Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

For the Record

November 2005 Obituaries

CHARLO -- Charles F. Bick died at the family home near here on Nov. 3, 2005. He was born on Aug. 8, 1921, in Broadview, to Clarence and Evelyn Pierce Bick, the eldest of nine children. The family moved to the Mission Valley in 1934. Charles graduated from Ronan High School in 1939. He attended Montana State College. As part of the advanced ROTC group from there, he went on to serve in World War II with the 75th Infantry Division, from the Battle of the Bulge until the end of the war. He was awarded the Bronze Star at the Battle of Colmar. He returned to MSC to graduate with a degree in dairy production and went on to dairy at Pablo and Charlo until 1974, when began raising Arabian horses. For the past 17 years, he loved raising roses. He was something of a pioneer to more modern agriculture as a charter member and the first president of the Mission Valley Chapter of FFA, as well as the first to earn the state farmer degree from that chapter. He was also the first to receive recognition as the Outstanding Young Farmer of Lake County in 1954. Charles served on the Farm Labor Sponsoring Board, the Consolidated Dairies Board of Directors, the Farm Home Administration Board of Directors, Montana State University Dairy Advisory Board and various other agriculture related groups. He always had a keen interest in young people and was a 4-H leader for over 20 years, a Sunday school teacher and in later years, enjoyed being part of the Grandparent Volunteer Reading Program at Charlo schools. Charles married Delores Salomon of Pablo in 1952 and she survives him at the family home. He is also survived by four sons and their spouses, Don and Kristy (Worden), Wally and Kelly (Charlo), Rich and LuJuana (Missoula) and Rob and Caralyn (Rocky Point, NC); two daughters and their spouses, Theresa and Ralph Johnston (Ashley Lake) and Barbie and Vern Stipe (Moiese); as well as 16 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; five brothers, Ralph (Midway, British Columbia), Arthur (Charlo), Herb (Ronan), Ray (Eli, NV), and Bill (St. Ignatius); one sister, Clara Miller (Ronan); and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Clarence and Evelyn Bick; a brother, Robert, and sister Wilma, who died as infants; and two granddaughters. Funeral services were Nov. 7 at the Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Polson. Military graveside honors were conducted at Mountain View Cemetery in Ronan. The family requests that memorials be made to the new hymnal fund at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ronan.

MISSOULA -- Lynda Larson Clairmont, 56, died of natural causes on Nov. 16, 2005, at Community Medical Center here.She was born on Jan. 3, 1949, in Polson, to Orris and Jeannie Larson. She graduated from Polson High School. Lynda had been a secretary throughout her life, working 10 years with the public school system in Alaska and at the Lake County Courthouse in Polson. She also served as a certified emergency medical technician in Craig, Alaska.The joys of her life were her boys and grandchildren. She had a green thumb and enjoyed growing a variety of plants. She also played on a women's softball team in Craig.Survivors include Ronda and Mark Gagnon (Kalispell); Eric and Anna Larson (Petersburg, AK); Sandra and Greg Ouellette (Thorne Bay, AK); Jack and Robin Looper (Bellingham, WA); and her sons and their families, Brett and wife Lucy and children Dustin, Jesse and Buffy Looper (Sheridan, WY), Chris and wife Donell and their children, Ashley, Curtis and Kyler Looper and Karson and Cameron Neiss (Missoula) and Jamie and wife Kim and children Marlena, Chris and Brandi Looper (Missoula).

CHARLO -- Mary Ann Posivio-Erickson died at home here on Nov. 16, 2005, surrounded by her family. She was born on March 15, 1956, in St. Ignatius, to Don and Margaret Posivio, and grew up on the family farm with her brothers Don, Bill and Gene. Mary Ann attended the Ursuline School and St. Ignatius schools, graduating in 1974. She received her degree in education from Western Montana College and later her master's degree in education from the University of Montana. Mary Ann was proud to have had only one job in her life, as a teacher in the St. Ignatius Schools from 1977 to the time of her passing, first as a kindergarten teacher and lastly as the librarian. It was this life as a teacher and educator that brought so much joy to her. Her colleagues, students and friends at school were talked of so often in our home and with such fondness. Mary Ann never wanted to be anything but a Mission Bulldog. Mary Ann was preceded in death by her father Don. She is survived by her husband Bob; daughter Loren and son Robbie (at the family home in Charlo); her mother Margaret (St. Ignatius); her brothers and sisters-in-law, Don and Linda (Sidney), Bill and Nancy (Ronan) and Gene and Linda (St. Ignatius); her father-in-law, Whitey (Ronan); and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Funeral services were conducted on Nov. 21 at the Mission Church. Burial followed at the St. Ignatius Catholic Cemetery. Pallbearers were James Davis, Dale Oakland, John Boyle, Brett Allen, Mark Johnson, Tim Marchant, Tim Skinner and Tim Schauss. Mary Ann asked that any memorials or donations be made to the St. Ignatius School Community Library, in care of Dr. Tim Skinner, St. Ignatius, MT 59865. Mary Ann's special message: Loren and Rob, you are the light of my life, I love you and will always be with you; just ask and I am there in your heart. MerriLou, smile 'cause I love you. Dave and Jen, you have kept us whole, you have saved us, all my love forever! To all my friends, remember, the heart of a Bulldog can never die. Go, Dawgs!

