Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

For the Record
June 2012

Victoria Lynn One Bear
LAPWAI, ID — Victoria Lynn One Bear, 41 of Lapwai, Idaho, formerly of Lodge Grass, who was a child of God, passed on to the other side camp Saturday, June 23, 2012.

She was born Jan. 25, 1971 to Muriel Rose One Bear and Maynard Limberhand in Helen. She was blessed having her grandmother Suzanne Old Crow One Bear nurture her and help Muriel the first year of her life. In the spring of 1972, Muriel met Ron Holt, who became Vicky’s Papa, Dad, and father. Ron loved and raised her as his own.

Vicky graduated from Colstrip High School in 1989 where she met her future husband, Terry Spang, Jr. They were married and later divorced, and had one son, Aaron Jesse Spang. Vicky worked as a pharmacy technician in Lame Deer. from 1996 to 2003. She began pursuing her college degree and received her Bachelor of Arts on June 6, 2011 from Salish Kootenai College.

Vicky was known and loved for her sense of humor, her entertaining stories of her experiences and adventures, and her tendency to give you her opinion. You never had to question where you stood with Vicky. She was proud of the fact that she lived her life mostly as she wanted to, and not as others thought she should. Vicky loved sports, especially watching her son Jessie play football, basketball and fishing. Vicky was most happy during Crow Fair, dancing in her elk tooth dress with sisters, mother, aunties and friends. Vicky followed family tradition and Sundanced. Vicky came to know God’s mercy: going to mass, Eucharistic adoration, and sharing God’s love with friends and family.

Vicky, was adopted by Gale and Mary Three Irons, was the loving sister of Dorci Eastman. Vicky’s Indian name was “Ishtaleeshciia-Ittachi” (Pretty Squirrel), was a descendent of Crow Chief Old Crow, Sore Belly, Long Hair and Cheyenne Chief Dull Knife.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Muriel Rose One Bear Holt; grandmother, Susanna Old Crow; brothers Ross and Milan One Bear, and Jude and Nathan Old Crow; her beloved uncles Owen, Wallace, Edmund and Simon Old Crow, Jr.; aunts Lucy Real Bird, Laura Singer, Dorothy, Theresa, Amanda and Mildred Old Crow, Starla Old Crow; aunt Aline Pretty On Top; her paternal great-grandparents Maggie Seminole and James One Bear; and maternal great grandparents Anna Plenty Good and Simon Old Crow.

Survivors include her son, Aaron Jesse Spang; her father Ron Holt, Sr.; brothers Jessie Craig Holt and Ron Holt, Jr.; sisters, Tana, Elizabeth, and Mignon Holt, Maria Matt (Kendall Old Horn) and Dorci (Ed) Eastman; brothers Knute (Darreldlene), Bill and Newton (Georgette) Old Crow, Jr.; nieces, Bluestar and Rainbow McNeal, Pryia Bybee, Tiffany and Robyn Old Bear; aunts Anita Personius, Trudy One Bear, Fatima and Ursula Bad Horse; uncles, Curtis One Bear, Martin (Cindy), Newton (Amelia) Old Crow Sr., and Paul (Georgiane), Vance (June) Matt; her loving grandparents, Joy and Paul Matt, Sr; and Robert One Bear Sr. She also leaves behind extended family from the maternal side Otter Stays In The Water, Star, Yellowmule, Brass, White Clay and Spotted Horse families. Paternal side: One Bear, Seminole, Glenmore, Wolfname, Littlewolf and Eagle Feathers.

Vicky also had numerous relatives who knew and loved her who may have been missed; please forgive us.

The Funeral Mass was held Friday, June 29, 2012 in the Lodge Grass Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church. Interment followed in the Lodge Grass Cemetery.

Timothy Lear Johnson
MISSOULA — Beloved son, brother, cousin, nephew and friend, Timothy Lear Johnson, passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on Wednesday June 13, 2012 in Missoula. A resident of Missoula, he was 45.

His family and friends knew Tim as a claymation animator, master of the creative thinking word “Po,” extremely generous (presents from Uncle Tim were always the first to be opened under the Xmas tree), comic book creator, philosopher, artist, Pee Wee Herman’s Playhouse fan, and music lover. Anyone who met Tim could not help but be touched by his kind, gentle spirit. Tim was one of the rare people you meet who was truly nice – always, without exception. Tim and his brothers Marc and Damon spent many happy hours together laughing from childhood through adulthood sharing an unusual sense of humor and joy in being together.

A first descendant of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation, Tim was born at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 22, 1967. He grew up in Polson, Montana and Anchorage, where he graduated from Bartlett High School with honors. Tim studied Electrical Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Tim moved back to Montana in 1990 and made Missoula his home.

Tim is survived by his mother, Kay Dubay Johnson, of Polson; his father and stepmother, Gene and Inger Johnson, of Polson. He leaves his older brother Marc Johnson, of Kenai, Alaska; stepsisters Julie Daniel, of Polson, and Karen Borring, of Denmark; his mother’s twin sister, Carol Dubay, of Anchorage; and her children, Nikos Pastos, Melina Pastos, Chris and Andrea Okland, Nicolette Pastos and Zara Pastos, all of Anchorage; aunt Rene Dubay; cousins Jenaya, Maurita, Michaela, Sheri and Sheryl; uncle Chester Johnson, of Missoula, and Lillian Stephenson, Helen McClellan and Ron McClellan, Larry Myers, Janice Myers, all of Polson, and Gloria and Ed Violette, of Boulder, Colo.

Preceding him in death were his brother, Damon (Johnson) Ziemin; his paternal grandparents, Marie Johnson and Carl Johnson, of Polson; maternal grandparents Abraham Dubay and Marion Dubay Pariseau; step-grandfather Patrick Pariseau; aunt and uncle Elaine and Kendal Forman; and first cousins Kevin and Ferin Forman all of Polson.

Funeral services are to include a viewing at the Grogan Funeral Home, Friday, June 29 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; the funeral on Saturday, June 30 at 2 p.m. at the Salish-Kootenai Senior Citizens Center in Polson, followed by a reception at 4:30 p.m. at the Polson Senior Center and a multi-day remembrance on family lands on Flathead Lake.

Elvin “Lee” Miller
PABLO — Elvin “Lee” Miller died June 22, 2012, at his home in Pablo, MT. Lee was born on December 4, 1949, to Lee Miller and Rosemary “Bun” Matt.

Lee’s favorite times were those spent with his beloved Grandmother Catherine “Katie” (Dubay) Matt and his uncle Carl Matt on the family farm in Pablo. Lee lived his life in Pablo except when he attended the Ursalines as a child and a vocational school in Helena, MT. Lee had an aptitude for fixing electrical appliances, which he enjoyed spending time doing so. Lee was a gentle and kind man whose company was enjoyed by all of his family.

Lee was preceded in death by his sister Catherine (Leaverton) Lobdell, his mother and father Rosemary and Lee, his Grandparents, and all of his aunts and uncles, John, Carl, Elvin, Eva, Violet and Hazel Matt. Lee is survived by his nieces Melissa and Victoria, and his nephew Josh, and numerous cousins.

Lee Miller was a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation. He was grateful for the Tribal and State help he received during his long disability.

Visitation was Tuesday and his funeral service was Wednesday, June 27, at Grogan Funeral Home. Interment followed at Lake View Cemetery. Messages of condolences may be shared with the family online at

Delores (DeeDee) Begay
ARLEE — Delores (DeeDee) Begay, 66, longtime resident of the Mission Valley, passed away June 16, 2012, surrounded by the love of her daughters and family. She was born March 27, 1946 the fourth child of six children to Melvin and Elizabeth Reum. She grew up on the family farm west of Ronan and graduated from Ronan High School.

She married Joe Begay in August 1968 of this union two children were born Tina and Chantelle. They were the love of her life.

She worked at St. Luke’s Hospital in Ronan for many years to raise them and make sure they had everything life had to offer. She also drove bus for the Johnson O’Malley Program in Ronan, where she enjoyed driving students to various powwows. She attended Salish Kootenai College and earned a certificate in Early Childhood. She also worked at the SKC Child Care Center and enjoyed teasing the little ones.

She was well known for her delicious “Navajo style” frybread. She was a loving and caring mother and doted on her seven grandchildren. She loved to laugh and tease her kind heart will be missed by many.

She is preceded in death by her father Melvin Reum, mother Elizabeth Reum, sister Dora Reum, sister Rosalie Wheeler, and brother Kenneth Reum.

Survivors include her daughters Tina Begay (Rick) of Arlee, Chantelle Begay (Pascal “PJ” Jr.) of Pablo, brother Dennis Reum of Ronan, and sister Donna Reum of St. Ignatius. Her grandchildren, Tayla, Isaac, Nellie, Sage, Horizon, Nejea, and Myles. Lastly, her cat Betsy.

Cremation has taken place and memorial services will be at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Arlee, Friday, June 22, at 11:00 am, the family invites all to share a meal after the service. Condolences may be left at

Wilfred Lee Colon
CHARLO — Wilfred Lee Colon, 43, passed away June 14, 2012 from a heart attack while out thinning trees. A member of the CSKT, he was born in the Bronx. NY on March 18, 1969. Upon returning to the Flathead Indian Reservation in the early 80’s he grew up in the Ronan/Pablo area.

