Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

For the Record
August 2010

Robert Elwood Schmitz
ST. IGNATIUS — Robert “Bob” Elwood Schmitz, 90, passed away at his home near St. Ignatius on August 31, 2010 from cancer.

Born in Woodland, CA on March 3, 1920 to Robert and Jessie (Ball) Schmitz, he was raised and educated in Woodland and married Mary Ann Feucht on July 14, 1943. An Army Air Corps WWII veteran, he flew 30 missions in the European Theatre as a top turret gunner on a B-24. Following his military service, Bob owned his own business until he retired in 1982.

He is survived by his wife Mary Ann and a son Raymond Schmitz.

Graveside service was held Wednesday in the Missoula City Cemetery where military honors were presented.

Anna Lee Cowan
MISSOULA — On Tuesday, August 24, 2010, our beloved, Anna Lee Cowan, 81, of Polson, passed away at St. Patrick's Hospital. Anna Lee was born on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1929, to Rose Ashley and Victor Dupuis. Anna Lee was the youngest member of the family of nine children. Anna Lee was a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Except for the period when she was away at college, Anna Lee was a lifelong resident of the Flathead Reservation. She graduated from Polson High School and went on to obtain her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. To help with her college expenses, she stayed at the Haskell Institute and worked for Haskell for her room and board while pursing her degree in Interior Design and Fine Arts. Anna Lee worked at her profession for a year in Kansas City, MO.

Anna Lee married Kenneth Bordeaux while she was in Kansas, but after that marriage ended she returned home to be with her parents and her son, Roger.

When she returned home, she worked in several jobs. She was a waitress, a telephone operator, a school secretary, and floor shop sales clerk. She was a cook and co-manager of Polson's Mint Café. She worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Light Office in Polson. In 1967, she met and married Lee Cowan who she said was the exciting person in her life. After 17 years of marriage, Lee passed away in 1984. Later, she worked for the Bureau if Indian Affairs in the Lands Department with land ownership and the probate of trust estates for individual Indian landowners. She said that the job with the BIA was the most interesting job she ever had. She retired from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, in 1987.

Anna Lee was preceded in death by her parents in 1955 and 1957; brothers Albert, Floyd, Louis, Jim, and Mannie Dupuis; sisters Ivy Peratrovich, Mabel Jones, and Rose Evans; as well as one niece and five nephews.

She leaves behind three very special people: her son, Roger Bordeaux of Polson, her stepdaughter, Karen Cowan of Spokane, WA, and her close companion and sister-in-law, Lois Dupuis.

Anna Lee was always glad to visit with her nieces and nephews whenever the stopped by. She believed that they were all special to her. She is survived by 18 of her nieces and nephews who will always remember her gracious and gentle disposition, her sense of humor, and cheerful smile. Anna Lee was also thankful for her many friends.

The family is deeply appreciative for the loving care and vigilance given to Anna Lee by nieces, Anita Dupuis and Dorene Vallee. A deep thank you is extended for the kindness and care given to Anna Lee over the past several months by her personal caregivers, Jamie and Dacia. The family also wishes to extend appreciation for the care and kindness given to Anna Lee and family members by the staff at St. Patrick's Hospital as well as the Hospice team.

Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the church with Rev. James Connor officiating. Interment followed at the Ronan Cemetery where she rests in peace beside her beloved husband, Lee Cowan.

Pallbearers were Donnie Cline, Joe Wheeler, Dick Burland, Virgil Dupuis, Greg Dupuis, and Kenny Hunter.

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. Cowan's family.

Marion Rae Mad Plume Matt
RONAN — Marion Rae Mad Plume Matt, 55, also known as “Miss America” passed away August 23, 2010.

A member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe, she was born in St. Ignatius on April 23, 1955 to the late Robert and Felicite “Caye” Mad Plume.

A dedicated homemaker and family entertainer, she loved to travel to stickgame tournaments. She was one of a kind; she lived everyday to the fullest. She will be missed by all who knew her.

