Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

For the Record
March 2010

Dorothy Marie Kroshus
RONAN — Dorothy Marie Kroshus, 74, passed away March 31at St. Luke Extended Care.

A member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe, she was born in St. Ignatius on March 10, 1936 to Lillian Matt and Elmer Bisson.

Raised and educated on the reservation she left as a young woman moving to Oregon and later Missoula. In the late 80’s she returned to the Ronan area where she has resided since.

Dorothy loved her animals and looked after many a stray. She enjoyed crafts, sewing and going to yard sales.

A widower, she was preceded in death by her husbands Dave Lutton and Ralph "Ole" Kroshus as well her son David Lutton, Jr; her parents; four brothers; and two sisters.

Survivors include her sister Vivian Cahoon of Pinehurst, Idaho and several nieces, nephews and extended family members.

A graveside service was held Monday, April 5, 2010 at in the Lakeview Cemetery in Polson.

Harold J. Sonny McClure
ARLEE — Harold J. Sonny "Mow Wow" McClure, 68, passed away Sunday at his home near Arlee with his faithful dog Heather by his side.

A lifelong resident of Arlee, he was born in St. Ignatius on Dec 18, 1941 to Margarauit Charlo and William Pinto McClure. Mow wow worked in the woods.

A member of the Salish and Kootenai Tribe, he was the great great grandson of Chief Charlot.

Mow wow was preceded in death by his parents; sister Hazel McQueen; and brothers LeRoy, Mackie, Victor "2-C" and Francis "Porky".

Survivors include his son Kenny McDonald; grandchildren Shaylene and Donovan; stepson Jim Buccelli; step-grandchildren Joslyn Buccelli, Chanel Roberts and Dominick Buccelli; great step-grandchildren Aleah and Warrior; sisters Angelic "Dottie" Cates, Rosemary Thomas, Darlene McClure Lafley and Mary Lou (Rawhide) Sorrell; numerous nieces, nephews and extended family members.

Funeral services were held in the Arlee Community Center. Burial followed in the Jocko Cemetery.

Alphonse Henry Clairmont
RONAN — Alphonse Henry Clairmont, age 86, of Ronan passed away at his home on Friday March 26, 2010 of natural causes.

He was born in Missoula on April 29, 1923 to Joseph Henry Clairmont and Elsie Butt Clairmont. He married Irma Lingner in Polson on March 29, 1947. They were married 49 years until her passing in October of 1996.

Henry was a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. He was a World War II Navy veteran and was a life long rancher in the North Crow, Pablo Reservoir and Buffalo Bridge areas of the Mission Valley.

He was preceded in death by his wife; parents; son Henry Eugene Clairmont; step grandson Shawn; and brothers Bud, Dean and Virgil.

He is survived by 11 children: Dennis Clairmont (Nadine) of Pablo; Sherry Clairmont (Roy Adams) of Ronan; Chris Jackson (Mark) or Ronan; Nadine Rice (Clint) of Endicott, WA; Joel Clairmont (Teri) or Polson and Helena; Kevin Clairmont (Sue) of Polson; Aileen Bailey (Russ) of Ennis; Geri Herreid (Tim) of Ronan; Chet Clairmont (Trish) of Casper, WY; Yvonne Funke (Ken) of Spokane, WA and Roger Clairmont (Carrie) of Ronan; 31 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and a large extended family.

A traditional wake was held at the family home. Vigil services were held Monday March 29 at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ronan. Mass of the Christian Burial was celebrated on Tuesday March 30 at the church with Father James Connor, celebrant. Graveside services with military honors were held at the Ronan cemetery. The family requests that memorials be made to the North Crow Creek Womens Club, 44225 N. Foothills Drive, Ronan, Mt 59864.

Shrider-Thompson Funeral and Cremation Services of Ronan is assisting the family with arrangements.

