Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

For the Record
March 2013

Lorraine Clare Buchanan Sullivan
On February 21, 2013, surrounded by her loving family and friends, Lorraine Clare Buchanan Sullivan walked on to the land of the ancestors to join her beloved husband, Leroy, and son, Chuck.

An enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes, she was born on April 6, 1933, in St. Ignatius, to Louise Michel and Worley Buchanan. She was raised in the Ursilines and in the Indian boarding schools of Pierre, South Dakota, and Chema, Washington. The U.S. Government relocated her in her teenage years to Long Beach, California, to be a maid for a family there. She graduated from Long Beach High School. Mother was fiercely proud of her heritage and although not raised on the Flathead Reservation, maintained lifelong ties to it and her families there. She always taught her children as much as she could about their culture and heritage, and was a living example of an era that was displaced and robbed of their family ties through removal and relocation.

Lorraine then moved to San Francisco, where she and her young son, Chuck, met her future husband, Leroy Allen Sullivan. In 1959, the family moved to Willits, California, where Roy became and officer for the Willits Police force. Roy and Lorraine raised a close-knit family of eight children and will be well remembered by the community and all that knew them.

Mother was a remarkable and persevering woman, who overcame many obstacles in life, including being widowed at the age 45 and losing her oldest son, Chuck, at the age of 21 in an auto accident while in his third year at Chico State University. She earned her AA at the age of 40 from DQ University, in Winters, California, the only Chicano and Indian university in the state. Mother always missed her homelands and at the age of 62, obtained her first driver’s license and drove by herself to her beloved Flathead.

She will be remembered as a wonderful mother, who had enormous gardens, sewed all our clothes, and could fix hamburger at least 20 different ways. She was also skilled in canning, baking, weaving, painting, woodcarving, and anything artistic. She was also a published poet. We always marveled at the fact that someone who had been denied family as a child was herself such a nurturing person.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Louise Michel and Worley Buchanan; husband, Leroy Sullivan; and son, Charles (Chuck) Anthony Sullivan; brothers, Worley Buchanan and Donavon Irwin; sisters, Dorothy Anderson, Betty Anderson, Evon and Charlotte. She is survived by brother, Clayton Anderson (Helene); and sisters, Donna and Vonna Stofleth; her very special cousin, Francis Stanger, who she loved very much; and her children, Jill Aldridge (Gary), Michelle Merritt (Gene), Twyla Sullivan (Michael Hensley), Buddy Sullivan, Vianney Cravens (Bill), Suzanne Sutton (Nathan), Maureen Molina (Andre), and Christopher Sullivan (Chrissie); 16 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren (with one on the way); and numerous nieces and nephews. Thank you, mother, for being a shining example of a life well lived.

Glenn Murphy
ST. IGNATIUS — Glenn Murphy, 87, passed away March 27, 2013, at St. Luke’s Hospital with his granddaughter by his side.

Glenn was born July 12, 1925, in Hardisty Alberta, to William and Theresa Murphy. He was the youngest of seven children. He married his wife, Patricia Walker, on November 23, 1959, at Fort Macleod in Alberta, Canada.

Glenn was a long time resident of the Mission Valley. He and his wife started ranching on East Post Creek in 1961, after he had worked for the railroad, DOT, and the experimental station. He also served in World War II, stationed in Okinawa.

Glenn had a passion for the outdoors. He spent his younger years with a pioneer family, fishing, hunting, and trapping. He also spent a lot of time playing music, mostly with a guitar. His favorite time of year was the spring, when all the new baby calves were born. You could always find him either cooking his famous sour dough pancakes for family and friends, or out in the fields doing what he loved.

He was active with 4H, creating the livestock auction with his wife. He also was on the joint county board of control for irrigation and part of the crime stoppers organization. To all he will be remembered as a light hearted practical joker, a family man, a respected member of the community, and a trustworthy friend.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Walker; his three children, Terrance, Wanda, and Ron; nine grandchildren, Tiffani, Jeremy, Walker, Hunter, Christian, Debby, Michael, Alison, and Christina; four great-grandchildren, Addessa, Jordan, Logan, and Cameron; and several cousins.

A graveside service will be held at 11:30 a.m. on May 11, 2013, at the Catholic Cemetery in Mission. The potluck memorial will be held later this summer on July 2, 2013, at Leon Hall in Charlo, due to the family being in town for a reunion. Condolences may be left at

Thomas Paul Freeman
RONAN — Thomas Paul Freeman, 58, passed away peacefully March 19, 2013, at his home near Ronan, after several years fighting HIV+ related illnesses.

Born in Springvfield , Illinois, on April 11, 1954, he moved to Montana as a young adult and worked on farms and ranches most of his life. Somewhat of a local celebrity, he was a speaker and advocate for HIV Awareness and Gay Rights, speaking at many of the colleges in the area.

Preceded in death by his partners; he leaves behind a step daughter, Margo Tryon; and distant family from out of state.

No formal services are planned; he will be laid to rest under his tree this summer.

Joseph Larry "Mexican Joe" Villalobos
PABLO — Joseph Larry "Mexican Joe" Villalobos, passed away Tuesday, March 26, 2013, in Ronan.

Born in Old Mexico on March 19, 1944, he eventually moved to Pryor, Montana, where he met his wife, Sister Bozo. They made their home in Billings, Butte and eventually returned to the Pablo area in the mid 1990's.

He was preceded in death by his former wife, and son, Joseph Larry Villalobos.

Survivors include two daughters that live in Oklahoma and Texas; and many friends.

A graveside service is planned on Friday, April 12, 2013, at 2 p.m. in the Kentucky's Bluegrass Knob Cemetery, in Pablo, where he will be laid to rest beside his friends.

Sylvia Fern Deranleau
POLSON — Sylvia Fern Deranleau, passed away peacefully on March 23, 2013, with all of her family by her side.

Fern was a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. She was born on January 23, 1928, to Bert and Viola Miles in Puyallup, Washington. She was the last child born from that union. At the ripe age of six, Bert moved the whole family to Montana, where Fern learned very quickly about farm life and became her dad's right hand after her mother's death in 1943. Fern also played many roles while working up until her marriage to Jean "Frenchy" Deranleau.

Fern and Frenchy were married August 8, 1947. From that union came 2 sets of twin boys and 1 girl, all in the span of three years with years of work ahead of them. Fern admitted later on, "She cried about that one." As Frenchy and Fern settled into their new roles as parents, she knew the value of hard work and sacrifice, so went her commitment to the task at hand.

Her work career began as a cocktail server at "The Ranch", but only in the late evenings, as her days were pretty much filled by her children growing. Later, she was hired by the "Flathead Courier" as front desk receptionist, which turned out to be more the longer her employment went on. She always enjoyed her time spent there. Her next adventure was the "Lake County Abstract Company." New job came new mountains to climb. She fit right into the requirements of the job, but at the same time, learning new skills to acquire her last career jump. After about 10 years at the Abstract Company, she made the move over to "Mission Valley Power." Fern's earlier "Trial by Fire" with the public came full circle in her favor when working in the public eye and all the fantastic people who surrounded her work life. She retired from her work career with no regrets of the path she took and the people she met along the way.

Fern was preceded in death by an infant grandson, Ryan; parents, Viola and Bert Miles; mother and father-in-law, Lottie and Lester Barney Koff; brother and sisters, Ralph Miles, Clara Olson, Stella Luke, and Lily; and spouses of her brother and sisters, Dottie, Art, and Berlin. Last but not least, her lifeline, Frenchy Deranleau, whom she spent 57 years of marriage with.

Fern is survived by her 5 children, Vicky (Don) Osbourne, of Polson, Dana (Diane), of Polson, Daryl, of Brunswick, Ohio, Rocky (Carrie), of Polson, and Royal (Becky), of Polson; grandchildren, Jean, Krayger, Kelly, Jesse, Sean and Lacey, Kacie, Brandon and Brittany; five great-grandchildren; and 1 great great-grandchild.

Fern has been cremated and set beside her husband, where she can finally rest in peace. No date has been set for the inurnment. The Deranleau family would like to express their heartfelt "thanks" to everyone who has helped and cared for Fern in her time of need. Special thanks to the St. Joseph Hospital and staff, as well as Hospice Care.

Messages of condolences may be shared with the family online at

Jerry LaClair Arca
SKOKOMISH, WASHINGTON — Jerry LaClair Arca passed away on March 8, 2013.

Jerry was born on April 10, 1937.

He is survived by his son, Steven Arca; grandchildren, Steven Arca, Jr., Rikki Arca, Ronni Arca, from Rocky Boy, Paul Arca (Nick), from St. Ignatius, and Shelby Arca, from Arlee.

Services were held on March 15, 2013.

The family would like to thank the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes for funds, and also the Cornerstone Church, in St. Ignatius. They would also like to thank all friends and relatives of family concerned.

Mathias “Matt” Michel Buckskin
ELMO — The Happy Hunting grounds has graciously received an accomplished hunter today, amazing War Dancer, and the sweetest spirit... bounding through Mill Creek and Lozeau while leading our ancestors in grand entry. Mathias “Matt” Michel Buckskin passed away on March 20, 2013, at the home of his nephew, Michel Kenmille.

Matt was born on September 30, 1924, in Niarada, to Isadore and Sustine Lefthand Buckskin. In 1945, he married Lucy Moody. They lived in and traveled to many different places, finally making their home in Dayton. He was a loving husband, dad, grandfather, and great grandpa.

In his younger years, he could be found riding horses, whether they were broke or not. He enjoyed his time as a bronco rider. Matt was avid outdoors man who enjoyed spending time in the woods. He loved to hunt, fish, cut Christmas trees, picking huckleberries and passed on this love to his family. When he got his first cell phone, he’d call his boys and say “Guess where I am calling you from?” and it was usually from in the woods.

He was proud to represent the Kootenai people as the War Dance Chief for Standing Arrow Powwow. Leading in opening and closing ceremonies for over 30 years in Elmo and throughout the region. In 2010, he was presented with an arrow, shot by Laurence Kenmille at the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Eagle Circle Dedication in honor of his years of service in World War II.

For many years, he was the caretaker of the cemeteries in Elmo, Dayton and Lonepine. He always said he liked working in the cemeteries because the people there never talked back. He also said “You shouldn’t be scared of the ones in the cemetery because they are all gone; the living is who you need to be scared of”.

A fluent speaker and teacher of the Kootenai Language, he worked up until recently as a treasured cultural resource, assisting with identifying and cataloging Kootenai cultural sites.

He even did a modeling job, at one time, for Karen Noles for a private painting commissioned out of Canada. He really enjoyed himself that day, posing for the camera. He was worried about his watch showing, but was reassured in the final project the watch would be gone. When the finished project came back he was in awe of the print.

Matt loved to travel to Idaho and Canada to visit the old timers. He enjoyed the conversations and company. In his final days, his buddy Matt David traveled over from Idaho to visit one last time.

His biggest love was his family; Lucy and Matt had 10 children, 34 grandchildren, and 39 great grandchildren.

Matt is preceded in death by his wife, Lucy Moody Michel; his parents; Isadore and Sustine Lefthand Buckskin; his siblings, Seymore Michel, Mary Josette, Louise, Pierre, Mary and Isabella “Elizabeth” Kenmille; his sons, Mathias “baby Junior” Michel and Keith Michel; a daughter, Linda “Ducky” Michel; and grandchildren, Rene Strahan, Mathias “Robbie” Michel, Leo Hammer and Echo Michel, his nephew, Danny Tenas; and nieces, Levi Lozeau Big Beaver, Dorothy Couture and Caroline Buckskin.

