HAYS - Hazel Marie (Cuts the Rope) Doney, 79, of Hays, whose Gros Ventre name Yot-Dah-Itha means “Owl Woman,” died Monday, Jan. 30, 2006, in Billings Deaconess Hospital after a courageous battle with cancer.
A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Friday in St. Paul's Catholic Church with burial following at the Doney Family Cemetery on Owl Head Mountain. A wake will begin today at 3 p.m. at the Doney Family Home on Owl Head Mountain. A rosary will be at the John Capture Center in Hays at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Hazel was born Jan. 22, 1927, to Frank and Matilda (White Plume) Cuts the Rope in Hays. Hazel attended St. Paul's Mission School and graduated from high school there.
On Dec. 17, 1927, Hazel married George “Chinky” Doney in Hays. They had five children, and Hazel stayed home with the children until the youngest started school. She then worked as a teacher's aide and a home-school coordinator. She furthered her education at the Urban Rural Development and through the College of Great Falls, receiving her bachelor's degree in education in June 1975. Hazel taught second and third grades and multiple grade levels during her 24 years as an educator at Hays-Lodge Pole Public Schools. In 1978, she was named Indian Educator of the Year by the Fort Belknap Indian Community. She took great pride and honor in the award. She also worked as a Gros Ventre bilingual teacher at the mission grade school and Hays Head Start after her retirement. She inspired a lot of people with her courage and strength, especially the past six months of her treatment. She loved life and fought with all the dignity, faith and strength she had in her.
Hazel was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Jimmy, Andy, Frank and Clarence Cuts the Rope; sisters, Virginia Cuts the Rope, Esther Doney, Ida Doney and Theresa Werk; son, Arthur James Doney in 1989; grandson, Jason Doney; and great-granddaughter, Luci Marie Doney.
Survivors include her husband, George Doney of Hays; sons, Andrew Russell Doney of Cut Bank and Michael Dean Doney of Hays; daughters, Virginia Marie Doney of Harlem and Peggy Ann Kennedy of Fort Belknap; adopted sons, Gene Shopteese of Missoula and Raymond Gone of Harlem; sister, Cecelia DeCelles of Fort Belknap; 15 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook.