For the Record
POST CREEK — Thomas "Bearhead" Swaney, 78, of Post Creek passed
away Thursday at the home of his daughter Patty Stevens and son-in-law
Willie Stevens in St. Ignatius. Dad was a true warrior and battled with
cancer to the very end and died surrounded by family and friends.
Bearhead was born in St. Ignatius on April 16,
youngest of seven children born to James "J. D." Swaney and Mary
Catherine McDonald. He was raised in Dixon and he was known to proudly
proclaim that he "graduated 4th in his class" (Dixon High School only
had four graduates in 1950).
After graduation Bearhead enlisted in the military
in the Air Force during the Korean conflict from 1950 to 1954. Upon his
return home he attended college at what was then Western Montana
College in Dillon. He majored in English and anyone who knew him knew
how loquacious he was and how much he loved "the King’s English" as he
often referred to it. While he was in college he met Dorene Dupuis and
the two were married in 1958. With two children in diapers and a third
one on the way, Bearhead fell six credits short of graduating but
instilled the importance of education in his children, three of whom
went on to earn college degrees. Bearhead and Dorene divorced in 1979
but in later years maintained a friendly relationship.
Bearhead went to work for the Confederated Salish
Tribes in 1960, serving as the Tribal Treasurer. He then worked for the
Bureau of Indian Affairs, including a brief stay at Crow Agency,
Montana and Riverside, California, and then returned home for good in
1968. At that time along with his good friend the late Dave Harriman he
began working toward what would become one of his greatest legacies,
that of protecting and preserving the natural resources of the Flathead
Reservation. Through those early efforts he met Dennis Villegas and
Archie Carpentier, both of whom forever after called him Dad.
In the 1970’s Bearhead’s life took many paths and
turns. He and Wayne Hamel established "Ram’s Horn Post and Pole" on his
property at Post Creek and the tribal government also established a
game bird facility ("the Bird Farm") and bought a herd of elk that were
housed on a portion of the property. In 1973 he lost his lifelong best
friend Wayne Hamel but remained close to the rest of the family for the
remainder of his life.
Bearhead was one of the most active and
outspoken tribal leaders of the day. He served two terms on the Tribal
Council, including a stint as Tribal Chairman. He was well known for
his fiery disposition and blunt nature, and he was an unrelenting
advocate and defender of tribal sovereignty and continued to work to
preserve the natural environment of the reservation. He advocated for
protection of the South Fork of the Jocko, for wilderness designation
for the Mission Mountains, and helped establish one of the first
voluntarily adopted Class I airsheds in the nation over the Flathead
Reservation. He also directed the Air Quality program during its
infancy. He was staunchly opposed to several efforts to locate
additional dams on the lower Flathead River, and led numerous float
trips to raise awareness of the issue. In part for these and other
efforts, in 1979 he received a national conservation award from the
American Motors Corporation. During this time he also helped formalize
the planning committee for the Arlee Celebration, and in part through
these efforts he developed a close relationship with Doug Allard (who
always claimed he was "the younger and better looking of the two").
the 1980’s Bearhead’s life took on new directions as he worked in the
field of health care, including directing the Tribe’s Health
Department. He found ways to incorporate his beliefs into programs
aimed at involving young people in natural resource settings as a way
to cope with addiction and alcohol. He became a grandfather, and though
he tried hard to not enjoy it, we knew that he secretly did. He began
to take more time to enjoy the fruits of his labor in resource
protection by his pursuit of hunting, fishing and camping. He took many
enjoyable trips to the mountains with Karen and Ray Hale, and with Bob
"Big Darlin" and Mary Clairmont.
Bearhead retired from service to the tribal
government in 1997
and seamlessly transitioned into duck hunting, ice fishing and watching
any Indian boys’ high school basketball team he could in the winter,
and then to golf and more fishing in the summer. At that time he became
closer to Bear and Erma Malatare and their family. He also spent more
time at his property at Post Creek in various and sundry pursuit of
farming and ranching. He would say "it took 70 years for the Dawes Act
to work on me, but I’m finally becoming a farmer", and if someone was
looking for him he would say "I’m out standing in my field". Anyone who
saw him at the "Bird Farm" often would wonder exactly what he was doing
out in that field. In between arguments with Doug Allard and golf with
Gene "Cousin Snooks" Sorrell he hunted and fished with Eddie Ivanoff,
Bob Marsenich, Fred Steele, Ray Ochoa and whoever else was brave enough
to tag along.
Bearhead left a lasting legacy, not only on this
but in Indian Country nationwide. He was preceded in death by his
brothers and his grandson Thomas Lyles. He is survived by his oldest
daughter Kim Swaney and grandchildren Jamie Dickson and Ray Adams; his
middle daughter Patty Stevens and her husband Willie and grandchildren
Joanna Phillips and Joe Stevens; youngest daughter Ruth Swaney and
grandchildren Marianne and Catherine Addison and James Carpentier II;
and son Bill Swaney and Dawn Thomas and grandchildren Kyle Thomas, Kale
Gardner and Kayla Dix. He also is survived by numerous nieces and
nephews and their children, and by eight great-grandchildren and one on
the way in June.
A wake and visitation began Thursday night at the
home of Patty
and Willie in St. Ignatius. The wake closing was Saturday at the St.
Ignatius Community Center, with burial with military honors followed at
the Decker Family Cemetery near Mission Dam. Pall bearers were Ron
Swaney ("Rambo"), Fred Steele, Bob Marsenich ("Bobo"), Eddie Ivanoff,
Ernie Moran ("Turnip Farmer"), Austin Moran ("the Little Turnip
Farmer"), John "Bear" Malatare, and John Malatare ("Johnny Appleseed").
Honorary pall bearers were Doug Allard, Gene Sorrell, Charles "Chuck"
Tellier, Joe McDonald, and Larry "Big Sky" Anderson.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that
donations be sent
to the Summer Theatre Fund, c/o Arlee Community Development
Corporation, P. O. Box 452, Arlee MT 59821.
POLSON — Long time Polson resident Lorene P. Farrell passed away on
May 28, 2009 at her home while surrounded by members of her loving
family. Lorene was born February 9, 1915 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to
Fred William Steese. Jr. and Ethel (Miller) Steese. When Lorene was two
years old, her mother relocated the family to Polson following the
accidental death of Lorene’s father.
Lorene attended grade and high school in Polson,
1933. Following high school she worked for Dr. P.C. Noble and during
this period sang in many local choir groups. On August 8, 1940, she
married Thomas A. Farrell, a high school classmate, in Polson. The
couple lived at Kerr Dam, where Tom was employed, until 1942 when Tom
enlisted in the U.S. Army. During the time her husband was overseas in
the Philippines, she lived with her uncle, Claude Miller in Los
Angeles, CA where her first son was born.
At the conclusion of WWII, Lorene and Tom returned
to Kerr Dam
where Tom was once again employed. Lorene went to work for Dr. Tanglen.
She continued singing in Polson city choirs and sang in the summer Show
In 1964, Lorene went to work for Sheneman’s
(First Resort) on Main Street. She continued working there until the
early 1980’s when she retired.
Lorene has been an active member
of the Polson Christian Church since the 1920’s, sang in the church
choir and participated in numerous church activities. She also did
volunteer work at the Polson Country Store. She loved working in her
garden, cultivating beautiful roses and caring for all of her cats.
Husband Tom preceded Lorene in death in 1985. She
by brother Harold Steese of San Diego, CA; sister Winifred Scott of San
Lorenzo, CA; sons Thomas J. Farrell (Dianne) of Polson; Richard L.
Farrell (Sharon) of Boise, and daughter Carol Jo Farrell of Polson; and
four grandsons and four great-grandchildren.
She was a dedicated and nurturing mother, who was
very proud of her family and received an abundance of blessings in
In lieu of flowers, memorials on behalf of Lorene
may be made to
the Heritage of Faith Christian Church (John Payne, pastor), the Polson
Humane Society or the Polson Senior Citizens Center. A memorial service
for Lorene will be held at the Heritage of Faith Christian Church on
June 13, 2009 at 11 AM. Condolences to the family can be made at
SEATTLE, Wash. - Molly Marie Barnett, 31, of West Seattle passed on May
She was born in Havre on April 3, 1978 and raised
in both Ronan
and Seattle, WA. where she graduated from Kennedy High School, class of
As a child Molly was active in softball, Girl
developed a love of traveling. Amongst her favorite trips were trips to
London, Southeast Asia and Brazil. Her curiosity and friendly
disposition resulted in a large group of friends not only in Seattle
and Montana but around the world. Her interests were as varied and
numerous as her friends, including a love of Reggae music, animals, the
outdoors, reading, making people laugh and Hawaiian shirts.
is survived by mother Carlene Engstrom and her husband Dale of Polson;
her father Bill Barnett and his wife Rusty of Spokane WA.; brothers
Micah (Lisiane) and Casey (Srey Nin); grandfather William Barnett; her
partner Joy Ellis; and numerous friends and relatives.
She is preceded in death by her cat Froggy and her
grandmothers Bernice Bryant Clairmont and Trudy Barnett.
memorial service was held at the Polson Senior Indian Center on Sunday
May 25, 2009. Internment was at Ronan Cemetery. In lieu of flowers
memorials can be made in her name to the SKC general scholarship fund.
"Hit me with music because when the music hits,
you feel no pain." B.Marley
A. (Clairmont) Couture
PABLO — Corinne A. (Clairmont) Couture, 45, passed away Friday at St.
Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula.
Corinne was descendant of the Salish and Kootenai
Tribes and was
a member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Cree of North Dakota. She was
born on Sept. 21, 1963 in Los Angeles, CA to Robert and Mary (Azure)
Clairmont; she was raised in California and in the Polson area. She had
worked as a flagger, for Jore Corporation and as an over-the-road truck
driver and saw the country from coast to coast.
Corinne and Rodney Couture were married in 2003
and made their
home in Pablo where she enjoyed the outdoors, whether it was fishing,
hunting and camping and all knew her as Rod’s special "Hoochie Mama".
She also enjoyed the ocean and was fascinated by whales.
She was preceded in death by her father and
cousins "Gus" and "Porge".
She is survived by her husband Rod and his two
sons Randy and
Jacob of Pablo; her mother Mary Clairmont Jessen and her husband Dick
Jessen of Ronan; sister Carla and brothers Bob, Steve and Jim
Clairmont; mother-in-law Judy Phillips; sister-in-laws Arnell Phillips
and Rita Wolf and a niece Daffney who held a special place in her
heart, as well several nieces, nephews and cousins.
A wake began Saturday at Foster Funeral Home in
with the Rosary being recited on Sunday. Wake closing was on Monday in
the Chapel with funeral services at the Assembly of God Church in Ronan
with Pastor Dean Buffalo officiating.
SAN MATEO, Calif. — On Sunday, May 17, 2009, John W. Browne passed away
after a long illness.
Born in Montana to Thomas Browne and Josephine
Marion Browne on
January 8, 1921, John, whose ancestry was Irish, French and Native
American, had fond memories of the time he spent on his
great-grandparents’ ranch in Polson. His great-grandmother spoke
English, as well as three or more tribal languages. He cherished the
times when she would build a bonfire and tell stories, which always
began with, ‘A long, long time ago.’ His great-grandfather took John on
a cattle drive, which was a great adventure for him. John was proud of
his Native American heritage and when, as a child, he was asked what
part of him was Indian, he would reply, ‘The best part.’
After graduating from school in Polson, John had
until he was hired by the Border Patrol. He then volunteered for the
Air Force, where he remained until May 1946, when he was discharged at
the end of the war.
A few years ago, the Confederated Tribes of Salish
honored John as one of the few surviving tribal veterans of World War
II by presenting him with a beautiful buffalo print blanket specially
designed for the Native American veterans.
It was during his service in the military that he
met and later
married his wife, Almarene. They were married February 24, 1946. They
began their marriage in Oceanside, California, where John returned to
his position in the Border Patrol. He was soon made an investigator for
the Immigration and Naturalization Service. He was transferred to Los
Angeles and then to San Francisco. John and Almarene spent the last 53
years living in Belmont, California.
John is survived by his wife of 63 years; his son,
Browne of Redondo Beach; his daughter, Ann Fox, who lives in London,
England with her husband, Christopher Fox; two grandchildren, Paul and
Abigail Fox and a niece and nephew, Linda Memmett and Richard Browne.
He was pre-deceased by a son, Thomas Newton Browne, who died in
John was interred at Skylawn Cemetery in a private
family service on Friday, May 22, 2009.
ST. IGNATIUS — Mary Maass, 97, longtime resident of St. Ignatius,
passed away at St. Luke’s Hospital in Ronan.
She was the second of eight children born to
George and Mary Morris in Belt on September 12, 1911. She began her
grade school education at Belt and finished at Augusta. In 1924 the
family moved to a farm on the Fairfield Bench, located midway between
Choteau and Augusta. She attended Teton County High School in Choteau,
graduating in 1929 with a two-year teaching certificate.
Her teaching career began in a one room rural
school near Dutton. Here she taught for four years, attending summer
sessions in Dillon and Missoula University to update her teaching
In 1934, she married Karl Maass and they made
their home in Great Falls for several years. Their three children were
born there. In 1945, they moved to the Mission Valley and settled on a
120-acre farm west of Charlo. They raised clover seed, sugar beets and
potatoes and operated a small dairy.
After the death of her husband in 1954, Mary
renewed her teacher’s certificate and resumed teaching. She taught one
year in the Charlo elementary school and 22 years in the St. Ignatius
Elementary, retiring in 1978.