She is survived by her husband Ernie “Bugs” Matt; daughters Renee Old Man Chief and Darwin Heavy Runner, Rachel Stanley, Aileen Stanley and Joe Small; son Frank Lee Stanley; grandchildren Isaiah, Gail, Taylor, MyKaela and baby Jaden; siblings Melvin and Jolene Sr., Robert and Ronald Mad Plume, Marcia and Dwayne Fisher and Mary Ann Mad Plume and many nieces, nephews and cousins whom she called her brothers and sisters at heart and a lot of good friends.

She was preceded in death by a grandson, brothers Robert James and Douglas Francis Mad Plume and her parents Robert and Felicite (Caye) Mad Plume.

Funeral services were held in the Elmo Cultural Hall and burial followed in the Dayton Cemetery.

Bruce Joseph Woodcock “Susep" Big Sam
ARLEE — Bruce Joseph Woodcock Big Sam “Susep”, 56, went to be with the Creator on Sunday, August 15, 2010.

Born January 17, 1954 in St. Ignatius to Joseph and Molly (Snakeperson - Whitegrass) Big Sam, he was raised and educated in Arlee. A member of the Salish and Kootenai Tribe, he was also proud of his Blackfoot Confederacy ancestry spending time with family in Starr School as well as at his home “Camelot”.

Susep was a woodsman who enjoyed working in the outdoors and was a traditional horse breaker when he was younger. Well known for his generous heart, he was an avid fan of the Arlee Warriors.

He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Peggy and aunt Virginia Whitegrass.

Survivors include his daughters Delray, Lanneil and Rosie; siblings Nelson, Mary, Vivian, Ramona, Paul, LaVerne, Chad and their families; aunt Hazel and sister Earlina and family; Luke, Stan and Amanda and families and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins from near and far.

Burial was in the Jocko cemetery in Arlee.

Georgina "Beverly" McClure Pettit
RONAN — Georgina "Beverly" McClure Pettit, 72, went to be with the Creator on August 18, 2010.

Bev was born August 1, 1938 in St. Ignatius to George Walter McClure and Laura Madsen McClure. She was raised on the Flathead Reservation and was a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. She attended schools in Polson, Pablo and Ronan. She graduated in 1956 from Ronan High School. On March 9, 1957 she married Allen Tromp in Polson, and raised their children in the Ronan, Pablo area. They were later divorced and she married Lyle Pettit, on August 10, 1991 in Couer d' Alene ID, and they resided in Ronan. He preceded her in death in 2005.

In 1976 she began her employment at Mission Valley Power she was employed there for 27 and half years until her retirement in 2003. Bev enjoyed her hobby of "dolls" of which she dressed, repaired and crafted. She showed several members of the community how to make porcelain dolls. She was an avid collector of dolls of many kinds from the time she was a child until present.

Bev loved her family and family functions. Her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews were very much a part of her life. She never forgot a birthday and enjoyed every minute she spent with her entire family and her friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents "Walt" McClure, in 1964 and Laura McClure in 1991, and nephew Scott McClure in 1987.

She leaves behind her sons Walter Tromp (Gina) of Haysville, KS, and Daniel Tromp (Jackie) of Polson; daughters Loralie Tromp-Miller (Scott) of Ephrata, WA, and Bobbi Howell (Ron) of Pablo; sisters Charlene Schaub (John) Pablo and Janice McClure, Ronan; "Lil" brother Scott McClure of Arlee; 21 grandchildren; seven great-grand children; six nieces and nephews; several great nieces and nephews; numerous cousins in the Ashley, McClure, Decker, Madsen, Matt and Tellier families; step children and their families Jim Pettit (Shirley) and Becky Clizbe (Dan), her sister-in-law Vera Salsbury (Jim); and lastly by her dog "Coco Bear."

Services were held on Monday August 23, 2010 at the Ronan Cemetery on Foothills Rd.

