ELMO – Gloria Jean Phillips Trahan, 62, of Elmo, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, auntie and friend, passed on surrounded by her loving family and friends in her home Monday, March 15, 2010.
Gloria was born Aug. 30, 1947, to James Douglas Phillips Sr. and Mary Gravelle Phillips in Flagstone, British Columbia. She spent most of her childhood growing up in Grasmere, B.C., and later moved to the States, where she met and married Edward Couture and had two beautiful children, daughter Crystal and son Darrin.
She continued to raise her children in the States after her first marriage came to an end. She later met the “love of her life” and “best friend,” Arthur R. Trahan Sr., and had another beautiful daughter, Michelle.
Work and education took Gloria, Art and family throughout Wyoming, Washington and Montana, where they finally settled in Elmo and have lived happily since 1982.
Gloria was quick-witted, passionate and quickly made lifelong friendships everywhere she went. She enjoyed learning and sharing her knowledge and found her calling working for the People’s Center as a curatorial technician. Together with other staff and with her gift for getting people to work together, they built a museum with many exhibits and implemented many gatherings that helped educate not only her people, but anyone who took time to learn about the Kootenai, Salish and Pend D’Oreille peoples.
She enjoyed doing things like making baskets, tule tipis, sewing, baking and tending to her flower and vegetable gardens with her husband by her side. Gloria was very involved in sustaining the Kootenai language and culture. Her words of encouragement were “learn who your family is, it gives you strength.” She was proud to be a full-blooded Kootenai and was always encouraging the kids in her community to learn about their ancestors and their culture. She was “grandmom” to all the kids in her neighborhood on the hill, and will be greatly missed by all.
Gloria is survived by her husband, Art Trahan Sr; daughters, Crystal Couture Houle (Jesse) of Hiles, Wis., and Michelle Trahan and fiancé Joe Usher of Elmo; stepsons, Les Trahan (Jennifer) of Ronan, Art Trahan Jr. and Daniel Trahan of St. Ignatius, and Luke Trahan of Pablo; stepdaughters, Nicole Trahan Peasely (Mark) of Arlee and Chelsea Hewankorn of Evaro; sisters, Sadie Phillips Saloway of Elmo, Angela Gorrie Paradis (Paul) of Grasmere and Susie Gorrie-Searls of Hundred Mile House, B.C.; brother, Victor Phillips (June) of Big Sandy; grandchildren, Jesse Houle IV of Fond Du Lac, Wis., Tonya Houle of Crandon, Wis., Stephanie Cleereman of Newald, Wis., Melanie Houle of Crandon, Danny Houle of Hiles and Josie Ray Usher of Elmo; great-grandchildren, Carsyn Mayer and Reece Mayer of Crandon, Cassidy Sepneski of Green Bay, Wis., and Sydney Houle of Fond Du Lac; and numerous nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly.
Gloria was preceded in death by her parents, James Douglas Phillips Sr. and Mary Gravelle; her only son, Darrin Couture; her older sister, Sarah “Sally” Pierre; and her older brother, James Douglas Phillips “Sonny” Jr.
Gloria’s only regret is not being here to spoil all of her grandkids and great-grandkids. But if there is one thing that we will always remember Gloria for, it was her boogaloo dancing in her flashy shirts.
Gloria will be taken to the Elmo Community Center on Thursday morning. A rosary service will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 18, and she will remain there until funeral services at 11 a.m. Friday, March 19. Interment will take place at the Dayton Cemetery.
Messages of condolence may be sent to the family at groganfuneralhome.com.
The staff of Grogan Funeral Home, Polson, considers it a privilege to care for Gloria’s family.