RONAN — John F. Madrigal passed away in Kalispell on October 21, 2020 from complications of the Coronavirus. His passing has left a deep ache in our hearts.
John was born on February 22, 1950 in Butte. His mother’s midwife, Mary, and her husband Jose Madrigal adopted John. When he was little, they moved into the Pilipino and Mexican agricultural communities in Southern California. In John’s late teens, he moved to Salem, Oregon where he raised his family and made many life-long friends.
Many years ago, John had a serendipitous meeting with a group of young men from the Coeur d’ Alene Reservation. They had attended Chemawa Indian School and were working in Salem. They became friends and traveled to several Tribal celebrations including Standing Arrow on the Flathead Reservation.
Raised as an only child, John was delighted to discover he was related to some of these men and that he was a member of a very large Native family from the Flathead Reservation he had just visited and had fallen in love with.
With the help of Pam, his wife at the time, John was able to obtain the names and addresses of his many siblings who had all been adopted out and scattered throughout the West. He made contact with each of them. His niece Donna likened him to a shepherd gathering his flock! His brothers and sisters are all grateful to John and have said what a healing, joyful experience this has been for their lives. They are all proud members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT).
John deeply loved all of his children, grandchildren and great grandson. Regardless of the circumstances, John never forgot a birthday or holiday. Shortly before his passing, with pride and love in his voice, he said “all of my kids have grown into good people”. Having had times in his life when he was totally alone, John really wanted all of his kids to know their aunties, uncles, and many cousins.
John also loved the earth and enjoyed hiking, fishing and hunting. As a result, he had an intimate knowledge of Oregon from The Dalles on the Columbia River, West to the Pacific, and the Flathead Reservation.
Classic cars were another passion of John’s. Without error, he could name the make, model, and year of any car he saw. He also loved thunderstorms. Given his adventurous spirit, he was a Storm Chaser before it became a profession.
John had a smile that warmed hearts and lit up the room. His ever-present wit and humor brightened our lives. Even in the darkest of situations- including during his illness- he could find humor in life and he was always patient. His wife Renee lovingly said, “we laugh every day” and his co-workers and friends would also agree.
He was respected for his kindness, integrity and positive outlook on life. John was very diplomatic, always saw the good in people, and was non-judgmental.
John had a work ethic that was unsurpassed, no matter what the job was. He first worked as a baker and later worked in the paper mill in Salem until it shut down. He then obtained an electrical degree. For years, he was employed at the Bi-Mart Company, working his way up into management positions.
After moving home to the Flathead Reservation, John held several positions within the CSKT government. John eventually retired as Manager of the CSKT Property and Supply Program.
John was preceded in death by his mother, Annie Gingras, father, Peter Barnaby, beloved grandson Tyler Freeman, sisters Sherrie Taylor, Kaoni Miller, and his beloved Uncle David Gingras, William Gingras, Joseph Gingras, Aunties Theadora “Teddi” Gingras Charette, Madeline Weaselhead, and Margaret Matt Finley.
John is survived by his wife Renee Roullier-Madrigal , ex-wives Kathleen Shoemaker and Pam Popken; Children Buffy Marie Adams (Andy), Tawnie Freeman (Jerry Redding), Morgan Tucker (Lisa), and Stacey White (Brandon), Heart-daughter Delphine Bourdon (Doran Dumont), Brenda Jones; Grandchildren Melissa Gillis (Ryan Splonski), Justin Freeman (Julianna), Trinity Dodgsen, Madison Tucker, Trevor Garcia, Gaven White, and Great Grandson Riley Splonski; Brothers David (Pokey) Irvine, Mark Pluffe Jr.; Sisters Donna Balibrera, Sunshine Reyes, Debbie Harshman, Roxanne Acevedo ( Frank), Linda King (Corky Clairmont); Aunties Maria Matilda ”Chickie” Gingras Graham (Stan), Joanne Gingras Schall, Larelda Gingras; Uncles George Mitchell, Peter Mitchell (Cynthia),and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
John Madrigal’s legacy carries on in many ways. It is alive in our precious memories, in the quick wit and humor of his children, especially daughter Buffy Marie, in the work ethic passed on to all his children, and in the beautiful eyes of his daughters and his grandsons.
A testament to his love and respect, his family has been deeply touched by the overwhelming love, and nurturing from family, friends and the community. We are very grateful.
As per his wishes, and due to the Coronavirus restrictions, no wake or funeral services will be held at this time. We will hold a Celebration of John’s life at a later date. We hope loved ones and friends will attend to comfort each other and share in John’s amazing life. Be prepared to share your favorite stories! He will love this.