Eugene Donald John

Born: Sat., Jan. 28, 1933
Died: Mon., Jan. 18, 2010

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Eugene Donald John Crow Leggens Aa' Thon – A resident of Pilot Rock, Oregon left us on Monday January 18, 2010, at 12:07 a.m. in Walla Walla, Washington. He was 76 years old. A Dressing Service will be held at 7:00 AM on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at the Agency Longhouse in Mission, Oregon, followed by a Washat Service. Funeral Services will be conducted at 10:00 AM Wednesday, January 20, at the Lapwai Methodist Church in Lapwai, ID. A Graveside Service will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, January 21st, at the Little Nespelem Cemetery in Nespelem, Washington. Sign the register book at Burns Mortuary of Pendleton is in charge of arrangements. Eugene was born on January 28, 1933 in Spalding, Idaho to Phillip and Elizabeth McCormack John. He was raised in the Yakima area. His paternal grandparents were Roza and Charlie Salatkeen. He had a sister Carmelita and a brother Dunbar. Eugene was an enrolled member of the Yakima Nation and the Nez Perce Tribe. Eugene was a direct descendent of Chief Joseph. He loved telling stories about his grandmother Roza, who was the niece of Chief Joseph. When he was young, Eugene lived with his father helping him with cattle in the mountains of Potato Hill within the Yakima Indian Reservation. Eugene moved to Lapwai, Idaho and attended school at Spalding, Idaho. At about age 17, he began working for Potlatch Forest Inc. at Lewiston, ID, where he worked for about a year. He joined the Army in 1951, and fought during the Korean Conflict. After serving in the military, Eugene returned home to Lapwai and had two children, Eugene Donald John Jr. and Marilee John. Eugene worked for Idaho Pine Lumber Co. at White Bird Idaho as a resaw operator for about six months in 1964. Eugene moved to Pendleton, Oregon. While living at Pendleton he worked for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation as a grounds Keeper at the Golf Course. He also taught the Nez Perce language for several years. He married Marcia Agapith on October 12, 1994 in Walla Walla, Washington. Eugene's interests included riding horses, camping, going to the mountains, cultural education and preservation, family, art, fishing, travel, and working at the golf course. He had an immense interest in Nez Perce language and enjoyed all outdoor activities, his pets Sundown and Penny. He is survived by the love of his life Marcia John, his daughter Marilee Holt, and stepson Johnnie Abbott, grandchildren, and great grandchildren Eugene was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Carmelita John, a half sister Lilly Leona Lott, son Eugene Donald John Jr. and a grandson, Douglas Holt. Eugene is survived by the love of his life Marcia, his daughter Marilee John Holt of California, a stepson John Abbott, two grand daughters and several great grandchildren.

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Belen Maria Montoya
   Posted Tue January 19, 2010
I grew up with Gene as my grandpa. He loved my grandmother, Eva Shillal-VanPelt for many years. When I came home in 1989 I brought my three children with me; Heather, Jess and Cody and he fell in love with them as well. We will all miss him very much.

Patrick Luke
   Posted Tue January 19, 2010
Enish winisha Yetimanishut, shoyapo temke Patrick Luke Thornhollow. I would like to say I really appreciate all Gene has done in his life with us while in Pendleton. I had several accounts with him ranging from asking questions of ancestry & names or places to people we both knew in commom from the river, valley, or Nespelem. I really admired his knowledge, wisdom, his funny smiles and good heartedness. I will miss seeing him at the Veterans events or when our paths in life pass one another. nye...

Micheal L Minthorn
   Posted Fri May 14, 2010
I was very saddened by the passing of Eugene. He was very friendly and we all appreciate his work as a language instructor for the CTUIR. He LOVED his work at the golf course, too! One time on a Veteran's Day at the Umatilla Vet's Memorial he was leading the Yakama Warrior's Society addressing the assembled. It was a foggy and cold day indeed. As he finished what he had to say suddenly an opening in the fog allowed a bright ray of sunlight to shine through, almost directly over Gene! He smiled, didn't miss a beat, and said, "And if I'm telling the truth the fog will open and the light will shine through!" It was like this was scheduled to happen. The crowd laughed and our somber mood was broken at the perfect moment. He was also a great storyteller of his life experiences. We will miss Gene greatly! We thank him for his teaching and his presence in our lives...

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