Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

For the Record
March 2014

Robert Malatare
POLSON — Robert Malatare, 79, passed away March 16, 2014, in Polson.

A member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, he was born in St. Ignatius to Philip Malatare and Christine Matt on April 9, 1934.

Because of health issues with cerebral palsy, Robert as a small child went to live in Boulder, Colorado, before going to live in Kalispell, then Ronan, and finally in Polson.

He enjoyed Westerns and was very artistic.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Red Malatare; and sisters, Geraldine “Beans” and Phyllis.

Survivors include his brother, BearBear (Irma) Malatare, of Arlee; 13 nieces and nephews; and numerous cousins and extended family.

A visitation started Thursday, March 20, at 3 p.m. in the Polson Indian Sr. Citizens Center (the old Catholic Church) with a rosary recited at 7 p.m. that evening.

A closing service was at 11 a.m. Friday, March 21, at the Polson Indian Sr. Center, followed by a meal. Condolences may be left at

Robert H. Schall, Jr.
ARLEE — Robert H. Schall, Jr., 63, passed away Friday, March 21, 2014, after a two year battle with cancer. He was born June 25, 1950.

Robert spent his entire life in Arlee, most of it on the Schall Ranch. His rodeo career is legendary. He was an accomplished bareback rider, team roper, and steer wrestler, winning countless championships in the PRCA, NRA, and other regional associations.

He traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada, and on occasion to Australia. He was an Montana State University alumni, being most proud of his membership on the 1972 NIRA National Championship Men’s Rodeo Team and for being a member of the MSU Athletic Hall of Fame. He won the coveted PRCA Linderman Award in 1986. He was a past president of the Northern Rodeo Association. He was recently inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and is listed on the Montana Rodeo Wall of Fame, at Metra Park in Billings.

He was a dear friend and mentor to many. Bob was incredibly proud of being a father to Emily, she was the light of his life. He never missed an opportunity to be with her or support her throughout her youth. He drove many tireless miles to be wherever she may need him.

Robert was an avid outdoorsman, loving to fish, hunt and pack. His favorite dessert was pie and ice cream. His ability to complete math calculations in his head was astounding.

He married Shari Delp in 1976. He married Pam Gann in 1991. To this union Emily Jean Schall was born on August 1, 1993.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert H. and Marjorie Schall, Sr.; brothers-in-law, Norman Crawford, Rip Johnson and Tom O’ Connor.

He is survived by his daughter, Emily; longtime partner, Jill Ursua; sisters, Marjorie Schall, Betsy Johnson, Judy Myllymaki, Johanna Crawford, and Mary Jane Heindel; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 29, 2014, in Arlee at the high school gym. Burial will follow at the City Cemetery in Missoula. A potluck reception will follow the interment, side dishes and desserts are appreciated. Foster Funeral Home, of St. Ignatius, is entrusted with the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, University of Great Falls Rodeo Team, MSU Rodeo Scholarship fund, or the charity of one’s choice. Thoughts and condolences may be shared at

Faye Lillian Oehrling Keith Pitts
DIXON — Faye Lillian Oehrling Keith Pitts, 88, was taken into the arms of Jesus on March 6, 2014 surrounded by the love of her family after a gallant battle with breast cancer and osteoporosis.

Faye was born, September 15, 1925, in Rose Lake, Idaho, to a first generation German immigrant family. She graduated from Kellogg High School where she was a majorette, thrilling the crowd by twirling batons on fire. The school troupe went on to become the Northwest Regional Champions.

After graduation Faye was married briefly to Kenneth Keith, who was killed in World War II. To assist in the war effort she moved with her sister-law, Geri Earling, to work in Portland. In 1945, she joined her mother and stepfather in Hot Springs, Montana. While working at the LaRue Mercantile she met the love of her life, Gene Pitts. Faye would not marry until she completed her training at the Beauty School in Missoula, and maintained an active license until her mid-seventies, just in case she had to return to work. They married July 5, 1947, and settled into their sweet log cabin on Camas Prairie to run a saw mill. Their first two babies, Lettie and Garry, were born on the Prairie. In 1951 they purchased the old sawmill in Ravalli and moved the family to Dixon. Three more babies were added: Terry, KoLynn and Larry.