ARLEE -- Rosalie Ann Gebeau, 23, died at her home here on Nov. 11, 2005. A member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, she was born in Missoula on Dec. 18, 1981, to Sherry Gebeau and Francis Plante, Sr. She was raised in Arlee and attended grade school in Arlee and high school at Two Eagle. Following her schooling she started her family. She enjoyed being a mother and wife, being around her family, beading and driving around. She was preceded in death by her mother Sherry Gebeau, Uncle Wendell "Dino" Smith, grandparents Francis "Zok" Plante and Rose A. Felix and Robert "Sonny" and Rosalie Pierre Gebeau; Bing Ahenakew, Sr.; brothers Francis "Fran" Plante and Merle Ahenakew; sister Vena Ahenakew; and a godson, Jason Pickering, Jr. Survivors include her husband Jason Ahenakew and children Kaylee Paige and Francis Vincent (all of the family home); her father Francis "Boge" Plante, Sr. (Arlee); sisters Melody (Jason Pickering) Plante and Carla (Matt Linsebigler) Plante (St. Ignatius), Jeanette (Clem) Lafley and Amy Plante; brother Joseph (Neddie) Plante; step-sister Jessica Plante (Arlee); aunts Janet (Mike Charlo) Gebeau (Arlee), Dorothy Blyton of Missoula and Anita (Richard) George (Wapato, WA); uncles James "Swig" Plante, Daryl Gebeau and Paul "Cha" Felix (Arlee); as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and a large extended family including her husbandıs family from Rocky Boy. A wake service began at the family home on Nov. 13, moving to the Arlee Community Center on Nov. 14, where the rosary was recited. Mass was celebrated on Nov. 15 in the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Arlee with the burial following at the Plante Family Cemetery.

ST. IGNATIUS -- Patricia D. Hurt died on Nov. 4, 2005, from the Millpond Assisted Living Center here after her daughter, Sharon, arrived to be by her side. She was born on July 23, 1918, in Lewistown, to John J. and Katherine (Wilson) Dobson. She went to grade school there until she was 10, when her father died. Her mother remarried when Patricia was 12, so she moved to Butte to be raised by her sister Fay Waite and her husband Bill. She attended Butte Public School, graduating in 1936. After graduation, she worked at the Grand Canyon Resort in Yellowstone Park, selling souvenirs. She entered Montana State University (now the U of M) in the fall of 1936 and began the pharmacy program. She joined the Sigma Kappa sorority while at the university. She met her future husband, Kenneth R. Hurt, at a Sigma Nu - Sigma Kappa dinner exchange. They were married on Jan. 25, 1940, at the Episcopal Church in Butte. They moved to Scobey, MT, where Ken worked as a pharmacist for 18 months. They moved to Missoula, where Ken worked for Smith Drug. On Dec. 1, 1941, they bought Mission Drug in St. Ignatius from John Dowdy which they operated until 1968, when Ken retired. They spent their retirement years in St. Ignatius and on Finley Point. She was a very loving, family-oriented, always-on-the-go person. Along with raising three children, she worked alongside her husband at Mission Drug. Her cherry cokes and vanilla milkshakes made at the fountain will always be remembered. Her greatest contributions were always made to her family. After retirement from Mission Drug, she knitted sweaters and afghans for family and friends. She enjoyed many years of card-playing with her bridge club. One of her favorite places to spend time with friends, family and Chinn, her Shih-Tzu dog, was the family cabin on Flathead Lake. She was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years in 1993; a daughter, Marciana Mathilda Hurt, in 2004; her sister, Fay Waite; and her brother, Dobby Dobson. Survivors include her son and his wife, Kenneth W. and Patricia A. Hurt (St. Ignatius); her daughter and son-in-law, Sharon and James A. Gies (Colville, WA); and grandchildren Kenneth J. Hurt (Baltimore, MD), James M. Gies (Spokane), Wendy Gottesman (Mercer Island, WA), Shaunda M. Paske (Spokane), and Jennifer A. Kennaugh (Helena); and seven great-grandchildren. Funeral services were conducted on Nov. 11 at the St. Ignatius Catholic Church. The family suggests memorials to the St. Ignatius Catholic Church restoration fund.

