Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

For the Record
October 2010

Eddie Del Fenton
RONAN — Eddie Del Fenton, age 42, passed away on October 25, 2010. He was born September 30, 1968 in Douglas, Wyoming, to Karen Cornelius Fenton and Tyrone Vidal Fenton, both of who preceded him in death. Also preceding him in death were his maternal grandparents, Art and Ernestine Cornelius of St. Ignatius and paternal grandparents, Dode and Art Fenton of Hysham.

Survivors include children Jenna, Garrett, Laniece and Karis; brother Gene Fenton (Sabrina), aunt Carmen Taylor; cousin Kara Bell (Dave) of Great Falls; great aunt Peggy Savilla of Albuquerque; aunt Alice and uncle Ward Fenton and family of Billings; his long-time partner DariAnn Morigeau; and numerous nieces, nephews, and other cousins. He also loved as his own Kyla, Ysena, and Devon.

Ed graduated from Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon, in 1988, where he played football and begin learning the art of woodworking. He served overseas in the U.S. Army, Combat Engineers, honorably discharged from Fort Lewis. He worked for CS&KT Fire Control and Kicking Horse Job Corps. He also spent time working in the woods, doing carpentry and was a volunteer fireman for Ronan Fire Department. Ed was an avid hunter and outdoors enthusiast.

Services were held at the St. Ignatius Catholic Church on Thursday, October 28, with military honors. Cremation will take place with private family services at a later date.

Ed was a proud member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and was also proud of his Oneida heritage on his grandfather’s side of the family. He loved his family and friends and will be missed by all. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Salish Kootenai College Cornelius/Fenton scholarship fund.

Linda M. Hirzel
ARLEE — Linda M. Hirzel, 60, passed away on Monday, October 25, 2010, in Missoula.

A member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, she was born in St. Ignatius to Norman Schmautz and Marie Bell on Feb. 11, 1950.

A longtime resident of Palm Springs, Calif., she returned to the Arlee area in 2005.

She is survived by her son Brian (Silvana) Hirzel; grandchildren Brian Hirzel Jr. and Ashley Hirzel; and great-grandson Mason Van Houston, all of the Coeur d’ Alene area.

At her request, no local services are planned.

Joseph “Susep” Senecal
RONAN — Joseph “Susep” Senecal, 53 passed away at his home in Woodcock on October 23, 2010.

He and his twin sister were born to Lucy Woodcock in St. Ignatius on Sept 27, 1957. He was raised in Ronan by his adoptive parents Alfred and Bernice Senecal. He married Susan Pierre in 1990 but they later divorced.

As woodsman throughout the Reservation doing thinning, woodcutting, posting and fighting wildfires, he enjoyed hunting, fishing or anything outdoors, especially with his children and family. Moose hunting in Trego was a favorite.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his birth mother; twin sister Jeannie Senecal; nephews Max Andrew and TJ Sias; brothers Jerry and Herb Sias; aunt and uncle Ken and Theresa Ness; and grandson Jadace Duran.

He is survived by his children Hope (Adrian) Long, Jody (Benjamin RunningRabbit) Senecal, Jodessa (JJ Morigeau) and Josiah Senecal; stepchildren Gail (RJ Brown) and Michael Grant and Clayton Duran; brothers Ronnie Martin (Annie Hammer), Ted Sias, Sr., Fred Sias, grandchildren Nehemiah, Sadecia and Josiah Long, Benji RunningRabbit, Jaydence Senecal, BoJai Grant-Schmidt, Luli Brown and Jaici Duran; aunt Clara (Woodcock) Bourdon; nieces April, Amber, Alida Garfield and their children Patrick and Iisha Hammer, Damion, Stoney, Syris and Ozzie Aragon, Creedence and Austin Irvine, Amber Garfield, Maleana and Jasmine Garfield; and numerous other family members in the Sias, Incashola and Woodcock families.

Mass was celebrated on Wednesday in the St. Ignatius Catholic Church and interment followed in the Ronan cemetery.

Pallbearers were Franny Burke, Bear Salois, Dave Goodman, Buck Hammer, Pat Hammer and JJ Morigeau. Honorary Pallbearers were Michael Grant, Clayton Duran, Dixon Curley, Joe Cahoon, John Weaselhead, Tony Hammer, Dennis Hammer and Francis Cahoon.

Michael Harold "Tarzan" Squeque Finley
ARLEE — Michael Harold "Tarzan" Squeque Finley, 60, passed away from a heart attack while driving on Friday.

Born to Madeline Isaac and Michael John Squeque Finley on Dec 12, 1949 in St. Ignatius, he was raised in Arlee and graduated from Arlee High School before joining the Navy and serving on the USS Oriskany where he sailed around the world in during his four years. After his service to our country, he returned to the area and attended and graduated from Salish Kootenai College.

Mike was a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and worked for Shoreline Protection at Natural Resources for many years before moving to Lands where he worked with the GIS. In his spare time he was a major Lady Griz fan going to many of their games and those of the Griz Football team. He also enjoyed watching his nieces and nephews compete in sports. Mike knew how to make people laugh and was well known for going to concerts.

He was preceded in death by his father Mike Sr.; his brother Kenny; uncle Ben Ascencio; and great Aunt Oshanee Cullooyah Kenmille.

He is survived by his mother Madeline Squeque Finley of Arlee; children Adam Nomee and Leila Finley; siblings Jim (Kay) Finley, Danny Finley, Catherine Dupuis and Dorothy Finley; aunts and uncle Max Ascencio, Dorothy Felsman, Virginia Charlo, Cathy Hamel and Josephine Gonzalez; cousin Francis Cullooyah; many nieces, nephews and close friends including Nicole Sheridan and Raylene Wall.

The wake began Sunday in the Community Center; mass was celebrated Monday with burial in the Jocko Cemetery where military honors were presented.

Pallbearers were John Butler, Shawn Charlo, Mike Charlo, James Plant, Mark McDonald, Charlie Charlo, Bobby Fyant, Josh Sheridan and honorary bearers Sissie and Tiny Charlo, Leann Sheridan, Raylene Wall, Randy Finley, Isaac Dupuis, Boge LaRance, Robert Wall, Louis "Sonny" Charlo and Delbert Dupuis.

Clarice M. Zepeda
ST. IGNATIUS — Clarice M. Zepeda, 63, began her journey home on October 9, 2010.

Clarice was born a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in St. Ignatius on August 21, 1947 to Margaret Barnaby and George Matt. She was raised on the reservation and attended the Urselines.

She married Frank J. Zepeda in Coeur D’Alene in 1968 and they made their home in Montana before going to Oregon and Washington where she worked as a CNA. They then moved to Alaska where she worked in the fish canneries before returning home to St. Ignatius where she worked for the Tribe and at the Tree Farm in Pablo.

A dedicated wife and mother, she enjoyed being around her kids and grandkids. She always had a hug and kind word for them. She also enjoyed the outdoors going huckleberry picking, hunting and fishing whenever possible.

She was preceded in death by her son Casey; her parents George Matt and Margaret Finley Matt; stepfather Martin Finley; siblings Donny, Carol Ann, Gordon, Daniel and George Jr.; and step brother Jody Finley.

She leaves behind her husband Frank of St, Ignatius; her children Charles (Gabe) Zepeda of St. Ignatius, Cecelia (Brent) Barlow of New Mexico and Alice C. Zepeda of St. Ignatius; her brothers Gene of St. Ignatius, Victor (Judy) of Dixon, Doug of St. Ignatius, Dwayne of Deer Lodge, Jumbo of Wellpinit, WA and Larry (Verna) of Roseburg, OR; sisters Judy Matt of Wellpinit, WA and George Ann (Henry) Owens of St. Ignatius; six grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

A wake began at the Longhouse in St. Ignatius with the Rosary being recited Tuesday in the Longhouse. Wake closing was Wednesday at the Longhouse with Mass being celebrated in the St. Ignatius Catholic Mission. Interment followed in the Snyelmn Sntmtmne beside her son Casey.

Gloria Gaye Jones Wheeler
ST. IGNATIUS — Gloria Gaye Jones Wheeler, 60, crossed over on Sunday October 3, 2010 surrounded by her loving family.

Gaye was born on October 2, 1950 in Wenatchee, Washington, the only daughter of O.A. and Lilly (Courchane) Jones. She was an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes and was proud of her Native American heritage. While growing up she attended an array of schools throughout Washington and Montana. While in high school she met the love of her life, Dennis. The two married April 11, 1970 at St. Ignatius Catholic Church. Gaye was absolutely devoted to her husband and supported, respected and loved him unconditionally. She was a woman of strong, unshakable faith, believing in a higher power.