Alma Lorraine Rathbun
POLSON — Alma Lorraine Rathbun, 76, joined her beloved husband of 51 years on March 27 2010. Alma was born to Annie Franks DuPuis and Everett Franks on November 1, 1933 and was the first baby born in the new hospital in Polson.

Grandma (Alma) married her soul mate and best friend Delbert Rathbun on June 1, 1951 in Polson where they started a great journey together. From that reunion they had five children.

They spent most of their lives in Polson; aside from the short time they lived in Seeley Lake, Great Falls and Bull Head City, AZ.

Grandma was a stay at home mom until the children were older. Alma started work as a waitress at the Pirate and Hut cafes in the 1960’s and met so many wonderful people who told so many stories of the old days of Polson. She later went back to high school when she was 33, with two of her daughters, who were freshman and sophomores. She did two years of high school in one year, with five kids at home. It was her proudest moment when she got to walk up to the podium to accept her high school diploma in 1967. Soon after, she attended college classes in Polson at the community college, which later formed into the SKC that we know today. She then became the bookkeeper for Cal-Gas, working there for several years, and also worked at Security State and 1st Citizens Banks.

She met so many wonderful friends along the way, whom she always kept in touch with. Her life long friends, Irene Olson, Phyllis Sanford and Ruth Larson were there from day one and they became known as the Gang of Four; they were the world to her. In retirement Alma and Delbert managed numerous motels.

Grandma had a passion for traveling and loved the Greyhound Bus. In 2004 grandma took the trip of a lifetime, taking a cruise from Vancouver, B.C. to Anchorage, AK with her best friends Alice and Duane Johnson and Irene Olson.

Grandma was a HUGE Mariners fan and got to attend a Mariners game in 2007 in Detroit, Michigan with her granddaughter, Melissa.

She loved having family get-togethers, bowling and playing cribbage any chance she could get. Grandma had a unique power of remembering numbers. She never forgot a birthday or a phone number, even after getting Alzheimer’s.

Alma was Mom and Grandma to so many people who came through the front door, inviting them to a game of pinochle, cribbage, and whatever games they wanted to play. The girl’s Suitors would come to the house to see and visit with "Mom", before anything else, because she always had something good cooking on the stove.

Alma is preceded in death by her parents Annie Franks DuPuis, Everett Franks and Augusta DuPuis; husband Delbert L. Rathbun, sister Donna Smith; step sisters Dorothy Getz and Enid DuPuis; four half brothers; one half sister; grandson Jeffry L. Walters; and sister-in-law Bonnie Franks.

Alma is survived by daughters Arleen (Lloyd) Austin, Debbie (Cliff) Pittsley, and Lila Davis (Guy Clatterbuck); sons Paul (Beth) Rathbun, and Wade (Freda) Rathbun; sister Vera Utzke; brother Allen Franks; sister-in-law Betty Christenson; 31 grand kids; 65 great grand kids; and 18 great-great grand kids; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, April 8 at 2 p.m. at Grogan Funeral Home, 101 Sixth Ave. E. A reception will follow the services at the Polson Senior Citizen’s Center.

Messages of condolence may be sent to the family online at The staff of Grogan Funeral Home and Crematory, Polson, considers it a privilege to care for Mrs. Rathbun’s family.

Layn Kenneth Lozeau
RONAN — Layn Kenneth "Boo" Lozeau, 7, passed away March 22, 2010 at his home in Ronan.

Layn blessed our lives on December 20, 2002 when he was born in Polson. When Layn was one year old he moved to Phoenix, AZ so he could experience big city life. He spent four years there camping and riding quads with the "Camping Crew". In 2008, he decided he was too hot and wanted to come back to his Reservation, so he could take up hunting and fishing.

In Sept. 2009, Layn was diagnosed with a rare terminal genetic disease called Adrenoleukodystrophy. He did not allow that to slow him down. Layn attended school in the Ronan/Pablo schools and was a 1st grader. He loved school and his teacher Mrs. Hoback. Even after losing his sight and mobility he was able attend. He was very disappointed he couldn’t graduate with his first grade class.

