Mary Jane (Walker) Souther, 85, of Lapwai, went dwelling to her Lord and Savior on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
She was born Could 29, 1936, to Lynus and Isabelle (Moody) Walker at their dwelling in Kamiah — the primary born to the household. She was a member of the Nez Perce Tribe and was proud to be one of many few remaining full-blood (4/4) members. She was fluent in talking the Nimiipuutimpt (Nez Perce language) and Spanish. She was honored to be chosen because the 2020 feminine Nez Perce Elder of the 12 months.
Our mother was higher recognized to everybody as Tootsie. As a baby, she attended lessons at one of many final one-room faculty homes within the Winona space earlier than persevering with her schooling at Kamiah Elementary and excessive colleges, graduating with the category of 1955. She is a 1956 graduate of Lewiston Enterprise College and a 1975 graduate of North Seattle Neighborhood School with the Neighborhood Well being Advocate Program. Later within the 1980s, she attended three years on the College of Washington earlier than transferring again to Kamiah.
She and Raymond Leroy Souther Sr. have been married Sept. 22, 1956, on the Second Indian Presbyterian Church in Kamiah. They remained in Kamiah till 1958 when the federal government relocated the household to Palo Alto, Calif., via the Indian Relocation Act of 1956. They returned to Kamiah and remained there till about 1965, after they once more have been relocated to Seattle. They remained in Seattle for just a few years, returning to Kamiah in 1972.
Our mother was an advocate for kids and elders for a lot of her grownup life. Rising up within the civil rights period, she had a ardour for combating injustices in opposition to anybody, however particularly for kids. Her civil rights ardour prolonged past america when she traveled with a bunch in 1970 to Cuba to assist with humanitarian help. She was honored to make a speech to the Castro regime, advocating for human rights.
All through her profession working for the Nez Perce Tribe, she held positions as an advocate for households and senior residents, a Neighborhood Well being Consultant, and was one of many committee members who established the kids’s dwelling in Lapwai. Because the recreation director for the Wa-a’yas Neighborhood Middle, she would stay open late into the night time for youth to have a spot to go. They’d play basketball and he or she would arrange card tables for youths to study to play pinnacle.
She was a member of the Tribal Employment Rights Fee (TERC) and served because the chairperson. She traveled all through america to different reservations to help with tribal employment rights points. Because the chairwoman for TERC, she addressed the Idaho State Legislature and the governor and was recognized by many within the political area. At Nimiipuu Well being Clinic in Lapwai, she was the advantages coordinator, aiding principally senior residents in signing up for Medicare and acquiring medical health insurance for others. After she left this place, folks would nonetheless search her recommendation and assist to acquire advantages.
Whereas in Seattle, she labored at a homeless shelter, typically cooking pots of meals to ensure everybody had one thing to eat. She was proud to be requested to hitch the Circle of Elders with the Nez Perce Tribe and served as their chairwoman. She was passionate and devoted to each place and committee she served.
She was a lifelong member of the Second Indian Presbyterian Church in Kamiah and was elected by the congregation to function a Ruling Elder. Our mother beloved the Lord, Jesus Christ, with all her being. She was one to point out true Christian like to everybody she met. Folks typically remark to us that Mother gave the most effective hugs and her smile would make them know all the things can be OK. For a few years, she served on native and nationwide Presbyterian Girls’s Committees, attended Presbytery conferences in Spokane, and was a member of the Talmaks Presbyterian Church Camp. Her work for the Lord went past committees she served, however was taken to the streets to win folks for Christ. She would cook dinner meals for the homeless, and when she delivered it, she would additionally learn scripture and preach. Her instance as a Christian girl has touched many lives.
She was preceded in dying by her dad and mom, Lynus and Isabelle Walker; brothers Jerry, John “Judd,” Larry “Bibo” and Alan “Peewee”; and grandson Franklyn Taylor. She is survived by her sisters, Connie (Steve) Evans and Chris Walker, of Lapwai, and Shirley Guzman, of Kamiah; her kids, Kathy (Phillip) Taylor, of Lapwai, Raymond “Spike” (Denise) Souther, of Kooskia, Maple (Steve) Stuivenga and Edward “EJ” (Chere) Souther, of Kamiah, and Wanda Souther, of Lapwai; son-in-laws Tim Mendenhall, of Lapwai, and Bob Kirtland, of Kamiah; grandchildren Tanya Taylor, of Toppenish, Wash.; Chantelle Souther and Jennifer (Cody) Konen, of Lewiston; Rachel Kirtland, of Spokane; Joseph Simler, of Spokane Valley, Wash.; Matthew, Aidan, and Abigail Souther, all of Kamiah; Roxanne Reed, of Lewiston; Whitney Reed, of Publish Falls; and Austin Mendenall, of Kamiah. There are lots of cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, Puux (great-grandchildren) and mates who beloved her.
Companies will probably be held at 10 a.m. as we speak on the Second Indian Presbyterian Church in Kamiah. A livestream of the providers will probably be supplied on the Nez Perce Tribe Fb web page. A personal burial will happen at a later date.
We wish to lengthen our heartfelt gratitude to the various kin and mates who reached out to us all through our mother’s sickness. And a particular thanks to the caring nurses and docs of the PCU at St. Joseph Regional Medical Middle. Our Mother, Grandma, Puuk, Auntie, Cousin, Sister is now at peace with the Lord.
Companies are underneath the course of Malcom’s Brower-Wann Funeral Dwelling. The Rev. Dr. Mary Jane Miles will officiate the service.