Gaye was a very compassionate and caring person and always put the needs of others before her own. She was a mother who was passionately involved in her daughter’s lives and everything they could ask for. A dedicated grandmother, her grandchildren were the light of her life. Her love always cam freely, and no matter the situation she would bend-over backwards for them. It is impossible to put in words how her warm smiles, jokes and advice will be missed.

One would describe Gaye as a “jack of all trades.” She worked as a dental technician, bookkeeper, a Campfire and Girl Scout leader, florist and most recently she worked at St. Ignatius Head Start where she was lovingly known as “Cooker Gaye.”

She had a love for adventure. Gaye enjoyed seeing new places from Hawaii to Mexico to South Africa and the occasional casino/gambling trips with her parents and friends. Gaye was an avid bowler - local and nationally - and loved traveling with her bowling girls. She also loved spending time with her family and would attend the NASCAR race in Las Vegas, NV, where she would shout “Go Junior!” Gaye also enjoyed reading a good book while eating a bowl of buttered popcorn and having a glass of cold ice tea.

She was preceded in death by a son Dustin Michael and grandchildren Devan Ryli and Micah Dustin.

Those left with cherished memories are her parents O.A. and Lilly (Courchane) Jones; high school sweetheart of forty-five years Dennis Wheeler; daughters Marcell Wheeler of St. Ignatius, Shelly Wheeler-Burland (Brent) of Polson, Andrea Wheeler-McGough of Missoula and Hayley Bingham (Rich) of Boise, ID; and younger brothers Doug Jones (Jill) of Wenatchee, WA and Danny Jones (Julie) of Quincy, WA. Gaye also leaves behind twelve grandchildren: Andrew, Marina, Lane, Rhett, Austin, Autumn, Mylie, Rhese, Amber, Destanny, Josh, and Sarah; along with many godchildren, honorary grandchildren and numerous other family members and friends, all of whom loved her deeply and will miss her forever.

A celebration of Gaye’s life will be held at 11 A.M. Saturday October 9 at the St. Ignatius Catholic Church in St. Ignatius. A reception will follow at the church following the services. Memorials can be made to the Gaye Wheeler Educational Scholarship Fund at any Valley Bank of Ronan location. Arrangments under the direction and care of Grogan Funeral Home and Crematory.

Wanda Akers
SPOKANE — Beloved Mother and Grandmother, went to be with our Heavenly Father on Thursday, October 14, 2010.

Wanda was born in St. Ignatius, Montana on August 21, 1924. She was a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation. She attended school in Polson and graduated from Hot Springs High School in 1942. She attended nursing school at Montana State University in Bozeman and furthered her education at St. Patrick’s School of Nursing in Missoula. Wanda spent her career working in numerous nursing facilities, most memorably at the Spokane Valley Clinic of Family Medicine for nearly 20 years, with Dr.’s Rowe, Velonis, Picken and Epton. The staff became a second family to her, creating many beautiful memories and friends.

She was the matriarch of her family, and her life was filled with the love of her children and grandchildren. Wanda enjoyed family gatherings, always encouraging her family to remain close throughout their lives. She enjoyed gardening and working in her flowerbeds, always having a beautiful yard that would attract the attention of many. Wanda was a devoted member of St. Joseph’s parish in Otis Orchards, Washington, and was involved with the Alter Society and many of the enjoyable functions they would provide. One of her favorites was Turkey Bingo, taking as many people with her as she could gather. She enjoyed crafting, always creating new projects and interests, and for a number of years was a member of the Sweet Adelines singing ensemble.

Wanda is preceded in death by her mother, Rosalie Letha (Morigeau) Shea; her father Patrick Henry Shea; her husband of 29 years, Edwin Akers; her grandson, Dailan Clark and her grandson-in-law, Sammy Markham.

She is survived by her children, Sharon Jones, Ron (Connie) Clark, Gary (Kathy) Clark, and Kathi Evaneski, all of Spokane, WA; nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, all of whom she loved dearly; her best friend of many years, Marvel Marrinan; special furry friend Ozzy; and numerous cousins.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on October 20 in Otis Orchards, WA. You are encouraged to participate in her Everlasting Memorial at, Tribute.

Mom, we love you deeply, and will miss you dearly, but are comforted knowing you are no longer in pain and suffering, and are with those loved ones who are welcoming you home.