Joseph Vanderburg, 82, of Arlee passed away on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at St. Patrick Hospital of lymphoma.

Joseph was born in Arlee to Jerome and Agnes Vanderburg on February 10, 1937. Joseph lived with his family in Arlee and after finishing school would enlist in the United States Navy on January 31, 1955 and was honorably discharged from his last duty assignment on the USS Piedmont on December 5, 1957. Joseph served in the Navy Reserves until January 1963. Joseph attended Haskell Indians Nations University where he would meet his wife of 54 years, Virginia Asbill of Sallisaw, OK. Virginia invited him to a Sadie Hawkins Dance and they were inseparable for the rest of their lives, together raising their children and grandchildren. 

Joseph was a talented graphic artist and after retirement from Gateway Printing in Missoula he went to work part-time for the University of Montana, Printing and Graphics Services. In retirement Joseph became an active member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Salish Kalispel Culture Committee. Affectionately known to his grandchildren as “Papa Arlee” they all recall great stories of staying at his home on Finley Creek and how much fun he was to just hang out with.

Survivors include his daughters, Sherita, Cheryl and Vanessa; son Joe and grandchildren Brandon, Joetta, Lauren, Danielle, Ridge, Malia, Lucas, and Cody. He was blessed with a great-granddaughter in 2017 named Avayah whom he affectionately called “Ave Maria”. Other survivors include his sisters Lucy Vanderburg and Anna Bunce, and numerous nieces and nephews.

A sincere thank you to the nurses and physicians at St. Patrick Hospital, a special thank you to Dr. Jordan Guffin, Medical Student Hannah Vigna, members of the Silver Team on 4 South, and his favorite CNA, Joy. Thank you to Partners In Home Care for your care in his final days. To honor Joseph in lieu of flowers please send contributions to Salish Kalispel Culture Committee, Attn: Sadie Peone, P.O. Box 550, St. Ignatius 59865.

A reception to honor Joseph will be held on Saturday, February 1 from 2-4 at the Arlee Community Center, Arlee. Joseph’s dear friend Thompson Smith will share reflections of his wonderful life.

Reception will be Saturday, February 1 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Arlee Community Center in Arlee.

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