“BaasThay” (Comes Over the Hill), Elder Member of the A Ahinin Nation of Fort Belknap, MT.
Born July 18, 1927 - Deceased Sept. 18, 2012
Currently Benjamin resided in Billings with his wife of 62 years Ida (Robideau) Stiffarm; he passed away at his home surrounded by his family after a long battle with leukemia. Benjamin was born in Hays on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation to the late Phoebe (Bell) and Alfonses Stiffarm. During his lifetime, Benjamin served in the U.S. Army from Aug. 16, 1945, to Jan. 22, 1947, whereby he was honorably discharged. He met and married the love of his life, Ida Della Robideau, on Oct. 31, 1951, in Butte. On Nov. 7, seven days later, they married. They have been married for 62 years. Together Ben and Ida Stiffarm made a home in Oakland, Calif., and Seattle, Wash., for over 40 years thereafter moving to Spokane, Wash., for over 10 years and returned to the Big Sky Country of Billings in 1999.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Evergreen State College in Washington State in 1978. “Grandpa Ben” as he was known to many has worked throughout the Pacific Northwest in Leadership roles promoting the rights of American Indian people, families, and communities for over 50 years. He was a founding member of the Seattle Indian Health Board, Chief Seattle Club, United Indians of All Tribes; he supported the AIM Occupation of Wounded Knee and worked with the Federal Government, State Governments, and many Tribal Nations bringing forth issues of American Indians.
Preceding Benjamin in death are his parents Alphonse and Phoebe (Bell) Stiffarm; brothers Daniel Stiffarm, Leo “Punch” Stiffarm, Peter Stiffarm, Lester Stiffarm; sisters Evelyn Stiffarm Morris, Cecilia Ann Stiffarm Kimble; daughter Pamela Rose; two sons Christopher and Steve; granddaughter Josephine Marie; and a special uncle and adopted father, the late John Stiffarm.
The wake will start on Thursday, Sept. 20, at Double Tipi at Lenore Stiffarm’s residence at Dry Lake in Hays. The Rosary at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21. Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Mission in Hays on Saturday, Sept. 21; place of interment at the Stiffarm Family Cemetery, Dry Lake in Hays.
Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.cfgbillings.com through “Our Families.”