ROCKY BOY Gilbert Belgarde, 71, died Monday, Aug. 7, 2006, at Northern Montana Hospital of natural causes.
His wake service will began Monday at 4 p. m. at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church at Rocky Boy and his funeral was to begin at 11 a.m. today at the church. Burial will follow at the Rocky Boy Cemetery. Gilbert was born May 3, 1935, to Elizabeth Denny Belgarde and the late Jack Gopher. He was adopted by his stepfather, Louis “Happy Jack” Belgarde. Gilbert was raised by his late grandparents Alex Denny and Louisa Gardipee Denny. Gilbert attended school in Rocky Boy and joined the Army when he was 17 years old. He was stationed in Germany, Seattle and California for six years. He was honorably discharged from the Army. Gilbert then met his wife, Darlene Arkinson Belgarde, and they were married in 1967 in Las Vegas, Nev. Gilbert moved his family to Anaconda and was employed by the Anaconda Company for five years. When that was closed, he moved home to raise his family. He was employed by the Chippewa Cree Tribe as the alcoholism director for many years. He also was the ANA coordinator. He edited the tribe’s first newspaper and later started his own paper, The People’s Voice. Gilbert did a number of things for the tribe. He was on the Radio KOJM on Sundays and also was on the KFBB televison show “Indian Country.” Gilbert graduated from Montana State University- Northern with his degree in interdiciplinary studies. Gilbert’s largest accomplishment was being elected chief judge. He served as the chief judge of Rocky Boy’s Reservation for three terms. He stepped down when the Chippewa Cree Tribal Council decided to appoint its own judges. Gilbert traveled to Washington, D.C., many times, some for travel for the tribe and other times for fighting for the tribal members’ Constitutional rights. Gilbert never backed down from a good legal battle. He was always willing to do what he could to help others with legal issues. He always was full of life and humor. He had a very big heart and would give anybody his last dollar. He enjoyed playing machines and socializing.
Gilbert was preceded in death by his grandparents; biological father, Jack Gopher; adopted father, Louis Belgarde; and daughter, Yvette Belgarde in 1975. Survivors include his wife, Darlene Belgarde of Rocky Boy; children, Juanita Belgarde of Great Falls, Lavidia (Guy Ford) Belgarde of Spokane, Wash., Joseph (Debbie) Arkinson of Rocky Boy, Jewel (Thomas) Deschamps-Gopher of Great Falls, Gilberta (Scott Bradley) Belgarde of Havre, Lana (Willy) Saddler of Box Elder, Lawanna (Jeremy) Herron of Box Elder, Veronica Belgarde of Havre, Alex (Jayme) Belgarde of Rocky Boy, Billy Jean (Randy Chandler) Louie of Rocky Boy and Michael Belgarde of Box Elder; sister, Sylvia Russette of Rocky Boy; adopted brother, Vernon The Boy of Rocky Boy; 34 grandchildren; and four greatgrandchildren. Services and arrangements have been entrusted to Holland & Bonine Funeral Home.