April 18, 1930 – July 18, 2012
Louella Regina Friedlander was born to Sammuel George Friedlander and Margaret Lavallee Bonamache Friedlander on April 18, 1930, in Worley, Idaho. She was the sixth of 12 children. She attended the Mission at Desmet, Idaho, beginning when she was four years old. She grew up on the family lands on the Couer d’alene reservation. She was always proud of both her Couer d’Alene and Colville heritage.
As a young woman she lived and worked in the Yakima Valley where her first four children were born: Michael Jr,, Jesse Felix Sr., Margaret Alodia and Marcella Isabel. Later she lived for a brief period on the Colville Reservation, where she welcomed her next two daughters Colleen Evelyn and Suzi. She moved to Spokane, Wash., where she met and married Ken Gourneau; their union brought to the family Patrick Alec Sr., Kenny Jr., Rene, Alene Gladys and Spokane Garry “Chief”. She loved each of her children very much and had a special unique relationship with each of them.
Louella returned to the homeland of her father and settled in the Old HUDs in Nespelem. She loved living here in Nespelem, she was very active in the Senior Meal site, serving as the secretary for many years. She was the organizer and scheduler for many of their Senior trips to various reservations. She would book rooms early in advance to be certain that they would get the best and closest to the event. Coordination of several seniors for room sharing, she earned a few extra feathers in her wings for that. Even when her health was failing the council members and seniors relied upon her expertise in travel arranging for the trip to the National Indian Council on Aging meetings.
In addition she was a foster grandparent for many years. Many of the years she did this in the Nespelem School. She took this role very seriously, always seeking learning tools to bring back to the classrooms to help the children. She also was a key contributor to the cultural education that took place in the school. Sewing and teaching the students to sew moccasins, fringe shawls, bead and most of all, listen. From Nespelem School she went to the Headstart Program. There everyone knew her as YaYa; she would begin in the fall to prepare the students and staff for the culminating activities in the spring of the root feast and graduation pow-wow. The staff knew she would begin reminding them early in the year, like October to get the supplies ordered. She believed in always being ready. If something was to be occurring in April, you can bet she had a task list to get it done so you are ready in March.
With so many young children and the desire for them to participate in the pow-wow, she learned quickly how expensive it was. She sought out her elders and learned how to bead. Two of her teachers were her aunt Tillie Nomee and Ella McCarty and once she had this down, her creativity was cut loose.
She shared her knowledge by teaching beading and sewing to inmates in Walla Walla. And by helping homeless people build their self esteem when they would finish their projects.
She created numerous beautiful beaded outfits for her children and grandchildren. One of the most wonderful things she loved was to see her grandchildren dancing. She traveled throughout the United States and Canada to many pow-wows, she preferred to be the chair watcher during supper breaks. She made tremendous friends in her travels and had remained in touch with them throughout her entire life. Louella was a devout Catholic, and spent many years traveling with her good buddy Sis Clark to the Keteri Tekawitha Conferences all across the country.
BINGO !!!!!! was another passion of hers. She would spend countless hours in the car driving back and forth from Nespelem to Omak and Worley to play. Many of these were with her number one niece Lucetta Desautel.
As her health began to decline, her spirits did not decline. She continued to remain as active as her health would allow. She deeply appreciated all the loving care she received from the clinic in Nespelem, especially Dr. Hall. And then, as she had to have more frequent stays at the hospital, she formed close friendships with the nurses and nurses’ aids there. Always asking about their families and wishing them the best. She would often say she was sorry for being a burden, and everyone who heard this would tell her that she was not a burden and that they loved her.
She was an elder who was a quiet presence during the hearings to secure our fishing rights at Wenatchee at the Icicle River, and she was so proud of her grandchildren who would exercise this right.
She loved her family and the community. And, we, her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren know you too loved her.
She was preceded in death by her parents Sam and Maggie Friedlander, brothers, Vicky, John Samuels, David F., Clarence David; sisters; Evelyn SiJohn, Sissy Lozeau, Gladys LaSarte, Shirley Palmer and Violet Abrahamson. Her sons Michael Madera Jr, Jesse Felix Madera Sr., Patrick Sr., Kenny Jr. and Spokane Garry “Chief” and grandson Patrick Jr.
She is survived by her five daughters: Margaret, Marcella, Colleen, Suzi and Alene. Three wonderful sons-in-law: Gary Adolph, Rodney Cawston and Michael Clayton; 17 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren; two sisters Stella Thompson and Gigi Friedlander and one brother Lenny Friedlander (Diane). Many nieces, nephews and cousins.