Charles C. Colombe, of Mission, South Dakota, walked on June 9 after an ATV accident on his ranch. He was 75.
He began his working life on a ranch and made a living at rodeo. “I went to work my senior year. I quit school. Work was easier to get 50 years ago. I always worked,” Colombe told ICTMN in 2004. (Related story: “President Charles Colombe; Businessman, Tribal Leader, Cowboy”)
The Relocation Act landed him in Dallas in 1958 where he went to barber school and continued the rodeo circuit. In 1961, he joined the military and was sent to Korea. But, ranching and business was what he was best at. Even without credit, he figured it out. He went into the cattle business with three backers.
“It was a good start. I learned working with?bankers, learned about cash flow, negative risk, loan applications, balance?sheets, P and L statements—that was my education,” he said in 2004, when he served as president of the tribe.
He started Allstop Inc. with his son, Wesley Colombe, which is one of the most successful and largest private sector employers on the Rosebud Indian Reservation with 30 employees.
He was the treasurer of the National Indian Gaming Commission from 2004 to 2006 and was also the president and CEO of B.B.C. Entertainment, a casino management company.
“As he would have chosen, Charlie left this world with his spurs on and a legacy of supporting bronc riding, youth and his people to keep his memory alive,” reads a post on the Indian Rodeo News Facebookpage.
A wake for Charles Colombe was held June 12 at Sinte Gleska MultiPurpose Building in Mission, South Dakota. Memorial Services are today, June 13 at 10:30 a.m. with burial to follow on his ranch.