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Ralph "Sonny" Spears Jr.

Ralph "Sonny" Spears Jr., whose Ojibwe name is Mak-Aade Makwa, which means Black Bear, 32, of Bemidji, died Monday, Feb. 23, 2009, at the Fairview University Hospital in Minneapolis.

Traditional funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Ponemah Community Center in Ponemah. A wake will begin at 2 p.m. today at the Ponemah Community Center and continue until the time of the service. Burial will be in the Family Burial Grounds in Ponemah under the direction of the Cease Family Funeral Home of Bemidji.

The pallbearers will be Nicholas Spears, Daryl Beaulieu Jr., Sheldon Iceman, Randall White, Lindsey White, Steve Rainey and Danielson Lussier.

Honorary pallbearers will be Clinton White, Willard Kingbird Jr., Sam Kingbird, Chuck White, Elbert White Jr., David White, Perry White Jr. and Andrew Spears Sr.

He was born on Sept. 26, 1976, to Ralph Spears Sr. and Virginia (White) Spears in Bemidji. He was raised and educated in Ponemah and graduated from Red Lake High School. He attended the Red Lake Tribal College. He worked as a youth worker at the Ponemah Satellite Office, a tech at the Redby Group Home and most recently worked at the Seven Clans Casino in the surveillance department. He married Rosetta Roberts May 13, 2006, in Ponemah. He enjoyed attending and singing at powwows. He also enjoyed spending time with his family and friends and taking his children to water parks.

He is survived by his wife of Bemidji; children, Donte Spears of Bemidji, Jared Spears of Bemidji and Delaney Spears of Bemidji; brother, Nicholas (Tonya) Spears of Lawton, Okla.; sisters, Vicky (Doug) Jourdain of Red Lake and Arlene (Rob) Bedeau of Ponemah; mother and father; maternal grandmother, Audrey White of Ponemah and a special adopted aunt, Linda Zeller of Blackduck.

He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather; paternal grandparents and his father-in-law.