MISSOULA Clifford Joseph “Bushy” Cole Jr., 48, died Tuesday, June 5, 2007, at St. Patrick Hospital surrounded by family.
A wake will be held at Chief Nosy Center in Lodge Pole Friday, June 8 and funeral services are Saturday, June 9 at 11 a. m. with internment at the Lodge Pole cemetery. Bush, the son of Florence “Tiny” and Clifford “Sugar” Cole, was born Oct. 17, 1958 at the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation Agency Hospital. He spent most of his younger years learning the ranching-ropes on the Cole Ranch in Hays. By age 3 Bush was riding horses, and roping anything whether it was moving or not. That began his lifelong passion for team roping. He excelled at team roping competition and made it to the Indian National Finals Rodeo in Albuquerque. As a youth he also enjoyed playing basketball. And if he wasn’t working on entry fee money he was looking to put a game together. Bush really enjoyed sharing his stats and nuances of the game with his daughter Kelly. His dad, Sugar, gave him the handle “Bush Cat”, which became “Bushy” by all who knew and loved him. Although when asked his name, he always responded, “It’s Bush-How.” He was delighted to hear his granddaughter Jasmine say, “This is my Papa Bush.” Bush’s passion was the rodeo circuit and he had many additional professions to support the western tumbleweed lifestyle endemic of the circuit. He worked as a ranch hand, broke horses, construction, paving, manager of CH Laundry, floor maintenance and was a caretaker to his brother George, to name a few. Bush had a very large extended family. He managed to give them each a unique, not always flattering, but always endearing nickname. He was very charismatic and managed to work his way into many hearts in spite of his relentless teasing. Bush was very proud of his children and grandchildren and was always ready to share a story about them. Although many tried to keep up with his nomadic lifestyle it was not until 1990 that he found his soul mate in Mona “Topo” Poitra. They enjoyed many happy and some sad times together from then on. Bush is proceeded in death by his father, Clifford Cole Sr.; his brothers, George C. Cole and Charlie M. Cole; and sons, Donald J. “Hanny” Cole and Duane P. Cole. Bush is survived by wife, Mona Cole; mother and father Florence and Bill Houchin; brothers, Terry L. Cole, Cleatus (Earline) Cole and Donnie Brockie; sisters, Michele (Ed) Adams, Christina Cole, Lisa Cole and Velores Walker; daughters, Kelly L. Cole and Ronna A. Cole; grandchildren, Jamine B. Doney and Russell Doney Jr.; as well as numerous aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.