By Ellen Thompson/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Edward LaMere, 62, who died of hypothermia after going hunting Sunday, was a man who pursued his passions, his interest in education, his love of the guitar, and his love for his family, friends and relatives said today.
LaMere received a bachelor's degree in water management in 1999 from Montana State University-Northern.
"He decided late in life that he needed a change. Once he got started with school he seemed to enjoy it and did well," LaMere's brother Dennis LaMere said today. "He conquered two programs most Native Americans don't go into, an associate's degree in both math and science. He was doing some internship work with water resources. He got interested in that, and he decided to do water management."
LaMere had worked at the Chippewa Cree Water Quality Program since 1999.
LaMere was also known for his love of hunting. Co-worker Keith Gopher said that when LaMere was found Monday, the body of a large buck was found nearby.
"If Mike was going to go out, he would want to do it taking a buck like that," Gopher said.
Gopher said that LaMere's family was planning to have the head of the buck mounted as a memorial.
Every day during hunting season, LaMere would talk with Gopher about hunting, he said.
A quality of LaMere's that everybody said they noticed every season of the year was his love for his children.
"He was always with them, constantly, 24 hours a day," co-worker Ron Stump said. "He'd take them to the fair and stay until it closed. He really cared for his grandkids too. When we'd go travel, he would bring his kids with him."
The water resources department is considering a memorial scholarship in honor of LaMere, his co-workers said today.
Lyman Colliflower described LaMere's dedication. "He was the first one in, and the one who would lock up," Colliflower said.
"He really enjoyed sharing his knowledge about water quality with the kids in the school and the veterans. He was really good at public outreach," Colliflower added. He would "take them out to do water sampling and give them a general knowledge of basic water quality."
Dennis LaMere said his brother had been learning about his heritage over the past seven years. They were raisedin Great Falls, but would visit the reservation when they were children, Dennis said. Micheal LaMere moved to Rocky Boy 20 years ago.
"He was beginning to understand and respect our traditions. We would sit down and talk about them," Dennis LaMere said.
LaMere left his home Sunday morning to go hunting, Rocky Boy police said. Police were contacted at 2 p.m. by LaMere's family when he did not return when expected. Rocky Boy Search and Rescue began immediately to search for LaMere. His body was found Monday at 11:27 a.m. by searchers. The cause of death was determined to be accidental hypothermia, police said.