Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

For the Record
May 2011

Thomas Edward Funke, Sr.
POLSON Thomas Edward Funke, Sr., 81, of Polson passed away at his home surrounded by his family on Sunday, May 29, 2011.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Grogan Funeral Home. A vigil service will be held on Wed. at 7 p.m. at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Mass will be held on Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 11 a.m. with Military Rites to follow at the church. A reception will be held in the church basement. Cremation will follow the services.

Condolences may be sent to the family on-line at

Grogan Funeral Home staff considers it an honor to serve the family of Mr. Funke.

Nelson Matthew "Matt" Howard
MISSOULA Nelson Matthew "Matt" Howard (BigSam), 41, of Arlee passed away on May 18, 2011 at St. Patrick hospital. Matt was born in Ronan on September 4, 1969. He was raised in Arlee, Ronan and Fort Belknap by Keon and Linda Weasel Head and Dallas and Lynda Howard, Sr. and his auntie Diana "Weezee" Christopher Cote.

Matt attended schools at Hellgate High School in Missoula Arlee High School and Harlem High School in Harlem. He worked for Stickers and Lithograph as a wood worker and was a great woodsman who loved the mountains. He most enjoyed his family, fishing, hunting and camping. He was a proud member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Matt is survived by his parents Keon and Linda Weasel Head and Dallas and Lynda Howard; his children Kathleen, Robert, Sr., Matt Matt, Jeremiah and Kaileen; his grandchildren Robert, Jr. and Denzel Howard; brothers Jay, Dallas and Tonka Howard, James and Albert GoldSmith, and Christopher Weasel Head; sisters Lisa BigSwallow, Sharon and Tami GoldSmith, Coreen, Trina, Margaret, Kathy Jo, MorningFlower and Wilma Howard, Amber and Darci Weasel Head, as well as siblings Debbie, Bradley, Brian, Ellen and Gwen BigSam, Tachini, Natani, Shandin, and Shonto Pete, Crystal Cote and Shayla Craft, Mountain and Sarah Wahl and Caroline TalksDifferent; uncles Gordon, Benny, Arthur, and Bobby Fyant, Paul BigSam and Chad Russell, Vernon Christopher, and Guy Widner; aunties "Weezee" Christopher Cote, Mary Jane Charlo, Frances Vanderburg, Virgie and Marie Fyant, Dawn Wahl, RaSena and Sandy Christopher, Charlene and Joanne Howard, Paula Weasel Head, Vivian, Lavern, Mary and Mona BigSam; grandparents Pearl Jeske of Arlee, Frank and Sylvia Weasel Head, and Diana and Wayne Plume of the Blood Reserve.

Matt is preceded in death by his sons Steven and Joshua Howard; grandparents Don and Peewee (Vanderburg) Christopher, and Molly BigSam; uncles Eddy Vanderburg, Everett, Jimmy and Frank "Butch" Fyant; Randy Christopher and Bruce BigSam; aunties Peggy BigSam and Rosie Sheridan; and sibling Tasheena Craft.

Funeral services were held last Sunday in the Center and burial followed in the Jocko Cemetery.

Joshua D. Pepion
PABLO Joshua D. "Pep" Pepion, 35, passed away early Monday morning on May 2, 2011 at his home.

He was an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe but very proud of his Blackfeet blood. He was born February 6, 1976 in Missoula to Karen Adams and Ronald Pepion. As a small child he lived in Browning with both of his parents before he went to live with family in Washington for a couple years eventually returning to his home in moccasin flats at Indian Town. He started high school in St. Ignatius a short time his friends lovingly teased him about transferring to Two Eagle River School for "breakfast, basketball and Stacy". He then moved to Ronan. He also spent a year in Wadsworth, NV before returning to his true love Stacy and making their home in Pablo.

Pep had an unbelievably cool and funny sense of humor. He was quick to tell a "witty" joke and pull pranks. His younger years many hours were spent at Joanne and Durg's playing "coo coos" and basketball with the Boys. Graduating from Two Eagle River High School in 1997, he became a trained heavy equipment operator while studying at SKC. However, Joshua pursued many careers and interests in his life. He worked for CS&KT Property and Supply; was a carpenter, an accomplished cook, bartender, and enjoyed his time working in the woods with his Uncles.

He enjoyed the outdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman. He enjoyed visiting with friends and family; fixing cars, messing with electronics. Pep loved spending time, playing pool and horseshoes with his bro's from "M-Town". He was an artist with unbelievable talent. He also designed the 100th Annual Arlee Celebration poster. Josh produced numerous other paintings and drawings following closely in his father's footsteps as an accomplished artist.

He was preceded in death by his father Ronald; his grandparents Helen McDonald Adams, Barbara Pepion, Louise and Thomas McDonald, Louie K. Adams, Rosie Coombs, Louie and Mary Ann Coombs; uncle Kenny Sellars Jr.; stepfather Tony Cutfinger Sr.; uncle Gabriel Cutfinger; and niece Aja Cutfinger-Natani.

He is survived by his partner of 17 years Stacy Auld; his mother Karen Adams Cutfinger; daughter Jurnie Pepion of Wadsworth, NV; brother and sister Angela Pepion Matt (Michael Matt) and Antoine LaChance; his grandfathers Ignace Adams and Harvey Pepion; Yaya's Shirley Trahan and Dolly (Willie) Linesbiegler and Theresa Fristo and Nunu Bud McDonald; uncles and aunts Evelyn (Mike) Moran, Dale (Maxine) Adams, Darrel Adams, David (Michelle) Adams, Delbert (Cheryl Ann) Adams, Derwin (Wendy) Adams, Hattie Pepion, Eva Old Shield, April Pepion, Phyllis Pepion, John Pepion, Dennis Sellars; mother-in-law Linda Auld; brother and sister in law Manuelito Natani and Tara Cutfinger; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins including Isaiah Matt, Jordan Matt, Josiah Matt, Uriah Steele, Bryanna Steele, Laney LaChance, Helen LaChance, Emanuelle and Alexis LaChance, Avery Natani, Jaelynn Askan, Brilee Askan, Michael Louis Brown, Ambrose Brown and Niche Brown as well as his god parents Beverly Hill and Mike Moran, Sr.; and his many cousins and friends that he loved so much.