By Tim Leeds
A family visit ended in a tragic auto accident for a young Havre mother.
Dorothy Sanchez, 30, died on the scene after her vehicle went into a borrow pit on U.S. Highway 2 outside of Wolf Point on Tuesday.
The sport utility vehicle rolled numerous times, ejecting her, the Montana Highway Patrol said.
Sanchez went to Wolf Point to visit her aunt and uncle, Vera and Henry Iron Man. Rose Doney of Hays, her sister, said Sanchez was very active with her family and liked to visit and have lots of outings with them.
She was heavily involved in her children's lives, in school and out of it. Doney said Sanchez did a lot with her daughters, Clarissa and Roberta, in their school activities, and she volunteered at Head Start, which her son Anthony attends.
Sanchez worked at the Head Start as a kitchen assistant as well as volunteering in the classroom. Wanda Woodwick, health coordinator at Head Start, said she will be sorely missed.
"She was a very vibrant person who brought a lot of humor to the Head Start program," Woodwick said.
One day Sanchez brought Anthony in a full traditional Native American dance costume and had him dance for the class. Sanchez had been teaching him to dance. Woodwick said it was a wonderful event.
"You just can't say enough about her sense of humor and how she brightened our days," Woodwick added. "Each day she did something to make us smile."
LouAnn Raining Bird at the Clack Museum said the Havre Job Service placed Sanchez at the museum in July. Sanchez worked there two or three times a week, doing janitorial and clerical work and whatever was needed, Raining Bird said.
She said Sanchez was a wonderful worker. Raining Bird just had to give her a work schedule and the work would get done.
"She just came right in and got busy," she said. "She meant business, she wanted to work."
Raining Bird said the amount of work Sanchez did for her over the summer was amazing. She said she was fun to work with, too. Sanchez emanated an aura of fun and happiness, and had an incredibly outgoing, friendly personality, Raining Bird added.
Doney said Sanchez's sense of humor was one of her strong points, and one of the reasons she was so well-liked. It often came out at the family gatherings, such as the barbecues, Sanchez enjoyed so much.
"She was a very nice person. I really enjoyed working with her," Raining Bird said. "I will dearly miss her over here."
Sanchez made extra effort to visit her stepfather, Jim Walking Chief, who is in long-term care at Northern Montana Hospital. Doney said Sanchez liked to take him out for family gatherings. She saw him often, and made sure to visit on the holidays and other special occasions.
Doney said Sanchez enjoyed powwows. She also spent a lot of time with her adopted family, Charles and Caroline Gray Boy, in Harlem.
Her family, including stepbrothers and sisters and adopted family members, is spread throughout the state and also outside of Montana. Sanchez's mother, Ruth Walking Chief, her father, Pedro Sanchez, and Charles and Caroline Gray Boy all died before her.
Sanchez was an enrolled member of the Gros Ventre Tribe.