Layn always wanted to be a cop and also to work for Ford like his daddy. In Dec. 2009 Lake County Sheriff Lucky Larson and his deputies came to deputize him. In January 2010 Make A Wish sent Layn and his family to Hawaii to swim with the dolphins.

Layn loved the hunting and fishing with dad, being outdoors and working on cars with dad. And even after losing his sight he was still the first to spot the Elk leaving none for Dad and Uncle Vic. In his short 7 years he lived a lifetime.

Layn was such a special boy and absolutely fearless in life. He loved everyone and didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He will be missed by so many family members, friends and loved ones. His brother and best friend Nash, big sissy Anjelica, sister Alicia and especially Mommy and Daddy.

Funeral services were held Friday in the Longhouse with Pastor Gerry Oullette officiating. Burial followed in the St. Ignatius Catholic Cemetery.

Joshua P. Howard
ARLEE — Joshua "Joshie" P. Howard, 13, passed away March 23, 2010 at Community Hospital in Missoula from complications from diabetes.

Josh was born on June 5, 1996 in Missoula to Angel and Matt Howard, Sr. (BigSam). Raised on the Flathead Reservation, Josh was currently attending Charlo Middle School.

Josh enjoyed hunting, fishing and being with friends and family.

He was preceded in death by Stephen Howard, Joe Howard, Auntie Traci Hernandez and Grandma Lou Oldhorn.

He leaves behind his parents Matt (BigSam) and Angel; his siblings Kathy, Robert (Suset and Robin), Matt-Matt, Jeremiah and Kaileen; aunt Marie and uncle Eli Diaz and their children Amais, Kailana, Stanley, Eliana and Sarai; uncles Pat Matt, Jr., Tonka Howard (Caroline TalksDifferent and baby Lillian Howard); grandmothers Linda Weaselhead and Linda Howard; grandfathers Earl P. Matt, Sr. and Dallas Howard, Sr.; foster parents Justin and Jane Orr; and many loving and caring family members.

Memorial donations can be made to the JDRF in honor of Joshua Howard.

E. Emma Kauffman
ST. IGNATIUS — E. Emma Kauffman, 84, passed away March 26, 2010 at her home near St. Ignatius.

A devoted wife and mother she moved to the area around 1998.

She was preceded in death by her parents Emmanuel and Nora (Miller) Schlabach, brothers John Schlabach and Orva Schlabach.

She is survived by her husband of 62 years David Kauffman; children Edith (David) Miller, Steve (Linda) Kauffman, Ruby (Marvin) Schrock, Lonnie (Sara) Kauffman Lorene (Mike) Yoder, John (Loma) Kauffman, David "Jr." Kauffman, BenRay (Polly) Kauffman Katie (Henry) Lehman, Harvey (Susan) Kauffman Howard (Carol) Kauffman; brothers and sisters Esther Miller, Roman Schlabach, Mabel Miller, Wilbur Schlabach, Wilma Yoder, Viola Bontrager, Alice Yoder and Omer Schlabach; 65 grandchildren, 65 great-grandchildren and a large extended family.

Funeral services were held Wednesday, March 31 in the Mission Valley Community Hall on Foothills Rd near St. Ignatius. Interment followed in the Mission Valley Cemetery.

Gloria Jean Phillips Trahan
ELMO — Gloria Jean Phillips Trahan, 62, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, auntie and friend passed on, surrounded by her loving family and friends in her home Monday March 15, 2010.

Gloria was born August 30, 1947 to James Douglas Phillips Sr. and Mary Gravelle Phillips in Flagstone, BC. She spent most of her childhood growing up in Grasmere, BC and later moved to the States where she met and married Edward Couture and had two beautiful children, a daughter Crystal, and son Darrin.

She continued to raise her children in the states after her first marriage came to an end. There she later met the "Love of her life" and "Best Friend" Arthur R. Trahan, Sr. and had another beautiful daughter Michelle.

Work and education took Gloria, Art and family throughout Wyoming, Washington and Montana where they finally settled in Elmo and have lived happily since 1982.

Gloria was a quick witted, passionate and quickly made life long friendships everywhere she went. She enjoyed learning and sharing her knowledge and found her calling, working for The People’s Center as a Curatorial Technician. Together with other staff and with her gift for getting people to work together, they built a museum with many exhibits and implemented many gatherings that helped educate not only her people, but anyone that took to time to learn about the Kootenai, Salish and Pend D’Oreilles peoples. She enjoyed doing things like making baskets, tule tipi’s, sewing, baking, and tending to her flower and vegetable gardens with her husband by her side.

Gloria was very involved in sustaining the Kootenai Language and culture. Her words of encouragement were, "learn who your family is, it gives you strength." She was proud to be a full-blooded Kootenai and was always encouraging the kids in her community to learn about their ancestors and their culture. She was "grandmom" to all the kids in her neighborhood on the hill, and will be greatly missed by all.

Gloria is survived by her husband Art Trahan Sr; daughters Crystal Couture Houle (Jesse) of Hiles, WI., and Michelle Trahan and fiancé Joe Usher of Elmo; stepsons Les Trahan (Jennifer) of Ronan, Art Trahan Jr. and Daniel Trahan of St. Ignatius, and Luke Trahan of Pablo; stepdaughters Nicole Trahan Peasely (Mark) of Arlee, and Chelsea Hewankorn of Evaro; sisters, Sadie Phillips Saloway of Elmo, Angela Gorrie Paradis (Paul) of Grasmere, BC and Susie Gorrie/Searls of Hundred Mile House, BC; brother Victor Phillips (June) of Big Sandy; grandchildren, Jesse Houle IV of Fond Du Lac, WI, Tonya Houle of Crandon, WI, Stephanie Cleereman of Newald, WI, Melanie Houle of Crandon,WI, Danny Houle from Hiles, WI, and Josie Ray Usher of Elmo; great-grandchildren Carsyn Mayer and Reece Mayer of Crandon, WI, Cassidy Sepneski of Green Bay, WI, and Sydney Houle of Fond Du Lac, WI; and numerous nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly.

Gloria is preceded in death by her parents James Douglas Phillips, Sr. and Mary Gravelle; her only son Darrin Couture; older sister Sarah "Sally" Pierre; and older brother James Douglas Phillips, Jr. "Sonny".

Gloria’s only regret is not being here to spoil all of her grand and great grandkids. But if there is one thing that we will always remember Gloria for, was her boog-a-loo dancing in her flashy shirts.

Interment took place at the Dayton Cemetery in Dayton.

Condolence may be sent to the family online at The staff of Grogan Funeral Home, Polson, considers it a privilege to care for Gloria’s family.

Don L. Stiner, Jr.
SHELBY — On March 11, 2010, Don L. Stiner, Jr., 62, left this earthly world to join his mother and other loved ones that had gone on before him. His passing leaves a vast empty space in the lives of all that had the privilege of knowing him, especially the love of his life and soul mate, Helen, who he had 42 wonderful, fun-filled years with.

Don was born on July 5, 1947 in Missoula to Don and Mary Stiner. He attended elementary school in Missoula through the 3rd grade, at which time the family moved to Arlee where he finished his elementary and high school education.

Don met Helen Kennedy in Missoula and they married on July 12, 1968 in Cardston, Alberta. They lived in Missoula and Arlee area for many years. Don joined the National Guard in 1965 and served until 1971. During the Missoula years he also worked at Cenex, Intermountain Lumber, White Pine Sash Co., Arlite Cement Block Co., and Northwest Diesel. They then moved to Cut Bank where he worked for Glacier Motors and Al’s Diesel from which he retired.