ST. IGNATIUS -- Larry Lane "Lanie" Spotted Blanket, 44, died on Nov. 25, 2005, in Ronan. Lanie was born in Helena in the family home on Sept. 8, 1961. He was given his Indian name "Going Around Thunder Child" by Rosie TwoTeeth's mother, Nancy Smith. Before returning to the Flathead Reservation he lived in Great Falls. Lanie was a son, father, brother, uncle, grandfather and friend. He worked as a firefighter in Rocky Boy, on Great Falls crews, the Helena Fire Crew, Bonners Ferry Fire Control and the Flathead Fire Crew and had worked at Flathead Stickers.He went to Kicking Horse Job Corps in Ronan where he received in his GED and later he received his certificate.He also had a short boxing career while at KHJCC. Lanie loved working in the woods and being with friends & family.He enjoyed shopping for Christmas presents for his nieces and nephews, his powwows and stickgame journeys, his teasing of friends and family that he loved so much, and hunting and doing odd jobs, carpentry work and chores. He was preceded in death by stepdad Lloyd Chippewa; father Larry Spotted Blanket Sr.; grandparents and great-grandparents, grandmother Katie Saxa, grandfather Joseph Dixon Finley, Rosie Pain Saxa and John Saxa, Madeline and John Pain, Angelic Granjo, Frank and Samuel Finley, Eneas Granjo, Annie LaMoose and Ernie and Annie Sorrell; an infant niece, Echo Michel; uncles John, Tom Spotted Blanket, Joe Slim John, Igg, John and Proff Saxa, Tony Finley, Rosie and John TwoTeeth and aunts Alice, Mary Jane, Esther Spotted Blanket, Nancy TwoTeeth LaMere and Sandy Matt Adams; great-aunt Angie Finley Matt; three yayas, Christine (Loma), Louise (Thomas) and Annie (Louie) and Sophie Adams. Within the last year he has lost his sister Connie, grandmothers Margaret Finley, Madeline Barnaby, and Ruth (David) Chippewa; and his favorite brother-in-law and friend, Keith Michel, Sr. He is survived by his wife, Mary Ann Bird; his sons Bucky Lane Red Horn and Jerimiah Spotted Blanket and granddaughter Maiyha Jade; stepson Elijah Cahoon (Mary), grandchildren Little Elijah and Naeloni; mother Sonia Finley Chippewa; sisters Jennifer (Harvey) Sansavere, Maxine Michel and Nora Chippewa; brother Mike Spotted Blanket, brother/nephew Lloyd Lane Spotted Blanket; uncles and aunts Chief and Brenda Finley, Butch Finley, Mike and Erica Finley, Vernon and Elaine Finley, Barney Finley, Carl and Darlene Saxa, Larry Saxa, Chuck and Sara TwoTeeth, Gerald and Alma Chippewa, Patsy Chippewa, Jr. Slim John, Marilyn and Conrad Chippewa, whom she always called Uncle "Corn;" a special great uncle Octave and Edna Finley; all 25 of her nieces and nephews whom he loved very much; three great-nieces, Natalliya, Navonnte and Alexandria; and an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins whom he knew and some he never met, and his pets Chewy, Buddy, Bo, Baby & C.B. A wake was conducted at the Longhouse in St. Ignatius. Funeral services were held on Nov. 29 at the Longhouse. Interment followed in the St. Ignatius Catholic Cemetery.

ARLEE -- Melvin Leroy Steele, 55, died at his home here on Nov. 9, 2005. Melvin was born on Nov. 27, 1949, in St. Ignatius, to Mathew and Josephine Morigeau Steele.He was a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.He attended his early grade school years at Pleasant View Elementary in Baldwin Park, CA, until 1962, when the family moved back to Arlee, where he attended grade school.The family eventually moved to Dixon, where he attended high school. He graduated from Arlee High School in 1968. After serving a short stint in the U.S. Navy he returned home.Melvin worked many different jobs including the U.S. Forest Service, bartender and Flathead Tribal Police.He found his true calling in September 1975 when he was hired by the U.S. Indian Police Training and Research Center in Brigham City, Utah. Melvin became an instructor at the Police Academy, eventually obtaining the rank of Training Sergeant. After serving a number of years in Brigham, he eventually "hit the streets," as they say, as a full-fledged BIA police officer where he served with distinction at various duty stations both permanently and on temporary duty. His primary duty was the Crow Reservation, Crow Agency, and the Fort Peck Agency -- both in Montana. He retired from Crow Agency in July of 2005. Melvin was a true people person. He had a great sense of humor; he liked to tell jokes, and had many friends. He was a lifelong and confirmed bachelor who cared dearly for his family, especially all of his nephews and nieces. He is survived by three brothers, Jim (Aberdeen, SD), Joseph "Jody" Steele (Arlee), and John (Pablo); and three sisters, Beverly (Dixon), Barbara (Scottsville, KY), and Betty (Arlee). He was preceded in death by his parents Mathew and Josephine; a sister, Carol; and brothers Robert "Robbie" and Harold, who died in infancy. The wake was held at the Arlee Community Center, beginning on Nov. 12. Closing services took place on Nov. 14, also in Arlee. Per Melvin's wishes, his remains were cremated and a memorial and placement of his ashes took place on Nov. 27.

