The patriarch of our family, Kenneth Raymond Smoker Sr, Zitkana Zi “Yellow Bird”, departed this world on his 85th birthday at the Roosevelt County Medical Center on May 23, 2019 to be reunited in celebration with his beloved wife whom he missed dearly. Kenny Sr was born to Ella Alma Red Boy and Allen Smoker in a log cabin in Brockton on May 23, 1934. He spent much of his childhood spending time on each side of the reservation with his mother’s family, The Red Boy in the Brockton/Riverside Area and his father’s side in Frazer. Kenny graduated from Frazer High School where he was a celebrated athlete well known for his quickness and ball handling. In 1955 he met and married the love of his life Theresa Steele Smoker. Together they raised their four children Jeri, Kenny Jr., Karen Rose and John Rocky.
Kenny and Theresa lived in various places in the beginning of their marriage due in part to the relocation act. He worked various jobs in the San Francisco/Oakland area and Los Angeles until returning home to attend college for Automotive at MSU Northern. Kenny was well known throughout campus at MSU Northern for his athletic prowess on the basketball court, his aptitude with vehicles and his discounted haircuts he provided to the men at their apartment. Upon completion of his degree he moved the family back to Theresa’s hometown of Poplar where he raised his family and lived until his death. He served many years for the BIA Roads Department and was proud of the work he did and the original Road Crew comprised of Arlie Diserly, Fred Steele, Ervin Four Bear, Virgil Four Bear, Shaw Grey Bull. In his free time Kenny enjoyed hunting, fishing, cruising to Frazer and back, family get togethers and attending Poplar Indians basketball games spanning the decades since the 70s to support his children, grandchildren and up until this last year as he travelled across the state of Montana to watch his youngest grandson Kenneth Michael lead the Poplar Indians to the State Tournament after a 34 year hiatus.
Kenny loved his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and was never shy to brag them up or celebrate their achievements and milestones. He had a forgiving heart and truly loved his family unconditionally. He taught life lessons of patience, intuition and diligence by teaching the young men in the family how to fix vehicles in his driveway. He was passionate about the traditional way of life in which he was raised and loved telling stories about the old days. He enjoyed checking up on his family by cruising by their homes on his daily cruise routes. But most importantly he loved his Theresa. Their love, commitment and resiliency was a testament to his family to find a lasting love .
Kenny is preceded in death by his wife, Theresa; children John Rocky and Karen Rose; parents Alma Red Boy Smoker and Allen Smoker; great-grandchildren Zayden Good Bird and Sage Allen Smoker; Siblings Allen “Sonny” Smoker, Pauline Red Boy, Vera Iron Man, Bernice BigLeggins Turn Toes, Yvonne Smoker, Adeline Smoker and Shirley Smoker; Sibling In Laws Fred, Dorrance, Lonnie, Carlene, Trivian, Marlene and Mary Rose; Son in Law Roger Frislie; and numerous extended family members and close friends.
He is survived by his children Kenny (Alice) Smoker and Jeri Frislie; Grandchildren Mike (Monette) Bashay, Yvonne (Richard) Wieser, Emery Good Bird III, John Smoker Sr., Terry Boyd, Whitney (Travis) Herrick, Griffin (Adriann) Ricker, Scott (Lori) Smoker, Brian Boyd, Steve (Clarice) Smoker, Christian (Jarrett) Curtis, and Kenneth Michael Smoker; Great Grandchildren Bailey, McKiah, Monette, Sam, Kaylie, Sophie, Tre, Blake, Trent, Carlo, Dominique, Marques, Jarvis, John Rocky, Zamariah, Tressie, Aniya, Izaiahs, John Jr., Lucas, Kyan, Isabelle, Elizabeth, Kyrie, SaMeria, Zarrah, Babygirl Herrick, Kaniel, Grady, Zael, Stephen, Leah, Shiloh, Samson, Mahki, James and Eli. Special Honorary Pallbearers, Scott Smoker, Kenny Michael Smoker, Brian Boyd, Mike Lafloe, Nick Hagadone, Lowell Standing, Manny Granbois, Rob Blount, George Blount, Larry Burshia, Dale DeCoteau, and Arlie Diserly.
Extended families include descendants of the Bad Temper Bear, The Man, Smoker, Red Boy, and Shields family. Kenny was well known and had a large family so we apologize for those we did not mention.
A funeral will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at Poplar Cultural Center. Interment will follow at the Poplar City Cemetery. Clayton Stevenson Memorial Chapel of Wolf Point has been entrusted with the arrangements.