LEO SPANG – second to right. He was a true horseman. He was a wagon master. But most of all he was the best, kindest, most loving father, brother, grandpa, uncle you could want. And he left us Friday, January 22, 2016,.at 6:32 p.m. So many hearts are breaking. People all over the world knew this wonderful man and mourn with us. We love you Leo Spang.
Many modern Cheyenne Warriors find themselves still facing battles but now they fight on different battlefields. The courage it requires is the same as years ago. On January 22, 2016 Leo Francis Spang lost his battle for his life through the pain of diabetes and heart disease. The hardest part for him was enduring it without his partner, his beautiful wife, Maxine, who fought her own battle and went on to be where he has now gone.
Leo was born on our homeland, Lame Deer, MT, on May 13, 1946, the youngest son of six amazing sons of Jennie (Limberhand) and Wilfred Spang. Leo was a kind, respectful, loving, generous man, and he also had a sense of humor. He was taught at an early age the value of hard work and the joy of exploring the beautiful reservation, and learning the Cheyenne language left to us by our ancestors.
One of the happiest days of his life was August 1, 1970, when he joined his life to Maxine Maxelina Guavera and for 43 years they began their life on Muddy Creek together, building a family ranch. Although most of his adult life he spent working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs at a job where he eventually came to know every part of our beautiful reservation, his main joy was on his ranch raising, breeding, and training horses. He was known for training the larger cross breeds, Clydesdales, Shires, Percherons etc. and they pulled his wagons that showed up at major events on the reservation such as parades, giving rides for elders on special occasions, and they were especially requested for funerals, to take people to their final resting place – and he will have this honor himself followed by many to honor this outstanding horseman. He enjoyed training young men to break young colt horses.
He and his brothers, children and grandchildren knew him as an expert hunter (mostly elk and deer) providing food for the table in this way. He learned from his father and each year hunting season was a time the family looked forward to. It was a source of stories that were added to each year. Leo trained grey hounds/Scottish deer hound dogs and loved to use them in chasing coyotes. He also loved to trap.
He was a legendary figure in southeastern Montana in the area of baseball and of soft ball. He was versatile in just about every area and set records in his ability to knock them out of the field. A power hitter, he earned the name of “The Big Hurt.” In one of the fields in Colstrip he set the record for the most home runs. He was instrumental in founding the outstanding baseball team, “Redfeather.”
His horses and wagons went on the trail with Cheyenne Trail riders, a business he has been a part of for the 25 years it has existed. Visitors from every continent and many islands of the world rode with him and learned about the history, culture and especially ethnobotany of our reservation. He also rode horseback with them and camped with them. Cheyenne Trail riders will never be the same without him. Condolences have come in from Germany, Scotland, France, and across the United States.
Leo is survived by his children Evone Spang (C. Robert Yellowfox, III); JoHanna Spang; and Artie Spang. Grandchildren: Shaydel Alissa Spang, Sage Francis Spang, Trevor Wiley Spang, and Leo Clay Yellowfox and one great grandchild, Sage Spang Jr., son of Sage Spang and Jeniqua J. Sequi. Four Brothers; Norman (Clarice) Spang of Idaho Falls, Idaho, Alonzo (Clarice) Spang of Billings, James (Aladine) Spang of Muddy Creek, Zane (Sandy) Spang of Ashland.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Jennie Limberhand and Wilfred Spang. Brother, Lawrence Spang, and his wife Maxine Guavera.
His relatives include Harris, Limpy, Walks Along, Limberhand, Atwood, Whitewolf, Elk Shoulder, Bixby, Whiteman, One Bear, Bear Tusk, Azune, Daniels, Robenson, White Dirt, Wolf Chief, White Shirt, Poitra, Guavera, Killsnight, Threefingers, Lamebear. Walkingbear, Yelloweyes, Shoulderblade, Blackhorse, Medicinetop, Strangeowl, Medicine Elk, Long Jaw, Eagle Feather, Big Head Man, Wolfname, Flying, Lonebear. In this time of grief we may have forgotten to mention families and friends but we acknowledge your help, thoughts and prayers for Leo.
See more at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Homes.
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