POLSON -- Roberta Marie Sanderson Thick was born on Oct. 29, 1939, in Hamilton, the daughter of Evelyn Saurey Beatty and Ed Beatty. Roberta died on Nov. 28, 2005, at her home here surrounded by her family members. She died after a long battle with a rare form of cancer. Roberta was raised in the Flathead Valley, a great-granddaughter of Robert and Mary Saurey, Swiss pioneers who homesteaded in Columbia Falls in the late 1800s, and the granddaughter of Dan and Wilma Saurey. Roberta attended elementary school in West Glacier, where her parents worked for the National Park Service. She graduated from Columbia Falls High School in 1957. Roberta married Richard G. Smith in 1957 and they raised three children, Evonne, Dan and Darryl Smith, in Columbia Falls. Roberta was very active in civic affairs. She served as the director of her Sunday school and the junior choir. She was a member of the Order of Eastern Star. Roberta was a trustee of the Columbia Falls School Board for many years and a past president of the State of Montana School Boards Association. Roberta was also active in the Columbia Falls Jayceens and served as the state president and national secretary for the organization. She attended nearly all of her children's many athletic events and in her positions on the local and state school boards was an avid supporter of girls' high school sports in the '70s. In 1979 Roberta was named the Outstanding Young Woman of Montana. Roberta was divorced in 1975 and moved to Missoula to advance her career with the U.S. Postal Service. Roberta started as a distribution clerk with the post office in Columbia Falls. After moving to Missoula, Roberta took advantage of all opportunities that the Postal Service provided, including stints as the officer in charge of post offices in Libby and American Fork, Utah. She was the customer service representative in Missoula and manager of the Hellgate Station Post Office. While in Missoula she met the love of her life, Ray Thick, who was also an employee of the Postal Service. Together they moved to Polson. Ray became the postmaster at Ronan and Roberta was named the postmaster at Polson. Ray and Roberta were married Aug. 25, 1990. After working several years in Ronan and Polson, they opted for an early retirement. Roberta did not slow down in retirement. She enjoyed hosting large family vacations at their home in Polson, and golfing with Ray, her children, grandchildren and friends. Ray and Roberta frequently traveled to Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Canada and the East Coast to play golf and visit family members. Roberta also found time to learn quilting, finding this to be an unexpected connection to her ancestors. She made beautiful quilts for her family and numerous items for charitable events. She was an active member of the Polson Soroptimists and for several years Ray and Roberta sponsored the Polson Wine Festival. Roberta served as a Polson City Council member until illness forced her to resign. She loved her work with the Polson Golf Association and was a passionate supporter of the Polson Library, serving on its board. Roberta is survived by her husband Ray Thick (Polson); her children and their families, Evonne and Ed Wells (R.J. and Jackie) of Missoula, Dan and Karen Smith (Adam, James, Danine, Lindsey and Ryan) of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Darryl and Caron Smith, (Luke, Ashley, Seth and Kyle) of Madras, Ore.; a brother and his wife, Sandy and Patti Sanderson of Kalispell; a brother, Ben Beatty of Green River, Ariz.; and a sister, Myrna Nicholas of Hawaii. A memorial service for Roberta was held at the First United Methodist Church in Polson on Dec. 3. In lieu of flowers, Roberta would have appreciated memorials to the Polson Junior Golf program, Polson Library or St. Joseph Hospital, especially its Home Health Care program.

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Myrtle Whittle, 89, formerly of Polson, died here on Nov. 18, 2005, from natural causes. Myrtle was born on Feb. 4, 1916, to Mary Rose Morigeau Clairmont and John Clairmont. She is survived by her children Jacqueline Doiron, Alan Homestead, Jana Clairmont, and Patricia Higginbotham; a sister, Ruth Hall (Ronan); and numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Myrtle was preceded in death by her parents Mary Rose and John Clairmont; brothers Lawrence Clairmont, Eugene Clairmont, Harold Clairmont, Phillip Clairmont; and sisters Alice Sly, Lillian Thomas, and Bernice Bryant. A memorial service is planned for Myrtle on July 1, 2006, at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.


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