Marcella R. White 84, White Shield, beloved mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend, passed into the spirit world on Jan. 9, 2014, at St. Alexius Hospital, Bismarck, N.D.
Marcella was born on Nov. 14, 1929, in Elbowoods, N.D., to William J. Deane Jr. and Leona (Yellowbird) Deane. She was given the name "Cedar" by her grandmother Nora. Marcella was raised in Elbowoods, attending schools in Elbowoods and Marty Indian School, Marty, S.D. She grew up on her parents' ranch, assisting in raising cattle and horses, and was a skilled horsewoman who loved to ride, round up and worked right along with her brothers and dad.
Marcella was united in marriage to Eugene White Jr., in Los Angeles, Calif., in April 1955. They returned to Fort Berthold to make a home and start their family in 1960 in rural White Shield. Together with her husband they raised eight children, and at the time of her death made her home at "War Coulee" near White Shield. She was as longtime parishioner of Sacred Heart Catholic Church of White Shield and was devoted to her Christian faith. Marcella was a "Lifetime" member of the Joseph Young Hawk/Elmer Bear Post 253 American Legion Auxiliary of White Shield.
She was a dedicated homemaker, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to all of her family and worked for the White Shield School for many years as a cook. She and her late husband, Gene, made welcome extra guests and made sure there was plenty of food on the table for everyone. Marcella was an excellent seamstress who loved to sew for her family; from patching jeans, making dolls from socks, sewing dresses for her young daughters, making and fringing native shawls and traditional block quilts.
Living off the land she raised large gardens of corn, squash, and potatoes with her children and taught many the art of canning, from making bull berry syrup to pickled beets. She loved embroidery and embroidered dish towels, pillow cases, aprons, and gift bags and sold many of her items recently at local craft shows.
One of her favorite pastimes was doing word puzzles and playing bingo, whether it was traveling to Minot or to local fundraisers. She was the champion raffle salesperson; assisting with benefits to support NIEA, high school events, pow-wows and churches for all her children and grandchildren. She loved going to craft shows, flea markets and rummage sales; always and forever buying and giving to family members and friends whatever she bought.
Marcella was a dedicated and No. 1 fan to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to support them in basketball, track, cross-country, rodeo, and volleyball. She traveled many, many miles always wanting to be there; cheering for them in the stands, and could often be seen at the finish line of many races. She not only supported sports, but also the births of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren; wanting to be present to witness their birth and nurture with love. She was our "baby" whisperer, with her ability to console any baby and rock them to sleep.
She loved music and in her early years grew up with a guitar, strumming tunes from time to time to old favorites of Kitty Wells, Patsy Cline, and Tammy Wynette; she also enjoyed gospel, bluegrass, country and traditional Arikara songs. She loved to travel whenever she got the chance; she made trips within the U.S. and as far as Paris, France, for their son's performance with Disney's Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. She attended and volunteered at many National Indian Education Conferences, American Legion and Ladies Auxiliary events, MHA elder events, Fort Berthold Catholic Congress' and pow-wows as part of her native Arikara (Sahnish) culture that she was proud of.
Marcella is survived by: six daughters, Marilyn Charging, Vermillion, S.D., Leone White, of White Shield, Delores White, of White Shield, Cheryl Marie Bruce (Speedy), of Parshall, N.D., Danile J.W. Henry (Frank), White Shield, Yvonne White Bear (Dorven Sr.), White Shield; and two sons, Eugene White III and Bernard White (Amy), both of White Shield; two sisters, Delores Wilkinson (Howard), White Shield, and Kathy Real Bird, of Crow Agency, Mont.; and sister-in-law, Betty Deane, Bismarck; 18 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Eugene White Jr.; her parents, William Jr. and Leona Deane; four brothers, Kenneth, Victor, Joseph and Gerald Deane; one sister, Marie (Deane) Wells; daughter, Connie Deane; Aunt Cecelia Brown and great-grandchild, Lauren Charles Dulin.
Wake services: Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, at 5 p.m., at Ralph Wells Memorial Complex, White Shield.
Mass of Christian Burial: Monday, Jan. 13, at 10 a.m., at Ralph Wells Memorial Complex, White Shield.
Interment: Nishu Cemetery, rural White Shield.
Funeral arrangements by Thompson Funeral Home, Garrison, N.D.