SPOKANE, Wash. - Mary Jane Miller, 64, died Friday, Dec. 24, 2004, at her home in Spokane.
A graveside memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 9 at St. Joseph's Cemetery in the Spokane valley.
Mary was born March 13, 1940, at Chinook to Joseph and Mary Brian. She attended various schools in Montana as her family moved around to secure employment.
She eventually moved to Portland, Ore., where she completed schooling that allowed her to obtain work in a dental office. She maintained that job until moving to Spokane.
Mary was a member of the Little Shell Tribe of the Chippewa Indians of Montana. After her move to Spokane, she became more active in the tribe's decades-long pursuit of federal recognition. She was named the tribe's Spokane-area representative and helped members with enrollment and tracing family trees along with her other tribal duties.
Mary was a take-charge woman with a heart of gold the size of Montana's Big Sky. Her door was always open to family and friends and relative strangers who needed a helping hand.
Mary was preceded in death by a son, Harold "Big Jim" Smith; parents, Joseph and Mary Brian; and brother, J.P. Brian.
Survivors include her siblings, Armeda Hoover of Missoula, Harold "Butch" Brian of Spokane and Cheryl Sherwood of Spokane; and many relatives and friends.