Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

For the Record
May 2012

Ormand E. Ducharme Thomas
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Ormand E. Ducharme Thomas passed away on May 21, 2012. He was born in St. Ignatius on September 6, 1934 to Doris (Couture) and Oswald “Bozo” Ducharme Thomas.

Ormand attended grade school in St. Ignatius and other schools on the reservation. He went to high school in Thompson Falls. Ormand joined the service and was an ironworker and mill-right. Ormand liked sports and he never married.

His parents and brothers, Harvey and Joe, precede him in death.

His brother Gary Ducharme Thomas of Tucson, Arizona is the only one surviving in the Thomas family.

Lilletta “Lettie” Lee Neuman
MISSOULA – Lilletta “Lettie” Lee Neuman, age 63, of Missoula and former Polson resident, died at St. Patrick Hospital, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, surrounded by the love of her husband John, son Greg and her extended family. Lettie was an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe, born July 17, 1948, the first-born child of Eugene and Faye Pitts. She was the eldest of five children.

A log home on Camas Prairie was Lettie’s family home until age three when the Pitts moved the sawmill to Ravalli and took up residence and cattle ranching in Dixon. In Lettie’s fourth year of life she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and began taking the relatively new treatment of the day -an insulin shot delivered in glass syringes and needles sharpened on a wet stone. Despite having a childhood illness, Lettie was a positive, happy curly red-headed child with quick wit and a zest for life. She busied her life with school academics, honor society, cheerleading, school drama, and played the trumpet in the Dixon School Band. She became the salutatorian of her 1966 Dixon High School graduation class.

Shortly after graduation from the University of Montana with a degree in business administration, Lettie married her childhood sweetheart Johnny Neuman, July 23, 1970, whom she had met and developed a “crush on” in grade school when he moved to Dixon from Frenchtown. They resided in Dixon and Ravalli as John worked for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs at the Dixon Agency and she began a 37-year career with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Kicking Horse Job Corp Center, outside of Ronan. After the Agency was moved to Pablo, the Neumans relocated to Polson and began their family. Though pregnancy was very challenging for Lettie’s health, her determination produced the child of her dreams, Gregory John Neuman. Lettie loved being a mother and savored his every growing moment. Lettie’s eyes twinkled as she told stories of her son’s work career with the W Hotel out of Chicago and Europe. She was and remains his best cheerleader. As a family they enjoyed remodeling several homes and oversaw the building of three. Lettie, a self-taught interior designer, had a natural ability for choosing and blending lively color to make a home and office spaces warm and cozy. She loved fashion and just before her health took a serious turn she met her long friend Glenda Ingrahm in Paris, France to feast her eyes on the beauty of French design and fashion.

Lettie’s celebrated working career for the Kicking Horse Job Corp began as the center director’s secretary and eventually his administrative assistant. Given her warm personality outgoing and friendly nature Lettie was selected for the position of placement officer. This was a key position for to the success of the Kicking Horse Center that received national recognition numerous times for excellence. In this position Lettie traveled to many of the reservations in the nation, bringing information about the center, recruiting and matching Native American students with a career path, assisting families to adjust to sending their young adults so far from home, counseling students through stages of homesickness and as well as holding their hands during rough times when they might learn of a family member’s illness or death. Yes, Lettie, was a mother to each and every student she came to know. Eventually, Lettie, retired from Kicking Horse, easing into retirement in 2006.

Over the course of Lettie’s life, if you asked her about the Lord, her response was “I talk to him every day.” Given her and her family’s health challenges she relied on her knowledge of heaven to live through each day.

Lettie was preceded in death by her father, Eugene Pitts (February 2011); brother Larry Pitts (November 2009), whom also died from complications of diabetes; mother-in-law Josephine “Joey” Neuman; father-in- law Orin Neuman; and beloved poodle “Fancy Pants.”

Survivors include her husband, John Neuman of Missoula; son Greg Neuman of Chicago; mother Faye Pitts of Dixon; brother Garry (Christine) Pitts of Polson; brother Terry (Crystal) Pitts of Dixon; KoLynn (Paul) Sinclair of Yakima, Wash. /Polson; sister-in-law Ginger Pitts of Polson; brother-in-law Danny (Rita) Neuman of Billings; sister-in-law Gail (Gordon) Fyant of Polson; Darlene (Hawk) of Evaro; Marlene of Oakland; Monica of Pablo; Tina (Moose) of Richland; and many nieces and nephews whom Lettie was a staunch supporter of their many activities in life and her great-nieces and nephews.