He is survived by his spouse, Louise Andrew, of Niarada; his special grandson, Lucas (Stephanie) Michel, of Pablo; his children, Wilbert (Bev) Michel, of Polson, Gilbert (Dora) Buckskin, of Elmo, Diane Michel, of Dayton, Geneva (Ronnie) Glenmore of Busby, Victor (Linnea) Michel, of Lindenhurst, Illinios, Leonard ( Melissa) Michel, of Ronan, and Lee Michel, of Polson; his special fondness for his niece, Sandra Andrew; and nephews, Michel “Mike” Kenmille, and Lyle Andrew. He also leaves behind numerous nieces, nephews, grand and great- grandchildren that he would always have to say, "Now, who are you?" to, and a lifetime of friends. His dog, Curly, will truly mourn the loss of his best friend.

A wake will began on Thursday, March 21, 2013, at Elmo Hall. Rosary was Friday, March 22. The service was Saturday, March 23. Burial took place at Dayton Cemetery. Messages of condolences may be shared with the family online at

Dixie Trahan Brabender
RONAN — Dixie Trahan Brabender, 58, passed away on March 12, 2013, at Community Hospital, in Missoula, due to complication from pneumonia. Dixie was a strong willed, but was also a loving and caring wife, mother, grandmother, “Auntie” and friend.

Dixie was born December 10, 1954, in St. Ignatius, to Lyman “Luke” Trahan and Mary Agnes Pichette Trahan. She attended school in Mission, where she met and married Archie Carpenter, who just recently passed away one month ago. In 1981, she met and married her husband of 31 years, Bill Brabender. Dixie was a resident of the Flathead Reservation until her death. She had a great passion for playing pool and was in many, MANY pool leagues, during which time she made many new (and old) friends. She was always looking out for everyone and took great pride in helping anyone, whenever she could! Those who knew her will remember her for her generosity, kindness, and humor, as well as, for her stubbornness, strength, and her ability to say exactly what she felt at any given time!

Dixie was preceded in death by her parents, Luke and Mary Trahan; her youngest daughter, Billie Jo; and her brother, Arthur Trahan.

She leaves behind her husband, Bill Brabender, of Ronan; brothers, Mike Trahan (Caro), of Ronan, and Ronald (Violet) Trahan, of St. Ignatius; her children, Marilee Trahan Peterson (Grant), of Missoula, Joseph Emil Olson, of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and Jacqueline Alice Brabender, of Ronan; her grandchildren, Lacey Ann Mackie, of Tacoma, Washington, Jaron Mackie, of Tacoma, Washington, Donald Scott Peterson and Nico Lyman Peterson, of Missoula.

Dixie will be remembered and missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her.

A wake began March 14, 2013, at the Longhouse in St. Ignatius, with the Rosary being recited Friday at the Longhouse. Mass was celebrated Saturday in the St. Ignatius Catholic Mission. Condolences may be left at

John James Pierre Jr.
POLSON — John James Pierre Jr., 26, joined the Ancestors on Saturday.

A member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, he was born January 8, 1987, to Sheila (Jones) and John Pierre, Sr. Raised and educated in Polson, he worked in the woods whenever possible. John was a very cultural young man who enjoyed being with his boys, mud bogging, hunting. fishing, drying meat, hanging with his bros, and sitting by the fire.

He was preceded in death by his birth father, John Pierre, Sr.; grandmother, Elizabeth Hewankorn Pierre; and cousin Marcus OneSalt.

He is survived by his grandparents, Pat Pierre, Edith Enick and Donald Jones; his parents, Sheila and Jazz Pierre; his children, Brayden Darius Pierre, Cailin Lee Burke and Eliah Hale; his siblings and their families, Michael James (Sarah) Pierre and children Jaliyah, David, Trinity and Michael; Hawk (Bev) Pierre and children, Kemen and Gleison; Isaac (Randi) Pierre and child, Orianna; Mary Pierre-Paul (Louie) and baby, Louie; Jerome Pierre and baby girl, Kioni; and Francine (Jeremiah) James; as well a large close knit family of aunties, uncles, cousins and close friends.

A traditional wake began Monday, March 18, with the Rosary recited at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Longhouse. Wake closing was Thursday, and was followed by Traditional services before he was laid to rest beside family in the St. Ignatius Catholic Cemetery. Condolences may be left at