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Michael Fitzpatrick, Jr. bowled a 300 game.

April 3, 2021
Mike, in the US Air Force. I was probably an infant when this picture was taken.

I want to share some thoughts about a Crow gentleman, Michael Fitzpatrick, Jr, a young 85-year-old with whom I enjoyed working.  His death notice appeared this week in the Gazette.  Bullis Mortuary provided an obituary on line, which I am including here.

I worked five years at Crow as a pharmacist, most of the time with Mike.  Working at Crow IHS pharmacy was no longer as much fun after Mike retired in 1995, so I returned to my job at Lame Deer, even though it meant driving 40 extra miles.

Michael had a rich sense of humor.  I wish I could share some instances here, but I don’t think I should.  I mean to assure you he was gentle, loved to tease in the Crow way.  He was always good-natured and kind.

Plus, he was laid-back and grandfatherly, and he knew how to deflect the slings and arrows of our hard-charging boss, Jim Carder.  

I was inclined to be lazy, and Carder always attacked me at annual evaluation when he criticized my inability to plan.  Because I didn’t routinely stock dozens of empty vials and lids into a drawer at the end of my shift, I got a poor grade.  I suppose I should have thought ahead, but couldn’t he have said something before evaluation time?  Sure, I should have been able to figure it out, but I was usually tired!  Also, I didn’t think it was my job.  Wasn’t I a professional?  Maybe, but not professional enough.  Because I didn’t plan. 

Enough of a rant. Back to telling about Mr. Fitzpatrick.

Mike started working as a supply/pharmacy technician in 1958, when I was nine years old.  

In those days, he said, he used to manage large post-WW II stockpiles of medicines for the Public Health Service. 

When I worked with Mike starting in 1990, he often sat in a little alcove, surrounded by the stock bottles of medicine that he made up for the nurses who worked nights and weekends on the inpatient ward of the clinic/hospital.  He kept meticulous records.

Well, if I couldn’t find a medication for a prescription, his mellow voice could be heard, “Look in the fridge!”  

If that failed, and I couldn’t find the medicine in a list, he’d say, “Look under ‘sodium.’”

He also told me about Crow cultural ways, such as language and the clan system.

He told me how one of his friends played marbles with an artificial glass eye. I later gave the friend, Robert Seestheground, a ride to Hardin, and I asked if the story was true.

It was. I asked Mr. Seestheground what happened that he lost an eye. He explained he got poked by cheat grass when he jumped off a fence. I asked him if it got infected? “Almost,” he said.

In those days we worked at the old Crow hospital, the one on the Western edge of the village of Crow Agency.  Mike retired before the new Crow/Northern Cheyenne IHS Hospital opened in 1995.

Here’s his obituary, copied verbatim:

Michael Edward Fitzpatrick, Jr., 85, passed away peacefully on March 29, 2021 at his home in Crow Agency.  He was born to Michael and Alfretta (Pretty Weasel) Fitzpatrick, Sr. on December 15, 1936 in Crow Agency.  His Indian name is Bache’xia’sash’ (Notable Man). He was a member of the Ties the Bundle Clan and a child of the Whistling Water Clan.  He was raised in Crow Agency area and spent many happy days with his grandparents Sidney and Edith Black Hair on the Black Hair Ranch. He graduated from St. Labre High School in Ashland, Montana in 1955.  While in high school, he participated in basketball.  Mike enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was a pitcher for his company baseball team and was honorably discharged. He married Minnie Little Light in 1959 and was lovingly taken into her family.  He enjoyed his brothers in law and spent many hours golfing and telling stories with them. He was the arrow throwing champion for ten years in a row. He was an excellent bowler and bowled a perfect 300 game during his bowling years.  Mike enjoyed playing horseshoes and golfing with his friends.  He was a member of the original Night Hawk Singers and enjoyed traveling with the drum group to many powwows. He had many good times taking his grandson, Eli Rock Above to powwows throughout Indian Country.  He was adopted into the Tobacco Society by Ivan and Pauline Small. Later Bill and Josephine Russell adopted Mike and Minnie as a couple into the Tobacco Society.  His adopted Tobacco Society children are the late Peter and Marella Grey Bull.  He enjoyed catfishing with his brother John and his dad, Mike.  Mike and Minnie made their home in Crow Agency where they raised their children Robert, PattiAnn, Rodney and Rex.  Mike was employed with the Indian Health Service as a pharmacy technician at the Crow – Northern Cheyenne Public Health Hospital.  He took pride in his work and retired after 35 years of service.

He was preceded in death by his wife Minnie and his parents; his brothers Sidney, Richard, John and Lansing Fitzpatrick; his sister Gail Fitzpatrick; his grandson Brendan Fitzpatrick; his special friends Mort Dreamer and his brother-in-law Bobby Little Light.

Survivors include his sons Rodney (Dora), Robert (Danelle) and Rex (Susan) Fitzpatrick and his daughter PattiAnn (Albert Stewart) Fitzpatrick. He took his nieces Carrie Old Coyote and Jordis Hugs as his own; his adopted son Ben Hudetz of Illinois; his sisters Regina Goes Ahead, Delma Yarlott , Mary Black Eagle; his brothers Clifford (Ardith) Birdinground, Dana and Larry Tobacco; his 11 grandchildren and 27 great grandchildren and 1 great great grandson; his brothers in law and good friends  Leo Hudetz and Cornelius Little Light, his life-long friends Larry (Agnes) Pretty Weasel, Sr. and John Paul Other Medicine, special neighbor and friend Robert Clarence Pickett and his golfing buddy Bud Moran; his sisters in law Lena and Ella Little Light and Janice Hudetz.   As well as his extended family including the Stewart, Pretty Weasel, Other Medicine, Pretty Paint, Shane, Doyle, Walks Over Ice, Long Ears, High Nose and the families of Edith Bird in Ground, Bernice Jefferson, Arthur Stewart Sr., Stacy Stewart, Theresa Guns Shows, Jeanette Adams, Catherine Little Light, George Little Light Sr. and Dorothy Takes Enemy. Mike was a well-known member of the community and had many friends who will miss him. His family is large and if we have forgotten you, please accept our apology in our time of grief. 

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2 Comments
  1. Blaine Ackley permalink

    Michael Fitzpatrick sounds like a really nice guy. You were lucky to have known and worked with him, Dan.
    One question I have is how did he end up with the Fitzpatrick surname?

  2. Blaine Ackley permalink

    Dan, I am sure that if you contacted him now, Jim Carder would give you an EXCELLENT evaluation.

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