Robert Iron Wing

  • BORN: December 7, 1938
  • DIED: May 8, 2013
  • LOCATION: La Plant, South Dakota

Funeral services for Robert Iron Wing, 74, of La Plant, will be Monday, May 20 at 10:00AM, MDT, at the Cultural Center, Eagle Butte. Burial will be at 3:00PM Monday at Black Hills National, Sturgis. Meet at Redtop Hill at 5:00PM, MDT Sunday to process to Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Whitehorse, for wake services beginning at 7:00PM. Robert entered the spirit world May 8, 2013 near La Plant. Stout Family Funeral Home, Mobridge.

Robert Lee Iron Wing was born on December 7, 1938, at Cheyenne Agency, SD, to Gilford Iron Wing, Sr. and Pearl Defender. He was the oldest of 10 children. His siblings were six sisters, Georgina, Hazel Traversie, Debbie, Renee, Marlene and Carrie and three brothers, Morris Iron Wing, Gilford Iron Wing, Jr. and Chauncey Iron Wing. Robert grew up in La Plant, SD, for his early years. He talked a lot about the simple life, such as riding horses, singing Lakota, "Indian", as he put it and dancing. He told stories of how out-of-the-blue someone would show up with a calf or pig and the cookout for the community was started. Later, the dancing, singing or the Powwow would start. He would joke or always say stuff like "Ah heck, we didn't need a whole year to fund raise, or the Tribes' involvement to have our good times". You could hear and feel the enjoyment and longing in his voice when he told these stories. He also loved to sing his Indian hymns and for most of his life he had his own personal Indian Hymnal book with him when he went to church. He would always say that if you wanted to learn how to talk Indian then all you had to do was learn to sing it. Robert went to school at Old Cheyenne Agency Boarding School. These school systems had bothered a lot of Native American people (Indian), but he thrived on it and loved it. Just like his memories, he had an enjoyment and longing for this place, when talked about. It seemed it was the camaraderie and togetherness of his people that he missed. This is where he earned the nickname "Muscles". Now, when there is nothing on the outside of a person that suggests ANYTHING about muscle, then there had to be something inside that person to get a nickname like that; something Very Strong. It was told that he earned it because he was the starting quarterback on the football team and could bounce back from one heck of a hit. He graduated from Old Cheyenne Agency and the nickname went with him. Robert was well known for his sense of humor and for being a fun-loving person. He was always teasing or being teased or raising heck with someone or they with him. He was always involved with something goofy, something off the wall or something to do with laughter. In 1960, at age 22, he joined the United States Navy. Though goofy and hilarious, his entry does show his strong sense of honor, duty, loyalty and determination. His entry was during the time of peacetime drafts for the military but the regulations were still pretty strict and rigid; he wasn't drafted, but signed up. However, he was told he couldn't serve his country because he was under weight. There was a fellow by the last name of Otterstutter who was drafted and didn't want to enter the Navy. Well, Robert thought the US Government and military didn't know what the heck they were talking about so he put two-and-two together, exchanged paperwork with Otterstutter and said hello to the open water. It was said that his friends had to remind him of his name at roll call, Bob Marshall being one of them. When his friends wanted to talk to him as Robert, they would call him "Muscles". The Navy eventually found out, and after some brig time, he was allowed to finish under his real name with honorable conditions. He talked about the many countries he was able to see and the glorious adventures he had. Once again, you could feel and hear the enjoyment and longing for the camaraderie and togetherness in his stories. After leaving the Navy in 1962, at age 24, he married Arlene Jewett and started his family. They had 8 children, Frank Jewett, Lucy Iron Wing (deceased), Valerie Iron Wing (deceased), Robbie (Rick) McLaughlin, Arlen (Ashleigh) Iron Wing and three baby boys that died in infancy. Robert said that in order to support a family he knew he needed a job, so he put in for every job the Tribe had and the one he got was as a Police Officer, a "Cop". He was one of the first six police officers on the Cheyenne River Reservation. He used to joke about how they covered the whole reservation with just six cops, but now they are having trouble with what they have. It was just a joke though, he had an enormous amount of respect for any police officer; young Merle Bruguier used to stop by for coffee all the time. He attended the Police Academy in New Mexico. Some of his police officer buddies were saying that "Muscles" was due to show up and when he did and he walked through the door, one of the females let out a loud giggle. He retired from the Police Department in 1991 or 1992; it was hard to tell, because he would quit all the time, but it wouldn't be very long before he would put the uniform back on and "saddle back up". He quit one time because the Chief of Police told him to laugh on his own time, but about a month later they came after him and he was back at it again. Robert's wife, Arlene, passed away in 1993. Robert remarried, and was very happy with Francine LeBeau. Throughout their years together they were always at each other's side, hardly ever separated. A person could see the peace


Funeral Service
  • May 20, 2013
    10:00 AM
  • H.V. Johnston Lakota Cultural Center
  • Eagle Butte, SD 57625
  • Get Directions


“ I ready the obits for Native Sun News and what a wonderful obit of Robert, I would have loved knowing him. what a great life he had. thank you for...Read More »

Posted by: ardis - Rapid City, SD

Share A Memory Leave Audio Memory Light A Candle View All Memories

Add Photos, Videos, Music that tell the story of Robert's life.