Her family wishes to extend an appreciation for the loving care given to Bev by the staff at the St. Luke's Health Medical Center/Hospital and Lake County Home Options and the kindness shown to the family during this time.

Damon Douglas (Johnson) Ziemin
MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Beloved husband, father, and son, Damon Douglas (Johnson) Ziemin, age 38, died August 17 in a tragic accident outside the city of Moscow, Russia. At the time of his death he was traveling with his wife and two children and visiting his in-laws in Moscow.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, September 3 at the Immaculate Conception Church in Polson, Montana. Graveside service will follow at the old Catholic cemetery in Polson. Multi-day remembrance gatherings will also be taking place beginning September 2 with a informal gathering of friends and family around a campfire at Flathead Lake and continuing after the Friday services with an opportunity to share stories, pictures and songs. Contact Rene Dubay at 459-3484 for details and directions.

A first-line descendant of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation, Damon was the youngest of three sons born to proud parents Gene Johnson and Kay Dubay Johnson on July 2, 1972, at the old Native Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska. He grew up in Polson and Anchorage. He graduated from Bartlett High School (Anchorage) in 1990 and graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2000 with a double major in Russian and Pre-Med and a minor in Spanish. Damon followed his paternal roots to Russia and spent a year on a University of Anchorage exchange program in Magadan, Siberia. While studying there, he met and fell in love with his future wife, Lyuda (Terskikh) Ziemin, whom he married in the summer of 2004 at Johnson Point (Dream Catcher) in Polson.

Damon later received his medical degrees in Naturopathic Medicine with licensures in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. Having finished all of his formal training in December 2009, he was in the process of opening a private medical and acupuncture practice at his home in northeast Portland.

Damon was a true renaissance man: scientist, lover of the natural world, environmentalist, gardener, wild lands firefighter, chef, world traveler, linguist, musician, avid Trekkie and Star Wars fan, comic book lover and expert, trickster, yard sale enthusiast, and peacemaker; lifelong friend, loyal son, brother, nephew, cousin and above all, proud husband and father. He was very humble about his talents yet confident in his opinions, grounded in his ethics and sense of responsibility. Damon's enthusiasm for life and his gregarious nature were legend. He was a friend to many. He often brought unlikely groups of people together through music and laughter around a campfire. This lead songster-guitarist and happy laughing comic is a special part of Damon that will be forever be missed by all.

The Mission Mountains and Flathead Lake and River were his playground where he spent great fun sharing with his cousins, extended family and friends. Life for Damon was always exciting to him. Damon's robust and hearty laugh and his sincere personal friendship shared with each separate friend and family member in his expansive life, wherever he lived, were notable. He had many interests and pursuits including cross-country skiing, fishing, Amnesty International, reading, and Bell Choir and Honor Society in high school. Above all, he loved and treasured summers firefighting with his cousins and his friends while growing up from Turtle Lake.

Damon leaves his wife, Lyuda, and children, Maxeem, 6; and Aneeka, 2; the lights of his life. He is survived by his mother, Kay Dubay Johnson of Polson, and his father and stepmother, Gene and Inger Johnson, also of Polson. He leaves his older brothers, Marc Johnson and his three children of Kenai, Alaska; and Tim Johnson of Polson; as well as maternal aunts and cousins Carol Dubay and children Nikos, Melina, Andrea, Nicolette and Zara; Rene' Dubay, and Elaine Dubay Forman (deceased) and Kendal Forman and children Jenaya, Sheri, Sheryl, Maurita and Michaela. On his paternal side he leaves uncle Chet Johnson and aunts Lillian Stephansen and son Rick, Helen McClellan and son Ron, and Gloria (Ed) and children Dan, Lynn, and Sue; as well as numerous cousins and other extended family and friends, including special cousin Craig Stevenson. The lost of Damon's ever-present kindness, compassion and concern for his family and friends will leave a tremendous hole in many lives. Damon was preceded in death by paternal grandparents Carl Johnson and Marie Ziemin Johnson; maternal grandparents Abraham Joseph Dubay and Marion Vessey Dubay Pariseau; father-in-law Anatoli Terskikh, step-grandfather Patrick Antoine Pariseau; maternal aunt Elaine Dubay Forman; and first cousins Kevin and Ferin Forman.

Ernest “Rawhide” Sorrell
ST. IGNATIUS — Ernest “Rawhide” Sorrell, 71, went to be with the Creator on Saturday at St. Luke’s Hospital in Ronan.

Born April 29, 1939 in St. Ignatius to Ernest and Annie (Finley) Sorrell, he was raised and educated in St. Ignatius before joining the Navy.

After serving in Korea, he returned to the Flathead Reservation in 1958, where he worked for Flathead Irrigation, Kicking Horse Job Corps and CSKT Forestry. Rawhide loved to hunt and be in the woods.

He was preceded in death by his parents Ernest and Annie Sorrell; brothers Wesley and James Sorrell; sisters Karen Decker, Jenny and Judy Sorrell and son Lynn Birthmark.

Married to MaryLou McClure on April 24, 1972 she survives as well as his daughters Sandy Sorrell, Wendy Sorrell, Tammy Fragud, Gigi Yazzie, Judy Harlow, Mary Alice Koll and April Zimmerer; sons James McClure, Willie Birthmark and Ernie Sorrell, Jr.; brothers Joe Sorrell, Gene Sorrell and Dan Sorrell; sisters Alice Ryan, Ida Curley and Eva Anderson; as well as large family of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.

A wake began at the Longhouse in S. Ignatius on Saturday with the Rosary recited on Monday in the Longhouse. Wake closing was Tuesday with Mass following in the St. Ignatius Catholic Mission. Interment was in Snyelmn Sntmtnme where military honors will be presented by the Veterans Warrior Society and the Mission Valley Honor Guard.

Winogene Clairmont Cherry
RONAN — Winogene Clairmont Cherry, 82, of Polson passed away on Friday, August 13, 2010 at St. Luke Community Hospital.

Winogene was born on Nov. 11, 1927 in Ronan to Maurice and Hattie (Sloan) Hastings.

She grew up and attended schools in Ronan and graduated from Ronan High School.

She married Bernard Wayne Clairmont in 1945 in Polson. They had three children together and Bernard passed away in 1984.

Winogene worked as a telephone operator at the Telephone Company in Polson and she later worked as the Selective Service’s Administration Secretary.

Winogene was known for her gracious manner, gentle and warm disposition that she generously shared with those fortunate to know her.

Winogene loved to travel and she lived in several places throughout the Western U.S.

She was an active member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and was a member of the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribe.

Winogene always maintained a job while raising her three boys and her family was always first. She always corresponded with family and friends and she never lost touch with anyone. She was always great at keeping track of important dates and facts for her family and friends.

She is preceded in death by her husbands, Bernard, Rosie Vonada, Robert Berger and Stark David Cherry; and son Barney in 1980.

She is survived by sons Corwin “Corky” (Linda) Clairmont of Ronan and Dave Clairmont (Glenda) of Polson; grandchildren Bernie (Sabrina) Clairmont of Portland and Allen (Brooke) Clairmont of Missoula; and her great grandchildren Kyia, Kirstyn, Brook, Kaitlyn, Zenler and Zakary. She is also survived by nephew Alf Salway and her extended family of Nancy Crosby, Gloria Garret, Delane Newgard, and Mariane Vanada; and numerous other relatives and friends.

Visitation was held Sunday August 15 at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Polson. Mass of Christian Burial was hed on Monday, August 16 at the Catholic Church with Rev. Jim Connor officiating. Interment was held at the Ronan Cemetery.

Memorials are suggested to St. Jude’s Hospital or to the Donor’s Choice.