A viewing occurred on Friday, June 1 at First United Methodist Church in Polson. Funeral services were held on Saturday, June 2 at First United Methodist Church, in Polson. Burial took place at Sunset Memorial Gardens, in Missoula after the funeral services.

The Neuman’s would like to thank the staff of St. Patrick Hospital, and friends of the valley for the many calls of support and emails.

Sunset Memorial Funeral Home is assisting the family.

PJ Incashola
MOIESE - PJ Incashola passed away May 21, 2012 from a rare form of cancer. Although a short battle, a battle fought with great strength, spirit, determination, and bravery.

PJ graduated from Two Eagle River School in 1991. Soon after he met his soul mate Naett Incashola, and later married June 9, 1995. Together they had two children that he loves to the end of the Earth: Christopher and Josee.

PJ worked for Big Sky Heating & Air Conditioning starting in 1993 for Jiggs Snell. Jiggs was not only a boss, but one of his closest friends. In 1998 he moved his family to the Tri-Cities to work with his buddy Josh, they had great times. He then returned in 2002 to his favorite place the family home in Moiese, and returned to work for Big Sky before retiring early in 2011 due to his health. During his retirement, he and childhood friend Dan Adler palled around and reminisced about old times with lots of laughter. Dan was with PJ during his final hours.

Preceding him is his Father Pete Sr.; stepfather Tony LaMoose; and faithful companion for 17 years his dog “Buddy.”

He is survived by his wife of 20 years Naett; son Christopher (Jen); daughter Josee; mother Dorothy; sister “Sissy” of Moiese; sister Aggie of Pablo; special nieces?Jan-Erika, Anastasia, and Stephanie; great niece and nephew Daspiana and Alyias, Kordell, Kyree, and Alexa; and along with numerous other relatives. We love you daddy.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggest donations be given to North West Sarcoma Foundation to help with research. In PJ's last months, he traveled to Seattle for Clinical trials of research medicines for Sarcoma. PJ would say: “If it doesn’t help me, maybe it will help someone else.”

Emannuel Ariah Arlee Wright
Emannuel’s Journey
At 6:12 am, May 21, 2012, the angel reached out his hand and said “It’s time to go, Emannuel”. ” I want to stay,” says a small child’s voice, “She wants me to stay, they love me here.” “Yes, they love you, and, they will love you forever, Emannuel, you will be with them again. It is God’s will that you be with them again.”

Emannuel puts his tiny hand out to the angel. He is lifted up into the angel‘s arms. Together, they move through time, through eons, past the stars, the sun and moon.

Emannuel comes into the Great Shining Light; there is no darkness, no shadow. It is beautiful. The angel says, “Emannuel is here.” A wondrous voice says, “Come Emannuel.” “Who is it?” asks Emannuel. “Love Everlasting”, says the angel. Emannuel runs to Creator. Creator lifts him up high and tells him, “Look”, as he turns toward a great meadow.

The meadow is large, circular, and surrounded by great ponderosa pines. The blooming flowers give off heavenly scents, the pines are filled with singing birds, sunlight filters through the branches, and from the shade of the trees a large group emerges.

They are young and old, but each is youthful. They wear buckskins, wing dresses and ribbon shirts. They are happy and laughing. There is a sound of horses’ hooves and a tinkle of tiny bells. Warriors and horses move around the group, giving war whoops as they fire their rifles. The women sing joyful tremolo.

A small figure steps forward, a small hand reaches out. “My brother, come.” They join hands. The beautiful spirits sing, “Emannuel is Home! Emannuel is Home! He looks back at the angel and smiles, he is home.

He spent twenty-eight loving minutes with his family being held and loved before the angel beckoned. While we remain here, in our earthly bodies, where we weep for ourselves, we know we will be with him again.

Lemlemch to Patrick Pierre for the beautiful services and words of comfort and wisdom; “Thank You” to the cooks, to Andrea Adams and her helpers, to Kim Swaney. “Thank You” to those who offered prayers for the family, Clark Matt, Joe Sorrell, Sr. and Stanley Small Salmon. Lemlemch to Weezie and her Family for the good words and the songs. Thank You, to the Nkwusm children for the beautiful song. Lem Lemch to Carole Langford for her assistance. Lemlemch to everyone who has offered comfort and love to our family in our time of sadness.

