On Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, William Stanley “Stan” Juneau passed away at the age of 76 from COVID-19 related complications. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, a memorial will be scheduled this summer. Stan’s family is so very grateful for the awesome health care he received. Nurses, doctors, and related health care workers truly are heroes. Please thank your local health care workers for all they are doing.
Stan Juneau was born in Browning, Mont., on May 12, 1944, and walked to the other side of the South Fork Cut Bank Creek on the Juneau Ranch on Nov. 3, 2020.
Stan was most proud and happy when he and his family spent time together driving and hiking around the mountains, the many beautiful sites on the Blackfeet Reservation, and throughout Montana. Fishing the many streams and lakes on the Blackfeet Reservation, attending athletic and social events throughout Montana, as well as out of state. Giving relatives and friends a tour of the reservation, Glacier National Park, and just visiting with family and friends.
He was very successful in the education profession, in his academic pursuits, and as a leader in several different venues. He also served one term as the Vice-Chairperson for the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council. Stan often stated that he far exceeded the expectations of any middle school or high school teachers he had; as no teacher encouraged him to attend college. Stan would say he sure fooled them because he graduated from Haskell Institute with a certificate in Business Administration, Eastern Montana College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education, and The University of Montana with a Master’s Degree in School Administration. Stan also served as the Superintendent of Heart Butte Schools and Browning Schools. When Stan retired, he continued his public service and was elected to Browning’s school board where he was a fierce student advocate.
As a younger man, Stan worked as a ranch hand, a construction worker on a pipeline and tribal housing, worked at grocery stores and service stations, and spent nearly a decade as a wildland/fire fighter.
Stan always said his favorite job was being the Browning Athletic Director. He loved watching Indian athletics and was quite the basketball player himself. As the athletic director, he challenged the National High School Association Wrestling Committee’s rule about athletes’ length of hair when some of Browning’s athletes wore braids. He won this fight and provided opportunities for Native athletes to maintain their cultural identity while participating in sports.
Stan served on the Montana High School Association (MHSA) Hall of Fame Committee where he helped some of the state’s great athletes gain recognition. Stan was truly honored when he was selected by the Montana High School Association (MHSA) as the first Native administrator to receive a lifetime pass to all MHSA activities.
He also served on many national and state Indian education, humanities, and Native issues boards, and committees. Among other things, he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the National Advisory on Indian Education. He also served on the Buffalo Bill Museum Indian Board of Directors, the Haskell Board of Regents, the Montana Committee for the Humanities, the Blackfeet Community College Board of Trustees, and the National Congress of American Indians.
Stan believed in social justice, civil rights, and Native rights. He was an activist throughout his life, attending marches and protests to make positive change in government and society. He was a proud Democrat, and an original member of Team Juneau. He worked hard to get his wife Carol elected to the state legislature and his daughter elected as the State Superintendent. He attended three Democratic National Conventions and was a founding member of Big Sky 55+.
He was a good man, with a good heart, a good sense of humor, and he never had a shortage of stories to tell. He loved playing cribbage, staying caught up with people on Facebook, listening to old country music, 50s and 60s rock and roll, watching political news, almost winning the jackpot at Indian casinos, visiting people, and swapping stories.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Carol (Cross); daughter, Denise (Dayna); son, Ron (Evelyn); grandchildren, Sara, Kylee, Matthew, and Riley; and great-grandchildren, Alexander, Brynn, Izaiah, and Illiziah; brother, Sam (Melinda); beloved aunts; many cousins, nephews, and nieces. He has many close relatives and friends that he also leaves behind. Stan’s love for and pride in his family ran deep
Preceding him in death were his parents, Margie (Bird) and Edmond “Snackery;” brothers, Edmond (Sharon), Bob (Linda), Mike, Dennis (Wilma), and Wayne; sister, Jerelyn (Lyle).
If Stan were writing this obituary, he would end with the words of the legendary Willie Nelson, “Turn out the lights. The party’s over.” Stan will be missed by his family and friends.
Memorial donations may be made to the Western Native Voice COVID-19 Relief Fund at: westernnativevoice.org.
Condolences for the family may be shared online at www.OConnorFuneralHome.com.