Bruce A. “Buzz” Doney, 62, of Hays passed away of natural causes on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, at Indian Health Services in Fort Belknap. A viewing for family and friends will be at his home at 2 p.m. and wake services will begin at 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, 2013, at the St. Paul Mission Recreation Center, and will continue until his funeral service, which will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 20, 2013. Burial will be in the St. Paul Mission Cemetery. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with services and arrangements. You can leave your memories and/or condolences online for the family at http://www.hollandbonine.com.
Buzz was born on Oct. 16, 1950, in Fort Belknap to Bruce and Ida (Cuts The Rope) Doney. He was raised in Hays, and attended grade school at St. Paul’s Mission through the eighth grade before going to Flandreu Indian School and graduating in 1969. Shortly after, he married Pixie Snow and their union was blessed with a son. He then attended The College of Great Falls, where he was part of the Argonauts basketball team. In the early 1970s, Buzz became part of the Electric City Boxing Club, eventually becoming Tri-State Champion, State Golden Glove Champion, and Regional Golden Glove Champion. Buzz always loved boxing and was proud to find some amazing friends and mentors in the father and son team of Stan and Dean Kromarek. He fought all over the United States and Canada, establishing many great friendships and becoming part of the amateur boxing family throughout the northwest. Two of his favorite memories were of fighting in a tournament at the Las Vegas Convention Center before a huge crowd and of fighting in another tournament in Calgary during the heyday of amateur boxing.
Buzz’s first marriage, sadly, resulted in divorce, but it allowed him to find the love of his life, and he married Carol Jean Messerly in 1980. Buzz took her two children as his own, and he and Carol Jean were also blessed with a son to add to their family.
Some of Buzz’s other passions were kids, rodeo, horses, and training those horses, and he was able to combine all of those interests as part of his relationship with Carol Jean. Along with helping his daughter with her rodeo aspirations, he was a coach for several of his sons’ baseball and basketball teams, as well as coaching his sons and younger brothers in boxing. In the mid-to-late '80s he and Carol Jean created and ran the Youth Rodeo Summer Circuit. The first year the year-end prizes consisted of tack and equipment such as halters and equipment, but the kids were able to participate monthly and work toward something definite. By the third or fourth year the year-end prizes included trophy saddles in several age categories and the circuit was a popular affair for young rodeo athletes when Buzz stepped down after six years.
In 1987, Buzz obtained his bachelor’s degree from Northern Montana College, majoring in physical education and minoring in history. He began work for Fort Belkap Tribes as the Drug and Alcohol coordinator, in time moving to the Planning Department, and eventually becoming the Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO) Director. In 1997 he was named National TERO Director of the Year.
In 1999 Buzz lost his soul mate and he stepped down to spend time with his family. Two years later he moved to Lawrence, Kan ., and became a resident assistant at Haskell Indian Nations University while his youngest son attended school there. He returned to Fort Belknap four years later and once again became TERO director, which made him very happy. He loved the position, saying that it suited him and allowed him to help people.
For 20 years, Buzz worked as the tribal employment rights director for Fort Belknap, and he loved his job. In addition to work, he enjoyed playing honky-tonk music, auctioneering, watching rodeo, visiting everyone, working on cars, shopping in second hand stores, and anything to do with boxing, but his greatest joy was spending time with his family, especially all of his grandchildren who he loved with all his heart.
Buzz was preceded in death by his wife Carol Jean Doney; his parents, Bruce Melvin and Ida Mae Doney; and a grandson, baby Derek.
He is survived by his sons, Barney (Marcy) Doney of Havre, Darwin (Sarah McEwn) Doney of Michigan, and Bobby Ball of Fort Belknap; his daughter, Billie Jean Ball of Billings; 14 grandchildren; one great-grandchild; his brothers, John (Cindy) Doney, Elliott (Jean) Doney, Sam Doney; his sisters, Violet (Darryl) Crasco, Letty (Poncho) Hawley, Fluff (Duck) Horn; and numerous beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins.