Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

For the Record
January 2014

Walter Calvin Gainan
RONAN — Walter Calvin Gainan, 70, a lifelong Ronan area resident, passed away at his home on January 29, 2014. Walt was born on November 7, 1943, in Laurin, to the late Melvin and Myrtle (Coad) Gainan.

The Gainan family relocated to Ronan in 1945, where Walt was raised and educated. He graduated from Ronan High School in 1962, and later on in his life he completed a Bachelor’s Degree at Montana Tech in Butte.

At age 18, Walt enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After serving honorably and proudly in Vietnam and in the United States Marine Corps, he came back to Montana and went to work in the oil fields of Eastern Montana. It was there that he met Judy LaBelle.

Walt and Judy were married in 1969 and had three children. While their marriage wasn’t meant to be, Walt kept a quiet presence in his children’s lives. He was very proud of everything that they had done and often kept pictures and newspaper clippings of their accomplishments.

Walt had an extensive professional life outside of the Marine Corps, that included being an NCO TAC Officer for the Montana Military Academy and a Draftsman for the Civil Service. He also worked for the BIA, the Lake County Weed Control, and the Pablo Sewer and Water District. At the time of his death, he was retired.

All those who knew Walt would say that he would do anything for anyone and was very good-hearted. He may have not expressed it enough, but he loved his family more than anything. His final statement of wishes stated “My love, prayers, best wishes and my spirit will be with each and all of you for the rest of time.”

Walt was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Philip Wayne Gainan, Melvin (Woody) Gainan, and Louis Gainan; and his sister, Georgia (Monte) Wickenhagen.

He leaves behind his children, Jodi Gainan George, of Billings; Shawn Gainan, of Wibaux, and Shane (Tina Michelle) Gainan, of Sanford, North Carolina; two sisters, Wilma (Herb) Bick, of Ronan, and Virginia (Tom) Williams, of Butte; brother, Joe (Jan) Gainan, of Charlo; sister-in-laws, Norma (Carl) Sirucek, of Saint Ignatius, and Vita Gainan, of Pablo; grandsons, Alex Gainan, Ian Gainan, and Sean Gainan, of Sanford, North Carolina, and Jacob George, of Billings; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Graveside services were held at the Western Montana State Veteran’s Cemetery, 1911 Tower Road, Missoula, on Wednesday February 12, 2014, at 11 a.m. A reception followed at the VFW Club, 521 Round Butte Rd, Ronan, at 2 p.m. that afternoon.

Mike N. Pablo
ST. IGNATIUS —Michael N. Pablo joined the ancestors on Thursday, January 23, 2014. Mike was born January 8,1962, in Polson, to Thomas M. and Vida Pablo. Mike grew up in Ronan playing baseball, a game he carried a passion for throughout his life. He also played football at Ronan where he excelled as a center and a feared linebacker.

After graduation he spent a short time in Southern California but returned "home" shortly thereafter. Mike worked construction for many years in various capacities, many in the PatCor program with the Tribes.

Mike continued his education to answer his calling to help others, and graduated from Salish Kootenai College. After working in various programs with the Tribes and Kicking Horse Job Corps, he eventually went to work for the Tribal Health Department as a mental health/addiction treatment counselor, where he worked until his passing.

Mike had many passions; he played softball as a way to continue his passion and love of baseball. He played many seasons with the "Gators" and later with the Mission Valley Bats. A pure hitter, he was known to drive the ball up the middle, some claim his lifetime batting average was .625.

Mike was a diehard Cincinnati Reds fan and a proud member of Raider Nation.

Another passion was his Harley. Few things made Mike happier than the open road, where he found peace in the hum of the rubber on the road. Constant customization led many to recognize Mike on his Harley by seeing him behind some of the highest ape hangers in the valley.

A proud Native, Mike was a very spiritual and cultural man. He had many sweat brothers he held as close as blood. He lived the cultural way, enjoying numerous ventures out in nature, digging bitterroot, picking berries, hunting, digging xasxqs and cutting sweat wood among many other traditions.

Mike was a "slave to the steel" and enjoyed pumping iron in his private, custom weight room. Lifting sessions routinely turned into max-out sessions, throwing on plate after plate until personal bests were broken. All it took was a call or text and Mike was ready to work out.

Mike's greatest joy came on August 8, 1995, when his son and best friend, Ryan, was born. Mike was as dedicated of a father as anyone. He was especially proud of Ryan and the rest of the Mission Valley Mariners for capturing the Northwest Regional Legion baseball title in 2012. He was recently elected vice-president of the Mariners club, something he was very proud of and excited to begin working to help the club continue on it's tradition of excellence.

Mike touched countless lives and his untimely passing will prove difficult for many.

Mike was preceeded in death by his dad, Thomas M. Pablo; sister, Janice; nephew, BJ Gardipe; and infant nephew, Terje Pablo.

