Char-Koosta News

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For the Record

July 2008 Obituaries

Ray Stewart Finley
LANCE CREEK, Wyo. — Ray Stewart Finley passed away at the Finley ranch in Lance Creek, Wyoming on July 27, 2008 at the age of 74.

Ray was born on August 13, 1933 at Grandma Stewart’s house outside of Quiatis to Claude and Bessie Finley. He was raised on the Finley homestead on the Fence Creek with his oldest brother Loy and two sisters Clauda and Wanda. Ray graduated eighth grade from an old country school and attended ninth grade in Sheridan, Wyoming.

He married the love of his life, Edna Mae Jacobs August 2, 1951. Ray and Edna worked and began their family on the Walter Bail’s ranch for ten years before moving to his parents’ ranch in St. Ignatius. He and Edna took over the Finley ranch in 1962. There they continued to raise their three boys Tom, Larry, and Monty. Ray and Edna lived happily on the Finley ranch until Edna’s death in 2006. Before his death, Ray spent time in Wyoming helping Monty on the ranch doing what he loved most. Monty and Barb had the honors of caring for Ray during his last few months of life. Tom, Larry, Monty, and Barb were at his bedside when Ray went to be with Jesus.

Ray was an honest-hardworking rancher. He began riding horses at the young age of two, manned the sheep camp by himself at the age of nine, and operated a successful cattle and dairy ranch at twenty-nine. Ray’s love was for his family and cattle ranching.

Ray is survived by his sister Wanda and her husband Herb Blakemen; his three sons: Tom and his wife Iris of Casper, Wyoming; Larry of Hanna, Wyoming; and Monty and his wife Barb of Lance Creek, Wyoming; and numerous grandchildren and great-grand children.

Ray was preceded in death by his parents Claude and Bessie Finley; his brother Loy; sister Clauda; and his loving wife Edna.

Graveside services will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, August 2, 2008 at the Pleasant View Cemetery in St. Ignatius.

Cecille Elizabeth Finley Matus
PABLO — Cecille Elizabeth Finley Matus, age 86 of Pablo, passed away with her family by her side on Tuesday July 15, 2008 at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula.

Cecille was born in a tipi on October 10, 1921 near Jette Lake to Sakali and Mary Susan Finley. Cecille attended schools at Elmo and the Ursline School in St. Ignatius.

In 1960, Cecille married Walter Matus at Twin Falls, ID. She was a seasonal worker working in orchards and fields and cutting Christmas trees throughout the Northwest. Most recently she worked with the Kootenai Culture Committee as a consultant with the Kootenai language. She spoke fluent Kootenai. Cecille was very active in cultural activities.

She and Walter were inseparable for more than 48 years of traveling all over the West, enjoying pow-wows, stick games, casinos and the outdoors. They spent about 40 years in and around the Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington before returning to the Flathead Reservation in 2004 to be closer to family.

She enjoyed her bingo games, going to the mountains and picking huckleberries, camping, traveling, and especially enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

One of her most recent adventure included renovation of an RV for her and Walt to travel and meet other places.

Her parents, first husband Stanley Irvine, children Joseph Irvine, Juanita Irvine, LeRoy Irvine, Robert Irvine, sisters Nancy Joseph, Annie Finley, Sophie Finley, Madeline Finley, brothers Frank Lefthand, George Lefthand, and Simon Lefthand preceded Cecille in death.

She is survived by her husband Walter Matus; sons Lloyd (Kathy) Irvine, Harold "Bubbins" Irvine, Arnold (Jody) Irvine, and Ronald (Laura) Matus; sister Alice Hewankorn; 13 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Wake service began on Wednesday July 16, 2008 in Elmo; rosary service was held the next day with Father Drew Maddock officiating. Mass of Christian Burial was held on Friday July 18, 2008 and Father William McCann officiated. Interment followed at the Dayton Cemetery. Arrangements were under the direction of Grogan Funeral Home.

Laurina Mary 'Ollie' Foust
MOIESE — Laurina Mary 'Ollie,' 81, of Moiese, passed away Saturday evening, July 12, 2008 surrounded by the love of her family.

Laurina was born June 17, 1927 in St. Ignatius to Oscar and Louise Luddington. She grew up in the Jocko Valley and attended school in Dixon where she enjoyed fishing and riding her horse Curly.

On November 4, 1944 she married Bill Foust, Jr. and started a family. Laurina and Bill had five children and raised them in Moiese on the family farm. Laurina could usually be found working in her beautiful gardens that yielded enough for her family and friends and still enough for any deer or pheasant that would stop in for a fresh lunch.

She was a fabulous cook and always had plenty for a friend who happened to stop by at dinnertime.

The morning of July 12, she proudly made her second batch of jam from strawberries she had picked in her garden this year.

When the weather kept her in and the gardening was done for the season she would spend her time quilting, crocheting or experimenting with new craft ideas.

She loved children and was always ready for the goblins, which would stop by each Halloween.

Christmas was her favorite holiday and her tree was the highlight of her season, only to be surpassed by her homemade pies.

Laurina was an avid marksman and proudly displayed the elk and sheep mounts from past hunts with her son, Bill.

Laurina and her husband enjoyed gambling and made several trips to Nevada with friends.

After Bill's passing in 2004, her daughter Lisa moved into the family home and their travels continued, including Laurina's first trip to the ocean last summer.

Laurina had many friends who would gather to play bingo. She, I'm sure, will miss the ones left behind, but there are many who have been waiting for her to join them in heaven.

Laurina was preceded in death by her husband Bill; her parents; daughter Judith Laurina; sister Geneva and a family of friends and loved ones who have a place prepared for her.

Laurina is survived by son Bill (Barb) Foust III of Ronan; daughters Barbara (Tom) Wheeler of Arlee; Lisa Foust of Moiese; and Lori (Jeff) Foust of Florence; eight grandchildren: Tracy Therriault, Jeff Therriault, Tamara Joachim, Jason Foust, Justin Foust, William Foust, Allison Cochrell; five great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. She is also survived by and greatly missed by her Chesapeake retriever, Chester.

A celebration of Laurina's life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 26 at the St. Ignatius Catholic Church in St. Ignatius. Father Jeff Flemming will lead us in honoring Laurina's memory.

The family suggests that memorials be made to Animeals or a pet rescue group of your choice.

Milicia "Lisa" Faye Coffey
ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Milicia Faye Ysen Coffey, 52, left to be with the Creator on July 4, 2008.

She was born on April 25, 1952 to Timothy Ysen and Mary Post Ysen in Spokane, Washington. She married George Coffey in 1978 and moved to Dixon, Montana where they made their life and raised their children. Lisa was a valued member of the community and often looked to as a cultural leader. She was a skilled hide tanner and loved to create beautiful and practical pieces of art from the hides she tanned such as cradleboards and boots. She also enjoyed camping and living off the land with her husband and children. She loved to go huckleberry picking and powwowing where she could often be found around the blackjack table.

Lisa was a free spirit who enjoyed life in all its mysteries and miracles. After spending 30 years with the love of her life, Lisa moved on and was currently in Albuquerque, New Mexico with Dee Azure. She had many friends in many places and felt at home beside some of the local transients. She considered herself a street person and felt proud to have lived among some of the world's most wholesome people.

She was preceded in death by her father Timothy Ysen, mother Mary Post-Ysen, sister Marlene Ysen and her daughter Shannon Fawn Coffey.

She is survived by husband George Coffey of Dixon, son George (Mari) Coffey, Jr. of Dixon, daughters Rainey (Brad) Coffey of St. Ignatius and Katie (Juan) Coffey of Tucson, AZ; her brother Roy Ysen of Spokane, WA and 9 grandchildren.

A wake was held at the Longhouse in St. Ignatius with the Rosary being held Sunday evening and Mass being celebrated on Monday afternoon in St. Ignatius Mission with burial in Snyelmn Sntmtmne.

LeRoy J. McClure
ARLEE — LeRoy J. McClure, 70, passed away at his home on July 3, 2008.

LeRoy Joseph McClure was the great-grandson of Chief Charlo. He was born on November 21, 1937 in St. Ignatius to his proud parents William and Margrette Charlo-McClure.

LeRoy served our country for eight years in the Navy until around 1961 when he gracefully married Patricia Hole and raised their four children while doing construction for the Union. It was here that he was injured while working on a bridge in 1978. Patricia sadly passed away and sometime after his great loss, he met and fell in love with his present wife Theresa Merseal. He married her in 1981 where the family continued grew to eight children whom they considered him to be the greatest father in the whole world.

LeRoy lived his life with the things he loved, being with his children and grandchildren, the outdoors and playing a little keno from time to time, but a must was reading the newspaper every morning like clockwork. LeRoy continued to work regularly gathering, cutting and selling Christmas trees every year at the Orange Street Market until last year where it became more troublesome with his health failing him. His favorite holiday was the 4th of July where he would park his trailer and play stickgame, sometimes all night. This helped in winning the world Stick Game Championship in 1997. LeRoy was a bullrider, a BS'er and an all around great man.

LeRoy was preceded in death by his son Bob; his father William "Pinto" McClure; mother Maggie McClure; brothers Mackay, Toosie and Porky McClure; sister Hazel McQueen and also many nieces, nephews and very close friends; brothers-in-laws June Bug Lafley and Jim Cates.

His pride and joy came from his love for his wife, children and especially his grandbabies. His is survived by his wife Theresa; son Scott Eugene McClure; his other children Teddy Nooney, Rick Hatfield, Kevin Mertins, Tonya Skow and DeShanna McClure; 14 grandchildren; sisters Mary Lou Sorrell, Dottie Cates, Darlene Lafley and Rosemary Thomas and brother Harold "Sonny" McClure.

A traditional wake began Tuesday in the Arlee Community Center on Powwow Road. A rosary was held Wednesday in the Center. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Arlee Community Center. Interment will follow in the Jocko Cemetery where military honors will be presented.