Condolences may also be left to the family at

Dennis George “Happy” Running Crane
BROWNING — Dennis George “Happy” Running Crane, Indian name “Wades In Water”, passed away Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at the Browning hospital of cancer.

Happy was born the 13th child (sixth son) of William “Goat” and Helen (Sinclair) Running Crane. He enjoyed Indian dancing with his best bud, Wishy, riding bikes, and riding his favorite horse, Hacksaw. Happy enjoyed fishing, going to church and bible studies at the Baptist Church, quoting from the Bible, camping, ninja movies, karaoke, and getting presents. He was the best swimmer in Badger Creek and had the best stories and most vivid imagination. Happy liked to go to garage sales and going on adventures from Hobema, Canada to Great Falls. Happy liked to visit his family and boss around his sisters and brothers with detailed instructions. He liked to dress up for Halloween and at Christmas would wear a Santa suit. Happy was very independent and could be found having lunch at the Glacier casino. His most beloved accomplishment was being inducted into the “Crazy Dog Society”.

Survivors include brothers and sisters, Charlotte (Joseph Weatherwax), Roger “Sassy” (Doris) Running Crane, Clayton (Elva) Running Crane, Walter (Sara) Running Crane, Rayola Running Crane, Marilyn Rhodes, Willene Running Crane, Nelson Running Crane, Bruce (Janice) Running Crane, Tim (Tracy) Running Crane all of Browning, Myrtle Garcia of Cut Bank, Sharon (Martin) Barnaby of Dixon, and Faron (Nikki) Running Crane of Billings; and numerous aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and cousins.

He is preceded in death by his parents, William and Helen Running Crane; brothers, William “Mitchell” Running Crane and Lloyd “Tupsy” Running Crane; sisters, Cecelia “Dodo” Devereaux and Evelyn “Emily” Butterfly; numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral Mass was held Tuesday, August 10, at St. Anne Catholic Church in Heart Butte with the burial in the Running Crane Family Cemetery. Pondera Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.

Fred Stanley Ellis
KALISPELL — Fred Stanley Ellis, 75, of Polson passed away on Friday, August 13, 2010 at Kalispell Regional Hospital.

Fred was born on February 1, 1935 in Phoenix, Ariz. to Fred M. and Adele (Baker) Ellis.

Fred was proud of his service with the US Air Force as a flight medic in Germany & Vietnam.

He was a Las Vegas and local entertainer-playing guitar and singing, as well as presenting karaoke.

Montana provided Fred with multiple venues for the hunting and fishing that he loved.

He is preceded in death by his parents, a brother Roy Miles Ellis and a daughter Lisa Marie Ellis.

He is survived by his wife of 46 years Cheryl of Polson; his son Darin Joseph Ellis of Austin, TX; sister Jimmie Carol Ellis of Crescent City, Calif.; daughter Gwen of Buena park, Calif.; sons Tahoo and Mark; numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren; nephew David Paul Ellis of Tacoma,WA.; niece Elizabeth of Missouri; and uncle Roy Ellis of Calif. He shared a special connection with Melody Mergenthaler.

The family expresses their gratitude to the staff of Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Condolences may be expressed to the family at

Harry and Dennis Beauchamp
ST. IGNATIUS — Dennis, 9, and Harry, 15, Beauchamp, both of Oswego, passed away Saturday near St. Ignatius after falling in the canal.

Born to Melissa “Missy” (McLeod) and Harry Beauchamp, Jr., the boys attended school in Frazier and were camping and visiting family on the Flathead Reservation.

They are survived by their parents Missy and Harry Beauchamp of Oswego and sisters Cherish Rose and Morning Dove as well as a large family of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends from both the Flathead and Fort Peck Reservations.

A wake began at the Marvin and Sylvia Gardipe home located at Hillside and Two Creek road (behind Ninepipes) on Sunday and will continue on Monday. On Tuesday they will be brought to Oswego for a wake and have services in Frazier on Wednesday.