Willie has worked in the woods all of his life, he cut post and poles, firewood, and most notably he was a thinner/slasher for CSKT Forest Development Program at the time of his death. Willie also worked as a Montana Indian Fire Fighter and worked for Big Sky Catering.

Willie is preceded in death by his parents Sharon Bird Felsman-Turczynski and Dennis Felsman.

He is survived by his wife of five years Julie McDonald Colon. He loved his wife “infinities.” Children and stepchildren include Byron Colon, Sonia Flammond, Letitia Colon, Galen Hawk, Mary Hawk and Katrina Michael; also Jamie, Jr. and Mikaela Flammond; grandchildren who loved “Papa Willie”: Ayden Trahan, Tynneal Flammond, Daylin and Tredan Jude Johnson, MJ, Sean and Jason Trahan; sisters Rhonda (Matt Mahkuk), Shirley Felsman, Sheri (Duane Morrell Jr.) Felsman, Shelly Felsman and Sheila (Nathan Ross) Felsman; aunts Darlene Bird and Mary Ann Bird; uncle Charlie Bird; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A wake began Monday at the Longhouse in St. Ignatius with the Rosary being recited Tuesday. Services were held on Wednesday in the Longhouse. Condolences may be left at

John Richard Steele
POLSON — John Richard Steele, 59 passed away in Polson on June 13, 2012. John was born in St, Ignatius on December 1, 1952 to Mathew “Swede” Steele and Josephine A Morigeau- Steele. John was raised in Arlee, and graduated from Arlee High School.

John was a member of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, he was an exceptional pool player, and if you have played pool here you’ve probably been hustled out of a few dollars from him. John was a Journeyman Carpenter who was very proud to have designed the blue prints for CSKT Adult Probation program and also helped build the John Peter Paul Addition and the KwaTaqNuk Resort.

John is preceded in death by his parents, Josephine A. Morigeau- Steele and Matthew “Swede” Steele, brothers Melvin, Harold, and Robert “Robbie” Steele and sister Carole Steele Pierre.

John is survived by his children Thomas Steele, John Emery Steele of Pablo, Michael Steele of St. Ignatius, and Malena Toby of Ronan; god-daughter Darlene Finley of Polson; and his grandchildren DaShaunDre Steele, TreShawnJay Steele, Shepard Alexander, Jayden Steele, DaShaud Steele; sisters Beverly Steele of Dixon, Betty Steele of Arlee, Barbara Tucker (Ron) of Oklahoma; brothers Jim Steele, Sr. of Polson and Joseph “Jody” Steele of Arlee; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He will always be “Uncle John”

Rosary was held Friday at 8pm at the Arlee Community Center; Mass was on June 16 at the Center.

Donations can be made to the Cirrhosis Foundation. Condolences may be left at

Delano B. Mathis
ST. IGNATIUS — Delano B. Mathis, 78, a two-year resident of St. Ignatius, went to be with the Lord on June 5, 2012. Del spent the majority of his life residing in the Port Angeles, Washington area.

He was born in Spiro, Oklahoma on October 24, 1933. He was number seven of ten children born to James Mathis and Clara Engel.

Del attended High School in Port Angeles, Wa. He went on to become a professional masonry worker/contractor who owned and operated his own business. His Father-in-law, O.B. Turner whom he admired, taught his trade to him. He designed, constructed and built hundreds of custom masonry projects and buildings. He went on to design and build masonry projects for his family and friends even after retirement. When he could no longer build projects on his own, he was passing his wealth of knowledge and skill onto those who were helping him. He spent hours drafting special projects of homes and businesses on paper. Del has left a legacy of masonry projects for people to love and enjoy for years to come.

On September 5, 1953 Del and Greta Cochran were united in marriage. They had two children, Richard Charles and Tammy Marie. The family resided in Seattle, Wa. After they divorced, he moved back to Port Angeles. Later he married Judith Maulin. He adopted and raised her son Richard J. When Judy’s sister passed on, Del and Judy spent a great deal of time with her sister’s children, Stephanie, Scott, Steven and Sandy Edwards. Each of them became a very important part of Del and Judy’s life. In 2010 Del’s wife Judy passed on. Del then moved to St. Ignatius and was reunited with his first wife Greta, his daughter Tammy, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Del was preceded in death by his wife Judy; his son Richard C Mathis; his parents; and two brothers and two sisters.

He is survived by his reunited first wife Greta Dunsmore; his daughter and son-in-law Tammy and Fred Matt of St. Ignatius; his son Richard J. Mathis of Port Angeles; grandchildren, Delano B. and Tammy Mathis of Lynnwood, Wa., April D. and Darred Sybrant of Corvallis, and Faith L. Matt of St. Ignatius; great-grandchildren, Phoenix and Micha Mathis of Lynnwood, Wa., Patience and Freddy Matt of St. Ignatius, Dominick J. Matt of Corvallis; his sisters Mardeen Alesso of Lancaster, Ca., Joanne and Lee Evans, and Barbara and Ken Boston both of Port Angeles, Wa.; brothers Donald and Gloria Mathis of Shelton, Wa. and Robert and Ruth Mathis of Seattle, Wa.; along with many, many loved nieces and nephews.

June Rae Caye
DAYTON — Our beloved daughter, sister, auntie and friend, June Rae Caye began her journey with the Creator on June 2, 2012.

June was born on June 1, 1955 in St. Ignatius to Abraham Caye and Agnes Couture Caye.

June was a proud member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. June was blessed by the Creator with a huge family and a huge circle of friends. Our beloved June had many, many talents and interests. She was always ready to help no matter what. June will always be remembered as a master gardener whose perennial flowers at the family home will give her family and friends precious memories to come. Our beloved June was also an accomplished beader who not only took great pride in her beading projects but always donated her extraordinary work to friends and family for Christmas and Birthday gifts. She was also a great pool player where she had numerous accomplishments with a cue. She was also interested in taking many pictures of family and friends and was also an avid yard/garage sale follower who was always looking forward to the yard sale season. However even with all these interests and accomplishments our beloved Junes favorite past time was picking huckleberries with Papa August and family in Buck Horn. Our June wasn’t just an accomplished huckleberry picker, she made the best huckleberry pie on the planet.

June was married to Don Cline in Polson. They made their home in Turtle Lake. However as life seems to change every day, June and Don thought it better to be just friends.

June was a Jane of all trades. Her free roaming spirit took her to the edge of the world where she worked for Trident Sea Foods Company as a seafood processor. June also loved to clean and was a highly recruited residential cleaner throughout the Mission Valley. This trade also landed her at Two Eagle River High School in Pablo where she was a Building Maintenance Technician for several years and was also a great role model whom the students at TERS looked up to. June also worked at other Mission Valley Companies, Jore Corporation and Gray Wolf Embroidery just to name a few. June was preceded in death by her grandfather Alexander Couture, grandma Madeline Couture, father Abraham Caye, brother Arnold Caye, great nephew Kenneth Caye, great nieces Rashaunda Denton and Tia Denton.

June is survived by her mother, Agnes Caye, stepfather; August Lefthand, special great niece; Kelly Kenmille; sisters Barbara Caye, Delores Sam (Grayson), Iris Caye; brothers, Abraham Caye and Alvin Caye; nieces, Cindy Friedlander, Rene Kenmille, Niche Daniel (Jake), Madeline Caye (Jason); Nephews, Jon Denton (Angela), Alvin Caye-LaMere (Beth), Anthony Caye, Dustin Gatch (Gen) and Steve Christianson; two special girls she helped raise, Erica and Andrea Mathias, and numerous great nieces and nephews that she loved and treasured dearly.

There was a Rosary on Monday, June 4 in Elmo at the Hall; funeral service was held on Tuesday, June 5 and followed by burial at Dayton Cemetery. Messages of condolences may be shared with the family online at

Merle Matt
THORNTON, CO — Merle Matt, age 72, passed away June 1, 2012, with family members by his side.

Merle was born July 4, 1939, in St. Ignatius to Armenia and Louis (Sonny) Matt. He was a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, located on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana.?He loved the outdoors, fishing, and crafting unique works of art for his family and spending time in his wood shop. Merle attended Northern Montana College in Havre, leading to a long career as owner of Matt Design Company, specializing in patent illustrations.

Merle is survived by Diane Matt, his wife of 27 years, and four daughters: Gay Rowe and spouse Dan Rowe, Robin Richardson and spouse Terry Richardson, Kristi Dittmann and spouse Jim Dittmann, Jami Medina and spouse Alvaro Medina, and one son: Sean Barlow and spouse Kathy Barlow.

He had ten grandchildren: Danielle Maestas and spouse Richard Maestas, Jenny Ellsworth, Lhexann Richardson, Michael Ellsworth, Christopher Barlow, Zachary Ruiz, Taylor Rowe, Rhawni Ruiz, Kyle Rowe, Ashley Barlow, and six great grandchildren: Maya, Dominic, Destiny, Lilliana, Aaden, and Silas.

Merle’s siblings include: Helen Leishman, Thelma McDonald, Ronald Matt, Joyce Wallen, Edith Morigeau, Zilia Lewis, Bunny Wilder, Janice Shea, Marlene Roberts, and Penny Kipp. He was preceded in death by his parents and older brother Clifford Matt.

His numerous nieces and nephews also loved and adored him.

A “Remembrance Celebration” was held Tuesday June 5 at 2 PM at DeWitt and Tabler in Thornton, Colorado.