Claire Ann Worth, 61, passed away surrounded by family on Aug. 24, 2020, after a battle with cancer.
A graveside service was held on Saturday, Oct. 2 where Cissy was laid to rest next to her mom at Willow Creek Cemetery.
Claire was known as “Cissy” to family and friends. Cissy’s family comes from the South Side of the Blackfeet Reservation, better known as Birch Creek Tsii-koh-kii-nii-tsi-tsah-ta. She was a member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
Early in her career, she worked for the Blackfeet Tribal Health Administration under the direction of Jim Kennedy and the late Gordon Belcourt. Cissy later moved to Great Falls where she attended college and began working for Benefis Health System. While at Benefis she was instrumental in establishing the Native American Welcoming Center. The center is a comforting space where Native American patients, family and friends gather and practice traditional beliefs important to everyday life and the healing process. She reflected on how gratifying and rewarding it was to be part of a team with Tribal leaders improving Native American healthcare delivery. She loved caring for others and often said, “how you make people feel is what they remember.” Cissy thought of herself as a carpenter and enjoyed making furniture and keeping up her family’s home in Blackfoot.
She worked tirelessly as a single parent to raise her daughter with strong Native values and instilled an importance for education. Cissy’s fond memories with Rachael include doing homework together at the kitchen table, playing cribbage for dishes, celebrating the Little Shell’s federal recognition and attending her daughter’s graduation from Columbia University.
Cissy valued spending time with her mom, Betty. Her mom’s loss was extremely difficult, and she found healing through designing and making earrings using Excel. She described the process as similar to beading because the cells are linear. Her design is of a Little Shell woman wearing sunglasses, earrings, an eagle feather in her hat, and a knife on her belt. She lovingly shared her handmade earrings and frequently gave them away to new friends as gifts.
Cissy is preceded in death by her late parents, Betty Worth and Jay Worth; and brother Voris Jay Worth. Cissy is survived by her daughter Rachael (Geoff) DeMarce; siblings Ralph “Buddy” SinClair and Nakki SinClair; nieces, Shantell (Barry) Bird Rattler, Hailee Yellowkidney and Jaebeth Yellowkidney; and nephews, Garrison (Mandy) SinClair and Daniel SinClair.