MacKenzie Lily BraveRock Plant
ST. IGNATIUS — MacKenzie Lily BraveRock Plant, 20, went to be with the Creator on Tuesday, August 3, 2010.

Born on July 11, 1990 in Lethbridge, AB to Virgil BraveRock and Dale StandingAlone, as a small girl she was raised on the Flathead Reservation by her father and stepmother Brenda. She attended schools in Pablo and Ronan before going to the University of Montana Western in Dillon and later the University of Calgary.

In May of 2010, she married Louie Plant and they made their home in St. Ignatius.

She was preceded in death by her sister LaKishia Curley, who passed in July of 2009.

She leaves behind her husband Louie Plant of St. Ignatius; her son Pius Francis BraveRock DeRouche; her parents Dale StandingAlone of the Blood reserve, AB and Virgil (Brenda) BraveRock of Ronan; grandparents Mervyn and Louise BraveRock and Alfred and Lily StandingAlone all of the Blood Reserve; siblings Chelsea (Stephen Hunt) BraveRock of Post Creek, Jera Wagner of Browning, Cecilia Shorty of Ronan, Elisha (Rayne) Shorty of Polson, Michael StandingAlone of the Blood Reserve, Chase and Feather Curley of Ronan; aunties Tessie Curley, Marcia White, Filma DeRouche, Melvin BraveRock, Kathy Brewer and Betty Whitford; uncles Alfred StandingAlone, Jr. and Ronny StandingAlone; as well as a large family of relatives including Curleys, DeRouche, BraveRock, StandingAlone, Aulds and the Plants from the Flathead and Blackfeet Reservations and the Blood Reserve.

She was laid to rest in the Elmo Cemetery.

Ronald Matus
PABLO — Ronald Matus, 49, died at his home on August 1, 2010.

Ron was born on May 22, 1961 in Twin Falls, ID, a son of Walter and Cecille Finley Matus. Ron grew up in the Yakima, WA area and graduated from Pasco High School in Pasco, WA. He attended Yakima Valley Community College graduating with a degree as a Master Mechanic. After graduating he worked in the Yakima area with different companies. Later, he was so proud to open a shop with his dad, as one of his greatest passions was tinkering with and fixing cars with him.

He married Elisa Vijarro in Yakima, WA and they later divorced. They had two sons, Rob and Chris. He was very proud of his sons and was always sharing the latest news of their accomplishments. He was especially proud of the wonderful men they grew up to be and had great hopes for what the future holds for both of them.

He was a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. He moved to the Pablo area in 2006 and worked as a mechanic and laborer until he became too ill to continue working.

Ron always tried to see the best in people and enjoyed being around his friends and family, especially his cousins, laughing, joking, and sharing stories and good times. He loved being around his nieces and nephews, teasing and laughing around with them. They all loved him because he was funny and seemed to be a “kid at heart”. His great-nephews and great-niece instantly loved him even though their time with him was short.

He will be remembered for his witty humor and infectious smile.

Ronald is preceded in death by his mother Cecille; brothers LeRoy Irvine and Bob Irvine, and sister Juanita Irvine.

He is survived by his father Walter Matus of Pablo; sons Rob Matus of Moxee, WA and Chris Matus, who is currently deployed in Afghanistan; brothers Lloyd (Kathy) Irvine of Pablo, Harold “Bub” Irvine of Elmo and Arnold (Jody) Irvine of Pablo; and sister Dora (Frank) Alvarez of San Bernardino, Calif.

A special thanks to Dr. Maaliki and the staff of St. Luke’s Hospital and the staff of Lake County Home Options for their kind and compassionate hospice care.

Wake services began on Monday at the Elmo Hall in Elmo. Vigil services were held on Tuesday, August 3. Mass of Christian Burial was held on Wednesday at the Elmo Hall with Rev. Jim Connor officiating. Interment followed at the Dayton Cemetery.

Messages of condolence may be sent to the family online at The staff of Grogan Funeral Home, Polson, is honored to assist Ronald’s family.