Don’s family was the most important thing to him. He loved spending time with them, laughing and reminiscing about old memories along with making new cherished memories. He also loved cheering his grandkids on in their sporting and school events. Other loves of his were golf, hunting, fishing, NASCAR, bowling, and collecting model cars. He was a huge Griz fan and loved any kind of social event.

Don and Helen were blessed with a son, Zane and a daughter, Kim, in their early years together and later two grandsons, Spencer and Noah, and two granddaughters Kenzie and Kodee.

Through the years Don was active in the Arlee Volunteer Fire Dept., Lake County Search and Rescue, Cut Bank Elks Club, and Cut Bank Golf & Country Club.

Don was preceded in death by his mother, maternal grandparents and paternal grandparents.

He is survived by his loving and devoted wife Helen; son Zane (Tasha) Stiner of Cut Bank; daughter Kim (Josh) Czech of Cut Bank; grandsons Spencer and Noah Czech of Cut Bank; granddaughters Kenzie and Kodee Stiner of Cut Bank; father Don (Juanita) Stiner of Missoula; brother George (Dianna) Stiner, of Missoula; sisters Peggy (David) Benth of Gillette, Wyoming and Rebeca (Jamie) Glantz of Missoula; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Cremation has taken place at Don’s request.

Honorary pallbearers are all of Don’s many close friends and relatives.

Condolences may be send to

Adeline Peters
WELLPINIT, WA — Adeline Peters, 85, well loved and respected mother, grandmother and friend peacefully passed away March 5, 2010.

She was born August 19, 1924 to Rose Sherwood and John Peters.

She was preceded in death by her parents; five of her children: Beverly Madera, Billy Sprinkler, Steve Madera, Baby "Joe" Wynne, Betty Jo Wynne; and two of her grandchildren: Alan Madera and Dawn Bigcrane.

She leaves behind six children: Anna, Dave, Sheila, Louise, Connie and Jeff; as well as 50 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. Funeral services were held on March 10 at the Spokane Tribal Longhouse and burial followed at the Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery in Wellpinit, WA.

Howard Joel Erickson
ARLEE — Howard Joel Erickson, 87, passed away Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at his home in Arlee.

Howard was born on September 29, 1922 and was raised in Minnesota. He moved with his family to Montana in 1958 and worked on a ranch in the Roundup area, moving to the Arlee area in 1963. He worked for a short time at Peavey's in Ronan and the Cenex Station in Arlee before working at the Arlee Fish Hatchery where he worked until he retired in 1983.

Howard was an accomplished farmer, rancher and woodworker. He was always available to help anyone who needed help.

Preceding Howard in death were his parents Peter and Lucy; sisters Mae and Alice; and brothers George, Phil, William, Elmer and James.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years Delores; brother Peter of Tennessee; daughter Ruth of Seattle, WA; son Richard (Sandy) of Casper, WY; grandchildren Brian of Missoula, Shawna of Arlee and Angela of Casper, WY; and great-grandchildren Rusty, Nathaniel, Noah and Natalie of Arlee.

The family requests that, in lieu of flowers or gifts, that donations be sent to the Arlee Ambulance in Howard's name.

Rene Nikole Hunter Strahan
ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Rene Nikole Hunter Strahan, 39, of Albuquerque, NM and formerly of Polson, passed away on Monday, March 1, 2010 at her home.

Rene was born on July 12, 1970 in Polson, Montana, the daughter of Wilbert Michel and the late Florence Hunter, who passed away in 2001. She attended local schools and graduated from Polson High School in 1988. Afterwards, she attended MSU for two years.

Rene married Christopher Strahan. Becoming a military wife, they traveled all over the US as Chris was stationed at different Air Force Bases. She worked for various companies including National Wildlife Fish and Game in Kodiak, AK, served as a hospital coordinator in New Jersey and also at the Division of Lands for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Polson.

During her life, Renee enjoyed writing, traveling and taking her family to places they have never been before. She was always planning vacations with her whole family. Above all, she loved spending time with her family and was loved very much by the children in the neighborhood. Rene was a very kind person who had a big heart. She was a good mother and wife and excelled in everything she did.

Those left with cherished memories are her husband, Christopher Strahan, her three sons, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Derek Strahan all of Albuquerque, NM; her father, Wilbert Michel of Polson; grandparents, Mary West of Polson and Clarence Hunter and Dorothy Felsman of Arlee, MT; several extended sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles that grew up with her and helped grandmother raise Rene. She will be greatly missed by all her family.

Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Tuesday, March 9 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Polson; Father James Connor officiated. Interment followed at St. Ignatius Catholic Cemtery, St. Ignatius. Messages of condolence may be sent to the family online at The staff of Grogan Funeral Home, Polson, considers it a privilege to care for the family of Mrs. Strahan.

Denise J. Old Horn
ST. IGNATIUS — Denise J. Old Horn, 43, passed away March 3, 2010 in Missoula from an aneurism.

A dearly loved wife and auntie, she was born in Spokane, WA on June 28, 1966 to Delbert and Wilma Carol (Pratt) Lee. Raised in the Spokane area she received her formal education from the Job Corps in Was

hington State and working for Headstart as an aide before marrying Lester Joseph Old Horn.

They made their home on the Salish & Kootenai Reservation where she was dedicated wife, who loved to bead, fish, hike and go hunting with her family. While she was not born native she became one in her family’s eyes and she also had a new nickname whether it was going to powwows or just picking mushrooms and huckleberries.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Duane.

She leaves behind her husband Lester of St. Ignatius; a stepdaughter Tiffany Wells and two grandchildren of Missoula; sisters Charie of Oregon and Cindy of Spokane and her grandma Polly Lee Harrison of Spokane as well as a large extended family including her 26 nephews who she considered her own and Reggie, Susep and Nicky.

A traditional wake began Saturday evening at the Longhouse in St. Ignatius where the rosary was held Sunday. Funeral services were held on Monday in the Longhouse with burial following in the Hminsto (Pierre - Old Horn) Cemetery in Camas Prairie.

Joyce Ann Easter
ST. IGNATIUS — Joyce Ann Easter, 69, passed away on Friday, March 26, 2010, at St. Luke Hospital in Ronan of natural causes.

She was born Aug. 17, 1940, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Elbert and Rubie Hecker. In high school, she was the only recipient of the William Woodward Scholarship, which gave her a full ride scholarship to the University of Cincinnati, where she majored in math and English, with a minor in German.

On June 1, 1962, she married the love of her life, Neil Easter, in Cincinnati. They raised two boys together, Kirk and Erik. She stayed at home with her boys for 10 years and then went to work as a teacher. She taught at Washington Courthouse, Middletown Ohio, and Mariemont high schools. She and her family traveled every summer to Yellowstone National Park and fell in love with Montana.

In 1983, they moved to St. Ignatius, where she taught at the local school until the time of her death. She loved students and they loved her. Many students graduated because she refused to let them fail. She took her students into her heart and was like a mother and grandmother to so many students over the years. She enjoyed camping, fishing, knitting and listening to classical music. During the last few years, she particularly loved playing with her grandchildren. She was a devoted wife, mother, sister, teacher and friend.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Elbert and Rubie Hecker.

She is survived by her husband, Neil of St. Ignatius; two sons, Kirk Easter and wife Alison of Missoula, and Erik Easter and wife Jeanette of Greeley, Colo.; one sister, Elaine Taylor and husband Ron of Eatonton, Ga.; two nieces, Karyn Taylor of Savannah, Ga., and Missy Milligan and husband Jim of Gainesville, Fla.; two grandchildren, Kaydn and Kamron Easter of Missoula; and one great-nephew, Connor Milligan of Gainesville.

The family suggests memorials be made to the Mission Scholarship Foundation, care of Lake County Bank, P.O. Box 664, St. Ignatius, MT 59865.