She spent her early retirement years traveling to
various places in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and
the States. In her later retirement years she did volunteer work at the
St. Ignatius Public Library, grade school and the Senior Citizens
Center. She was a member of the Leon Community Club, of the Ronan Faith
Lutheran Church and a 35-year member of delta Kappa Gamma International
Society and was involved in many of their activities. Her hobbies
included reading, sewing, crossword puzzles, crocheting, quilting,
bowling and spoiling "her grand and great grandchildren."
Beside her husband she was preceded by her
parents, three brothers and one sister.
She is survived by her two sons, Karl of Missoula
and George (Joyce) of Corvallis; daughter Marilyn (George) Broadwater
of Missoula; sister-in-law Emily of Riverside, CA; brother Arnold
(Phyllis) of Portland, OR; two sisters Ruth Morris and Edna Minckler
both of Great Falls; nine grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren; five
great-great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Cremation has taken place and a memorial service
has tentatively been scheduled for Saturday, May 24 at 1 p.m. in the
Faith Lutheran Church in Ronan with Pastor Rand Drollman officiating.
Donations in her honor may be given to St.
Ignatius Senior Center, Leon Community Club or Ronan Faith Lutheran
DIXON — Debra A. Bouma born June 14, 1956 joined in marriage for
sixteen loving years to John B. Bouma lost her battle to cancer on May
She was born in San Diego, California but found
her home here in Dixon. She was an angel who testified of Christ even
on death’s door. Her loving spirit lives on with her six children and
fifteen grandbabies. Her precious loving nature will be greatly missed
by all that were blessed to have known her.
Martin Demarais (Fyant)
PABLO — Lance Martin Demarais (Fyant) passed away May 7, 2009. He was
born May 31, 1984 in Providence, RI to Melody Demarais.
Raised in Pablo by his parents Melody and Louis
Fyant, he attended school in Ronan and Two Eagle River School where he
made many friends. He enjoyed many outdoor activities, especially
fishing with friends. Lance was a kind, hard working man most recently
employed at American Truss. He was preceded in death by his grandfather
Ernest Martin Demarais of Malta and many other relatives on both sides.
He is survived by his parents Melody and Louis
Fyant; his love Rosie Gurule; brother Louie; as well as a large
extended family and all his friends.
Lance was buried at Jocko Cemetery in Arlee.
Trahan Orr Wallace
BOZEMAN — Laurina Trahan Orr Wallace passed away on May 2, 2009 at
the age of 79 in Bozeman. She suffered from Alzheimers and other health
She was born in St. Ignatius to Albert Luke Trahan
Philomene Ducharme Trahan on October 9, 1929. She grew up in St.
Ignatius and married Leroy Charles Orr on November 30, 1946. They had
nine children together but later divorced. She had two more children by
Laurina is survived by her children: Bev (Dewey)
Pablo; Dan (Alexis) Orr of Warren, OR; Sue (Chris) Olson of Polson;
Bobbie Orr of Acworth, GA; Cyndy (Vern) Clairmont of Ronan; Tedd
(Tammy) Orr and Gordon (Trish) Orr of Three Forks; Tina Orr of
Billings; Teri (Mike) Aldrich and Laurel (Chuck) Bulson of Helena. She
is also survived by her grandchildren: Justin Borders, Alyssia Lokken,
Joshua Orr, Brenda Steiner, Anna Olson, Shanna Depner, Jason and Jeff
Clairmont, Amanda Fouty, James Orr, Ashley Young, Teddy Rae Orr, Niki
Balbach, Brad Orr, Shienne Spatzierath, Tyler Orr, Jeremy Aldrich and
Michelle Orr; her great grandchildren Kylee Lokken, Kylie Mortenson,
Madyson Lokken, James Steiner, Jr., Ashley Steiner, Gracie Waterman,
Nika Waterman, Keston Depner, Cooper and Addison Clairmont, Mason and
Asyln Fouty, Kodie and Hunter Bailey, Jayce Olsen, Tycee McVicker,
Lilyana Orr and Amaya Valdez; her sisters Marie Cowan, Eileen Quist and
Theresa Morigeau and brother Hank Trahan.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers
Trahan and Sidney Trahan and sister, Theresa "Tessa" Shourds, son
Curtis Bradbury and grandson Michael Terrence Orr.
Laurina will be cremated and her ashes placed with
her mother, Philomene Trahan and son, Curtis Bradbury in St. Ignatius.
A memorial will be planned at a later date.
K&L Mortuaries & Crematory of
Three Forks assisted with arrangements.