Given her children’s many health challenges - Diabetes, Polio, and multiple head and body injuries, Faye was nickname “Dr. Faye.” She spent tireless hours as a dedicated mother working side-by-side her children to complete school work, 4-H projects, or driving them and friends to their multiple events and activities.

Dancing was Faye’s passion, prompting her to teach her kids to dance in the house kitchen. In her mid- life she became a parapro at the Dixon Grade School and later an Assistant Postmaster. In her later years she was the noted caregiver for her beloved, Gene. She prided herself with being his "pit bull" guiding and directing his care to his last breath.

Faye loved people and was the biggest Dixon fan. She was a tiny person, known for her ready smile, hand wave, visiting with people up and down the valley. You could often see her peeking over the steering wheel of her maroon car. She loved to drink a Coca-Cola while writing notes and sending out cards to people she loved. She was determined to live out her life in her Dixon home, but an unfortunate fall, and broken hip lead to her recent residence at St. Joseph's Assisted Living Community, in Polson. At St. Joseph's she was quickly embraced by old and new friends who offered her love and friendship in return. We thank the residents and staff for making her final hours so precious.

Faye was preceded in death by husband, Eugene Pitts; daughter, Lettie Pitts Neuman; son, Larry Pitts; brother, Ed Earling; and parents, Lillian and Leo Keith, and Edgar and Florence Oehrling.

Surviving family are Garry and Christine Pitts, of Polson, Terry and Crystal Pitts, of Dixon, and KoLynn (Pitts) and Paul Sinclair, of Yakima, Washington, Ginger Pitts, of Polson, John Neuman, of Missoula; grandchildren, Greg Neuman, Stephen and (Tiffany) Pitts, Zachary (Valissa) Pitts, Samantha (Andrew) Pitts-Norlan, Zanen (Kendra) Pitts, Don Powell, Whitney (Nathan) Pitts-Danz, and Taylor Pitts; great-grandchildren, Jett, Tallis, and Zanen, Jr.; sister-in-law, Geri Earling; Bud and Nina Heitmiller; and many nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, 2014 at the Dixon Gym. A lunch will be served at the Dixon Senior Center. Interment will be 2:30 p.m. at the Sunset Memorial Cemetery, Missoula, and reception at Staybridge Hotel. Messages of condolences may be shared online with the family at

Lance Arthur Johnson
CEDAR CITY, UTAH — Lance Arthur Johnson was born in Polson on January 9, 1967 and traveled on to be with his Lord and Savior on March 1, 2014. He was 47 years old.

Lance attended schools in Toledo, Washington, Centralia, Washington, Fair-Mont-Egan, Creston, Polson and Ronan schools. He chose to follow in his dad's footsteps in the heavy equipment in the gold mines, oil fields, and road construction. While employed with Brown and Root he met the love of his life, Deb Fox, daughter of Delroy and Evelyn Fox, of Mesquite, Nevada. They were married in November of 1990, and begat the other love of his life, daughter Shae Lynn, age 17, 1997. They resided in Cedar City, Utah. Lance was an avid sports fan and in high school, he played football, track and field, wrestling and rodeo. As a young man he added cross-bow archery, skeet, pool, darts, skiing, and both ice and roller skating. He was an avid sportsman who fished, hunted, hiked and camped. He was a gifted craftsman in Native Arts and was a wonderful story teller. Lance passed his love of life on to his daughter, Shae, who is involved in Martial Arts, soccer, basketball and volleyball. Lance enjoyed his Native American and Norwegian roots; we joked that Mom made both frybread and lefsa. His laughter, loyalty, and service to others will forever live in the hearts of friends and family.

Lance was preceded in death by his grandparents, Basil and Vi Ducharme; aunt, Nadine Couture; close cousins, Scott Johnson and Cody Conrad; and his sister-in-law, Josie Fox.

He is survived by his wife, Debbie; daughter, Shae; parents, Art and Donna Johnson, of Hawthorne, Nevada, and Myrna Ducharme-Johnson, of Polson; in-laws, Evelyn and Delroy Fox; brothers-in-law, Doug (Sandi) and Rod; siblings, Deborah Johnson, of Hawthorne, Nevada, Tracey Normandeau, and Keith and Jerrod Johnson, of Polson; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and nieces and nephews, whom he adored.

Services will be held on March 6, 2014, at 4 p.m. at the Journey Be Church, 101 Seventh Avenue West, in Polson, and on March 8 at the Cedar City Lutheran Church, in Utah.