Miskwaanakwad, Eugene Stillday, Sr.
(I am glad to be home.)
Miskwaanakwad, whose English name was Eugene Stillday, Sr., age 89, died peacefully in his sleep on December 12, 2020.
Private Services will be held on Wednesday, December 16, 2020. Miskwaanakwad will be buried with full military honors at his Family Burial Ground. Honorary pallbearers are his grandsons and nephews of Aazhooding.
Miskwaanakwad was born at home in Aazhooding (Cross Lake) on January 27, 1931 to Clarence and Sybil (Daisy) Stillday. He was raised and lived in Aazhooding most of his life. Eugene graduated with the Class of 1950 from Red Lake High School on June 2nd, and on June 3rd he reported as directed to the recruiting office in Bemidji, and entered the US Navy. He served in the Korean Conflict and was honorably discharged in 1954. He then served in the Navy Reserve and was honorably discharged in 1959. Upon returning home, he met and married the love of his life Alfreda Johnson on September 16, 1956. Together they raised six children, and were married for 60 years before Alfreda’s passing in 2016. Eugene and Alfreda moved to Lincoln, NE and then to St. Paul, MN so that Eugene could use his GI Bill Benefit to obtain a degree in Accounting. They then moved the growing family to Aberdeen, SD for his employment with the BIA Area Office. In 1963 Eugene and Alfreda moved their family home to Ponemah. Eugene worked for the Red Lake Mills as a bookkeeper, and then eventually directing the various Job Programs for the Red Lake Band for 30 years, retiring as Director of JTPA in 1997. In his retirement years Eugene worked on his passion for preserving the language of the Red Lake people, and considered it his life’s most important work. He always said “everything about us, our way of life, our history, and our future is all right there in our language.” He worked with the Language Revitalization Project, and the Language Camps held here in Aazhooding were the highlights of his summers. He also worked off and on over the past 20 years with the University of Minnesota on the Ojibwe Language Dictionary, and helped to create the voice section of the On-line Ojibwe Language Dictionary, along with other fluent speakers from Red Lake as well as the other Ojibwe Nations in the area.
Eugene is survived by his children, Tharen (Jim) Stillday-Needham of Red Lake, MN, Arlys (Roy, Sr.) Stillday-Nelson of Ponemah, Denise Stillday-Tellez of Sioux City, IA, Harlan (Lisa) Stillday of Ponemah, Michael (Barbara) Stillday of Redby, MN, Eugene Stillday, Jr. of Minnetonka, MN; Leon Kingbird of Minneapolis, MN who became part of his family; god-daughter, Susan Eichstadt of Bemidji; 17 grandchildren, Descart, Sybil, Eduardo, Stephen, Aaron, Victor, Christopher, Rosa Leigh, Whitney, Whitley, Angel and Tyler; 22 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence, Sr. and Sybil; brothers, Clarence, Jr. and George; sisters, Carmella Raincloud and Violet Patterson; grandson Travis Stillday, granddaughter, Chanelle Rosebear; neices, Tammy Jo Johnson, Sheryl, Carol and Marilyn Patterson; nephews, Daryl Raincloud and Lowell Kingbird; brothers in law, Dennis, Everett and William Johnson; and other relatives.
Messages of condolence may be sent to ceasefuneralhome.com