Mike is survived by his mother, Vida Pablo, of Pablo; his son, Ryan; Ryan's mom, Lorma Sloan, of Ronan; sister, Mildred (Tom) Pierce, of Pablo; sister, Alma Pablo (Leonard “Booger” Grenier), of Ronan; sister, Donna Pablo (Nancy Glass), of St. Ignatius; brother, Butch Pablo, of Moseley, Virginia; brother, Craig Pablo (Shirley), of Ronan; uncle, Lloyd (Arlene) Austin, of Polson; numerous nephews, neices, cousins; special lady friend, Kim; and a spoiled bassett hound, Rex.

Services were Wednesday January 29, 2014, at 1 p.m. in the Longhouse in St. Ignatius. Condolences may be left at

Marjorie Jean Redhorn Stasso
CHENEY — Marjorie Jean Redhorn Stasso died January 17, 2014, at the Cheney Care Center in Cheney, Washinton. She was born on March 4, 1927, the only child of Eneas Stasso and Antonette "Nettie" Moss, in Polson.

After the death of her parents, she was raised by Mr. and Mrs. Kramer and attended schools in Polson and Seattle, Washington. She furthered her education in Berkley and Los Angeles, California. During her stay in California, she met and married Vestor Adams, while she worked as a pet groomer and counselor at Berkley. After their divorce, Marjorie moved back home to Montana, where she was employed at the Salish Kootenai College. She eventually made her way to Spokane, and Cheney, Washington, where she was actively involved in the Indian Community. She was essential in getting an Indian Cemetery in Spokane in 2005.

Marjorie had a colorful sense of style and loved to dye her hair. She could be seen with many different hair colors, hair styles and jewelry that tinkled as she walked. This tinkling of jewelry and her bun led the children she worked with in Elmo to affectionately call her 'Tinker Bell'. Her hobbies included gambling and traveling. She loved sharing Huckleberry Cheesecake with Dean Matt before he passed, and playing Mah Jhong with Howard Kallowatt before his passing.

Preceding her in death are her mother and father; Mr. and Mrs. Kramer; and numerous other relatives.

She is survived by her aunts, Lousie Stasso and Mary Stasso, of Arlee; along with the Stassos, Michel-Buckskins, Weatherwaxes and Antiste; Tony and Randy Grant, and family; Kallowatts, Haynes, Fairbanks, Pierres, and Lozeaus; along with relatives from the Moss and Kramer side of her family. Sorry if have missed anyone as our families are very large. Messages of condolences may be shared with the family online at

Kenneth Owen Richards
PABLO — Kenneth Owen Richards, 103, of Pablo, passed away Wednesday, January 29, 2014, from natural causes at the St. Luke Extended Care Facility.

Burial has taken place at Ronan Cemetery. A celebration of Grandpa Ken's life will take place in Ronan at the City Park in mid-June, near what would have been his 104th birthday. Please watch for a celebration announcement and complete obituary to be published in late May.

Gary Ebbing
HOT SPRINGS — Gary 'Skeeter' Ebbing was born on December 11, 1955, in Peoria, Illinois, to Wayne and Mary Ebbing. He died at his home in Hot Springs on January 10, 2014.

At age 13 he left home on an adventure to California. At 15, he joined the Marines with an honorable discarge. He re-enlisted at 17 and served in the Vietnam War.

He hitchhiked all over the country, working odd jobs along the way to survive. Sheeter spent a lot of time working at carnivals. He had a lot of funny stories to tell. He saw a lot of things along the course of his adventures. Eventually he made his way to Montana, where he found the O'Bennick family. Skeeter would stay with them during the summer, then disappear in the fall to where ever the next adventure would take him. He finally did settle down and call Hot Springs home. He loved the outdoors, fishing, camping in his teepee, kayaking, shooting guns, drinking beer and hanging out with his friends were his favorite past times.

Skeeter is survived by his brother, Michael Ebbing, of Bowden, Georgia; and aunt Hazel Shelly, of Bowden, Georgia. And his Montana family, the O'Bennick family, Sandra Rossler, and all of his good friends.

Thanks for the memories Skeeter. Rest in peace for now, till we meet again. Now you can hitchhike all over Heaven.

Marilynn D. Covington
WASHINGTON — 'Denise' Marilynn D. Covington passed away January 12, 2014, at her home in Nespelem, Washington, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She was born September 14, 1947, in St. Ignatius.

Rosary and wake were held Thursday, January 16, 2014, at the Nespelem Community Center. Funeral services were held Friday, followed with burial at the Nespelem Catholic Cemetary.

Tracy A. Gardner
ARLEE — Tracy A. Gardner, 52, passed away January 12, 2014, in Arlee.

Born to Charles and Thelma Louise (Andruaga) Eberlin on April 14, 1962, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She was raised in York, Pennsylvania, and moved to Pheonix where she graduated from High School before becoming a cab company cage clerk.

Moving to Montana in 2001, she leaves behind her husband, Mike Adams; a daughter, Amanda Eberlin; siblings, Charlayne Glatfelter, Barbara Dierdorf and Gregg Reichard; and three grandchildren.

Services are planned for later this year. Condolences may be left at

Ann V. Helgeson
MISSOULA — Ann V. Helgeson, died on Wednesday, January 1, 2014, at St. Patrick's Hospital, with her son, Darrin Finley, and his family by her side.

Anne was born January 23, 1934, to Clarence and Mary Fox Brockie. Ann grew up on her family's ranch near Curly Head and Owl Head Canyon, at the base of the Little Rocky Mountains.

Her mother died when she was just a young girl, and by the age of 14, her father died, as well. By then her grandparents, Belknap and Rebecca Fox, and Old Man Brockie and Plume Brockie, were also deceased. She stayed with her good friend, Theresa Longfox Tincher and family.

Her high school years were spent at Flandreau Indian High School. This was where she met her first husband, Evan Finley, who was from Fort Berthold North Dakota. She worked in various jobs, but spent many years in the 1960's working at Flandreau Indian School where she was the Head Cook. Many students from Fort Belknap remember her while attending school there. She moved to California where her son, Darrin, was born and spent several years there. Some of her family members lived there and she made many friends while in California.

Anne moved back to Ft. Belknap, where she lived for the remainder of her life. She had an adopted daughter, Gerarda “ Cricket” Finley, who lived with her for a couple years. Anne married Leon "Chick" Helgeson and they lived on a ranch at People's Creek. She later got a divorce but continued to live and ranch at her place. Her neighbors, Joe and Gaylynn McConnell, became her life-long friends and were always looking-out for her.

Anne worked at the Fort Belknap Commodity Program, where she was the Director until her death. She was the oldest employee and worked at the Commodity Program for 45 Years.

In addition to many friends, Anne had several loves, one of them was gambling and the other was her son, Darrin, who she was absolutely proud of. She let everyone know of all his successes, especially when he got his bachelor's degree. Her other loves include her grandsons, Bryce (Dez) and Joel (Ashley); and their children, her great -grandchildren. Anne said she never worried about Darrin as his wife, Cheryl (who she also loved), took good care of him and her family always treated him like a son.

Ann is proceded in death by her parents, Clarence and Mary Fox Brockie; brothers: Joseph, Georgie, Maurice (Brickie), James (Skunk) and Teddy; and sisters: Teresa Nillie, Ella Aragon, Catherine, Agnes Adams, Frances (Frosty) Brown, Cecelia Marie, and Helena Ruth. In addition, she had two adopted sisters, Rose Main Connor and Henrietta Main Cochran. She is survived by her brother, Henry "Prince" Brockie; sister, Mary Hayes; and son, Darrin (Cheryl) Finley; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The wake began Saturday, January 4, 2013, with the Rosary on Sunday, January 5, at 7 p.m. at St. Pauls Mission. The funeral will be Monday, January 6, at 11 a.m.

Merrie Gale Lewis
POLSON — Merrie Gale Lewis, 58, passed away peacefully Saturday, January 4, 2014, at her home.

Merrie was born July 10, 1955, in Billings to Virgil Escoe Lewis and Billie LaFern Brown. She grew up in Billings, and when she was 16 years old her family moved to Kalispell, where she graduated from Evergreen High School in 1975.

In June 1994, she met her beloved companion and friend, Craig Padilla. In 1998, they built their home on Mud Lake Trail, Polson.

Merrie had a kindred spirit and a love for life. She always had encouraging words with a sincere concern for family, friends and co-workers; whether friends or family or someone she just met, she had kind words. Merrie had such a giving heart with sincere intentions. She had the gift of listening to those in need of words to be heard. Those who knew her loved her very much. Her smile, her laugh and her compassion for others will be greatly missed.

Merrie was preceded in death by her father, Virgil Escoe Lewis; sister, Sherl “Shari” Lynn Adams (Steve); and uncles, Robert William and Kenneth Elmer. She is survived by her husband of 20 years, Craig Padilla; mother, Billie LaFern Brown (Adolph) Kohl; stepmother, Viola Pinkerman, of Polson; aunts, Ruth Pinkerman, of Polson, and Rosemary Jensen, of Pasco, Washington; adopted son, Shade Tanner; and grandson, Shade, Jr.; brothers, Mark Anthony, of Portland, Oregon, and Steven Escoe (Terri), of Belgrade; nieces and nephews, Jason, Emily and Alicia; great-niece, Lucy Ella; and cousins, Debbie, Karen, Mary, Kari, Lisa and Kenneth Paul (Kip) Giles.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Salish Kootenai College Angel Fund. A viewing will be held at Grogan Funeral Home on Thursday, January 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for those wishing to pay their respects. Arrangements and cremation are under the care of Grogan Funeral Home and Crematory. Condolences may be sent to the family at