cheyenne Eagle Butte High School 1999.
After high school he joined his brother and his cousin fighting fire for DOI Forest Management/BIA fire department for the summer. He and Robert then went to Ft. Thompson where they worked for the Paul Daly ranch. Rodney returned home in 2001 where he went to work for Todd Ducheneaux. He work as a ranch hand wintering cows and riding horses for Todd. Todd provided a lot of insight toward horsemanship as he gave Rodney the opportunity hone his skills.
After a year he went to work for Barse Construction and helped to construct the Smee School at Wakpala, S.D., His “brag” was to cause concern for his construction superintendent (Mike Barse) by disregarding the use of his safety harness while walking the beams 60 feet above the gym floor.
In 2003 he moved to Brookings, S.D., where he went to work for Sioux Falls Construction. He followed the construction company to Sioux Falls; it was there that he met and later married Rebecca Roebuck. They were blessed with two children Tommie Kay, born Feb. 11, 2006, and three years to the day later Rowdy Hayes on Feb. 11, 2009. His children were his pride and joy. His kids came first to him, if they wanted it; he made sure they had it. He will leave a lasting impression on his kids as he spent time teaching them the importance of doing things right and working hard. They were often his riding partners.
In 2007 he and his family moved to Inwood, Iowa, where he worked for Jesse VanDestroet Feedlot. While at Inwood, he developed and refined his dog training skills with a blue heeler he got from his brother Robert. From this dog he raised several dogs as his “hired hands” and gained recognition for his ability to manage an unruly cow or large numbers of cows with his dogs. He would later use his dogs to support him when he pulled bulls at bull riding events in South Dakota and Nebraska.
In November 2011 he went to work for his current employer, Eagle Pass Ranch at Ree Heights, S.D. He was known as the head “Cowboy.” He spent most days out on the range with some of his best friends, his horses and his dogs. If one spent much time with him in the pasture you would soon learn that the dogs by his side and the horse under him were all the help he needed. He took much pride in his endless hours of training and time spent with his dogs and a good horse.
He gained a reputation as a multi-tasker with the introduction of cell phones into his game plan. He would call or text his brothers or cousins or friends just to “check-in” or give them some “Rodney-grief!” He was a notorious prankster.
He is survived by his wife of 9 years Rebecca, daughter Tommie (7) and son Rowdy (4). Mom Eddie Jewett and Step-father Tom Eagle Staff of White Horse. Dad Marty Martin, Eagle Butte. Brothers Robert Martin (Lisa, Rance and Katie), Isabel; Ryan Martin (Corliss, Brock, Riley, Jacey and Rya), Aberdeen; Francis Eagle Staff (Rebecca, Esau and Kwanee), Aberdeen; Gage Jewett, White Horse; Cole Martin (Amanda and Cade), Ft Pierre; Chris Eagle Staff, Bismarck, N.D. Sisters Salacia Jewett, White Horse; Lahnee Martin (Maddy) and Dani Martin both of Ft Pierre; Megan Eagle Staff (Dillon), Eagle Butte. Grandparents Mary Jewett, White Horse; Avin and Joanne Martin, Peidmont; Margaret Eagle Staff, Eagle Butte. Father and mother in law Claude and Janice Roebuck, sister in law, Jessica Roebuck all of Sioux Falls. Numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and special friends.
He was preceded in death by his Grandpa Pinky Jewett, Grandpa Esau Eagle Staff, Uncle Robert Eaglestaff, Uncle Bob Farlee, and several special friends.
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the June 19, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News