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Virginia Marie Matt Brazill
Virginia Marie Matt Brazill

ARLEE - Virginia Marie Matt Brazill was born in the Holy Family Hospital in St. Ignatius on May 20, 1941, to Steven and Adelaide Parker Matt. She died at her home near Arlee, Thursday, June 5, 2008.

On Jan. 25, 1964, Virginia married her husband Jack Brazill. They were married for 44 years and had two children, Bryan and Bradley.

Virginia was an extraordinary woman. She was the first in her family to graduate from high school. Virginia graduated salutatorian of the Arlee High School class of 1959. She received an associate's degree in medical technology from Gradwall School of Technology in St. Louis. She was also the first to graduate from college in her family. She graduated from the University of Montana with high honors. She received a bachelor's of arts degree in education and a teaching minor in Native American Studies.

Virginia was an accomplished beader and made two beautiful beaded dance outfits for herself. She beaded outfits for her sons Bryan and Bradley, sons-grandsons, Ryan and Bruce. She also made many dance outfits for her many nieces and great-nieces. She enjoyed sewing and she sewed her own clothes and sewed items for other members of the family; making many ribbon shirts and leggings.

Attending powwows was an event that she truly enjoyed. She loved to traditional dance and competed in dance competitions. Powwows gave her the opportunity to visit family and friends and make new friends. She appreciated the dance outfits of other dancers. She was a talented artist and loved to design outfits.

Virginia was an avid reader and spent many hours engaging in reading. She was a lifelong learner and was knowledgeable and aware of political issues facing the tribe and country. She kept a person enlightened about politics and was proud to be an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Virginia was a very caring and giving person. She was willing to help her family and friends in any way that she could. Her generosity and kindness is an attribute that depicts her character and it was truly appreciated.

Virginia's employment included working as medical laboratory Technician in Galen and Deer Lodge. She was employed at the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes as a community health representative. She taught Native American Studies at the Arlee Elementary School for 17 years. She retired from the teaching profession due to health reasons.

Virginia was preceded in death by her parents and her son Bradley Brazill. She is survived by her husband Jack; son Bryan (Kasie ); sons-grandchildren Ryan (Denise), Bruce (Angie); grandchildren Deneil (Browning), Sierra, Colleen, Bradley, Colt, Bryeanna, and seven great-grandchildren.

Virginia is also survived by her siblings, brothers Clark (LeeAnn), Marvin (Rita), Steve (Helen), Steven A Matt-Buffalo (Patricia), all from Arlee, and Robert Bigart (Missoula); sisters Margaret Coffey of Camas Prairie, Mary Valeria Plant, Mary Lucy Parker (Larry) of Arlee, Katherine Nick (Usk, Wash.), Charlene Petet, Genevive (Jenny) Matt, Martha Langston, Wilhemina (Willie) Wright, all of Arlee. She is also survived by her loving nieces and nephews.

The pallbearers are Ronald George Tropey III, Francis Jackson, John Francis Matt, Alex Felix, Steven Matt, and Curtis Smith.

A traditional wake will begin June 9 at the Arlee Community Center. The rosary will be Tuesday at 8 p.m. and the funeral services will begin on Wednesday at 11 a.m.

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