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Obituary - John Harry Brumley


Last updated 7/27/2020 at 8:55am

John Brumley

John Harry Brumley was born November 7, 1946, oldest son of James (Jim) and Betty Lou Cool Brumley, at the Sacred Heart Hospital in Havre, Montana. He passed away at his home in Syracuse, Utah, July 20, 2020.

It was John's wish that he be cremated and his ashes be buried next to his parents in Havre.  He requested no funeral but a memorial service will be held in Havre for family and friends.  The date for this memorial will be announced as soon as the border opens as some of John's immediate family lives  in Canada and they would like to attend. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the charity of your choice.

John graduated from Havre High School and attended the University of Calgary in Alberta, receiving Honors B.A. in archaeology in 1971 and a M.A. in archaeology in 1976.

From very early on, John showed a great interest in archaeology. At the age of 15, he brought the Wahkpa Chu'gn Buffalo Jump to the attention of the proper authorities. He continued his interest in this site all of his life writing several articles and booklets about its history. In 1994, John and his wife, Anna, took over managing the site until 2017, when they moved to Utah.

In August of 1969, John married Laurie Milne and they had two children, Mary Elizabeth and Sarah Anne. They later divorced.

After graduation, he started his own business, Ethos Consultants Ltd. in Medicine Hat, Alberta. In 1983, he married Anna Knopp Sawyer in Billings, Montana. He opened a branch office, Ethos Consultants Inc., in Havre, Montana, in 1985. John lived a large amount of his adult life in Alberta. He said he thought of Alberta as much his home as the U.S.

John has authored or co-authored over 500 published and unpublished reports. John's main interest was tipi rings and medicine wheels, on which he wrote several technical reports. John always said he was very fortunate to spend his life doing something he really loved.

He shared his enthusiasm for archeology with many in Alberta and Montana. In 1975, he was instrumental in forming the Southeastern Alberta Archaeology Society in Medicine Hat, Alberta. John shared his interest in archaeology by holding workshops and involving members in actual investigations and research. He always had time to answer questions. He was very inventive both with devising ways of making site mapping and excavations more efficient as well as developing new theories that interpreted sites to reflect early peoples actual living experiences.  He learned to fly so he could do aerial photographs of sites and then later invented the "photo boom" to take overhead photographs from the ground and SPEED, a machine to make excavating much easier.

Summertime was spent going on field trips, mapping medicine wheels and other sites, floating various rivers including the Missouri - many good memories were made.

John loved being around his five grandchildren. He also had a love of animals and the house was always filled with an assortment of dogs and cats. He helped rescue and find homes for many of them over the years.

John received many awards during his career including the 1994 Distinguished Service Award, Archaeological Society of Alberta; 2002 Montana Archaeological Society Conservation Award and the 2013 Montana Governor's Humanities Award.

John is survived by his wife, Anna; brother, Kenneth (Pam) of Virginia; daughter Sarah Anne, grandchildren, Ben, Ava, Gunnar, Sam and Baron, all of Alberta, and stepson, Flint (Cheri) Lachenmeier of Utah.

He was preceded in death by his parents and daughter Mary Elizabeth.


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