The Family of Emannuel Ariah Arlee Wright, expressed by Yaya, Es tuxti mlqnu sm em, Mary Jane Charlo

For information on Potter’s Syndrome:

John Plouffe
RONAN — John Plouffe passed away on May 31, 2012. John was born on January 20, 1950 in Alexandria , KY to Joe and Becky Plouffe, the second of three children. He was blessed with a happy childhood, surrounded by loving family and friends his entire life. He fondly recalled his mother’s Sunday morning breakfasts, checking the trot line on the Licking River with his dad, grandpa John teaching him how to use a knife (when Grandma Lucy wasn’t around) and all the family weekends spent on the river, at a family reunion, playing basketball and baseball with his childhood buddies, and hanging out with his cousins, Bobby, Foy, Kip and all the “older” boys.

John attended Alexandria Elementary School and later, Campbell County High School, graduating in 1968. He worked several jobs during high school, at the local drive in, at the local hamburger stands, and on local farms, bucking bales, fixing fence, plowing and harrowing. While still a high school senior, he enlisted in the Marine Corps for 4 years. He served from Sept 1968 until July 1971, when he received an honorable discharge for medical reasons. He then attended Florida Jr. College, Eastern Kentucky University, and FVCC, in an apparently unsuccessful effort to get smarter.

He worked construction, but his main claim to frame was playing in the rock and roll band, Lazer, and getting to play the play drum set of Rube Beard, the drummer for ZZ top, in Frankfort, KY, in ’72 or so. In 1975, he moved to Montana, to join his recently retired parents, and went to work in law enforcement, reaching the rank of Assistant Chief of Police during his 6 years, when he left the cop shop to be able to spend more time with his family. It should be noted here that not one donut shop was ever robbed while John was on duty.

While twice married, John decided married life was not for him, and devoted his life to being a single parent, raising his two children, Tyler and Casey, all on his own. On January 23, 2005, he was blessed with his first grandchild, Jackson Dean, who was the light of his life, and the object of much “spoiling”. On June 13, 2008, along came a grand daughter Abbigail Rose Marie, and Jackson had a little sister.

John worked 30 years for the US Gov’t, retiring in 2010 from the Flathead Irrigation Project, after having served as Watermaster at the Pablo, Jocko, Round Butte and North Division camps. He enjoyed time with his family, hunting, camping, fishing, river floats, pool, the blues, his pets (all dogs), puttering around with his old 75 Ford 4X4, the “Live 75”, and long motorcycle rides, traveling to Kentucky, Daytona Beach, the Grand Canyon and many other scenic places.

John will be remembered as a loving father, grandpa, good friend, brother, uncle, and public servant. He was proud of his Native American heritage, having Salish, Coeur D’Alene and Pend O’Reille blood in his veins.

He was preceded in passing by his parents, Joe and Becky, and is survived by his sisters, Jeannie Morigeau (Jacque, deceased), of Ronan, and Linda Rahe (Tony), of Cincinnati; his children, Tyler and Casey; his grandchildren (Jackson and Abbi Rose); his many nieces and nephews.

Services were held Tuesday, June 5, 2012 in the Ronan Alliance Church where military honors were presented. Honorary pallbearers are his lifelong best friends, Darrell Dunaway, Marvin Zacharias, Willie Birthmark, Tony Rahe, Willard Moore, Harlen Gerdes, Joe Johns, Jim Allen, Thomas Colvin, Dave Boldt, Clayton Matt, and Rex Winebrenner.

Jon sincerely hopes that there will not be one bouquet of flowers at his services, but that friends and family instead make a donation to a charity of their choice, or to any charity benefiting children or preventing animal abuse. We are sure he is right now rooting for the Reds to win a few games, and hoping his beloved Kentucky Wildcats have a good recruiting year.

Clinton Rhyll Burnett
ARLEE — Clinton Rhyll Burnett passed away Thursday May 17, 2012 at his home in Arlee with his family.

Clint was born September 8, 1932 of goodly parents in a remote homestead cabin built by his father near Bannack, Montana. His childhood and youth were spent there and in Sheridan with his beloved brothers and sisters, a hardworking father and a devoted mother. The bonds of their love and loyalty to each other continued throughout all their lives, culminating every year since in the Burnett-Oler Family Reunion with the descendants of his parents. The lessons of true friendship, devotion and hard-work Clint learned from his family carried with him throughout the years.

He met the love of his life, Bonnie McCollum, on a blind date. He often recounted that story; the taffeta dress she wore, the Blue Anchor diner where they ate and that she was the prettiest girl he ever saw; they were married almost 60 years and raised five children.

Clint developed deep and lasting friendships with people throughout his life and had the unique gift of making people feel welcomed, loved and like family. He cherished his friends and family, and loved to be surrounded by them, doing all he could to make sure they were having a great time. He was deeply patriotic and lived a life full of integrity and honor. He loved his friends and family as much as they loved him. It was once said of him that he was a grand man. “Not a good man - a grand man.”

He was preceded in death by parents George and Margaret Burnett, brothers Leroy Oler and Dayle Burnett, and sister Phyllis Yocum, son Scott Burnett and grandson Christopher Burnett. Survivors include his wife Bonnie, brothers Darwin Burnett and Keith Burnett, sister Dorothy Walund, daughters Monica Burnett and Renee Howlett, sons Clay Burnett and Darren Burnett, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at the St. Ignatius LDS Church Saturday, May 26 at 11 am followed by burial at the Pleasant View Cemetery. Viewing will be at the Foster Mortuary on Friday 10 am - 10 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dale Tash Memorial Fund Bannack State Park, 4200 Bannack Road, Dillon, MT 59725. Donations are matched dollar for dollar by the State of Montana. Full obituary may be read at

William R. “Ron” Powell
ST. IGNATIUS — William R. “Ron” Powell, 79, passed away on May 11 in Missoula.

William was born Dec. 16, 1932 in Georgia to Roland Quinton and Naomi Alice (Burkett) Powell and was one of nine children. He was raised on a farm and attended school in Telfair Co., Georgia. Ron joined the Army for three years were he trained in heavy artillery after he received his honorable discharge, he returned to Georgia where he became employed for his brother, Gene Powell, in the house painting business.

Following this Ron was a mechanic for many years in Jacksonville, FL. It was here that he met and later married Jerry Cordier in July of 1967. Together they have a daughter Tracy who was born in 1969. They then moved to Montana in 1972 were he has been a resident of the Mission Valley for the past 40 years.

Ron loved to hunt and fish in both Georgia and Montana but always felt Montana was more like Heaven with its elk and deer. He was a great dad to Tracy and worked at Brown’s Texaco in Ravalli, Cenex and Doug Allards General Store in St. Ignatius.

His hunting buddies were his nephew Jim Cordier and Ann Fyant. As a good Christian, he had a love of people and just three years ago moved to Polson to be closer to Tracy and her family. He later divorced Jerry but they remained friends.

Ron was preceded in death by many of his family including his parents, brother Gene and sister Louise as well as a granddaughter Chloe Cutfinger.

He leaves behind two daughters Rhonda Albert his grandsons David and Zachary of Jacksonville, Florida and Tracy Powell of Polson and her family husband Rudy Cutfinger, Paige, Brittany and Carter also of Polson, Jessica Amoritte of St. Ignatius and Ruben (Angela) and Ruben’s daughter Evah of Missoula; brother Roy in Georgia; as well as many good friends including Jerry Powell and Ann Fyant and many nieces and nephews.

A visitation was held Sunday at the Foster Funeral Home in St. Ignatius. Funeral services were held Monday in the Cornerstone Church in St. Ignatius with Pastor Lynn Lapka officiating. Interment followed in the St. Ignatius Catholic cemetery where military honors were presented by the Mission Valley Honor Guard.

Condolences may be left at

A special thanks to the Partners of Home Health, Missoula, Lisa, Deb, Pam and Tammy; also Ruben and Angela for being there to help in Dad’s final weeks.

Thomas F. Smith
POLSON – Thomas F. Smith, born March 20, 1929, passed away at his home in Polson on May 3, 2012.

Tom was born in St. Ignatius, and graduated from Hot Springs High School. He married his high school sweetheart, Frankie Beebe, on July 31, 1949. She preceded him in death on June 24, 2004.

Tom was member of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes and an active member of the Descendant Enrollment Movement of the 1990’s.

He was a heavy equipment operator all of his life, working on highway projects, in the logging industry and later in life being self-employed.

Tom always took great pride in his yard and flowers, and a good cribbage game.

He is survived by his son Tom B. Smith and wife Vickie; daughter Joelene Frey of Polson, who was at his side at the time of death; four grandsons; five great grandchildren; brothers Lloyd Smith wife Jean, and brother Monroe Smith wife Pat; and several nieces and nephews and close friends Don and Ron.

At his request there will be no services. Condolences may be left at