Mary Sharon Lee Arthur

Mary Sharon Lee Arthur, went to be with her ancestors on November 14, 2023. She passed away at her home surrounded by family. She was born February 26, 1949 to Joshua Benjamin Arthur and Rosaline Hazel Hayes Arthur in Lapwai, Idaho. Mary was an enrolled member of the Nez Perce Tribe and a direct descendent of Chief Whitebird of Lamtaama Band. Mary’s paternal great-grandfather, Mark Arthur, was a survivor of the Nez Perce War of 1877. He escaped to Canada to join Sitting Bull of the Lakota. As a child, Mark walked over the Bitterroot Mountains to make his way back to Kamiah. Mary’s maternal great-grandfather, Ralph Armstrong, was orphaned as a child and captured with Chief Joseph. Ralph was sent with Chief Joseph to Oklahoma and then to Nespelem, Washington. Mary’s great-great grandfathers Whitebull and Swan Necklace were warriors who fought in the War of 1877.

Mary lived in Lapwai most of her life with her twelve siblings. Her fondest memories growing up were staying with her grandmother Lucy at the ranch in Garden Gulch; playing softball for her uncle and aunt Bill and Geneva Stevens; and staying with her cousins and traveling all over the Northwest playing softball. When she was young she was raised by her uncle Russ and aunt Juanita Spencer. Later in life, she went to Santa Fe to finish school at the Institute of American Indian Arts. While there she met Spencer Lee Twohatchet Jr. After she graduated they moved to his home State of Ok., on the Kiowa Indian Reservation where they were married at Hog Creek in 1967. Starting a family, they moved back to Idaho. Later Spencer and Mary divorced. She continued to reside in Lapwai, Id., and raise their children.

Mary worked multiple occupations in her lifetime: Turkey Plant Clinton, Ok.; Cassette Tape Factory Oklahoma City, Ok.; Pineewaus Café Lapwai, Id.; Potlach Mill Lewiston, Id.; Fire Lookout Tower Payette National Forest Service, Id.; worked at P.K.’s for her friends Jack and Sandy Seeley Lapwai, Id.; Clearwater River Casino Lewiston, Id., as a shuttle driver and then surveillance officer until she retired in 2010.

Mary was taught by her oldest sister Helene to beadwork. People treasured Mary’s many beaded barrettes, beaded rose handbags, and wall hangings. She was known for her excellent bread-making skills, yeast rolls, and fry bread. She would help out in the community by providing bread at events and services. She was a strong believer in the Nimiipuu religion, Waaluset. She said she enjoyed hearing her grandfather Sam sing and drum, and watching her grandma Lucy dance. Mary loved spending time with family at various places and gatherings: Arthur’s Fireworks, Mud Springs, family barbeques, and stickgames. She was a huge Gonzaga Bulldogs and Chicago Cubs fan. She especially enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a protective woman who loved her entire family and always enjoyed the company of all her nieces and nephews, who meant the world to her.

Mary Sharon Lee is survived by her siblings: Benjamin Arthur (Constance †), Marcus Arthur, Patricia Arthur, Elizabeth Attao (Vincent †), Ralph Arthur (Linda), and Virginia Dick (Tony). Mary’s surviving children: Hazel Ruby Twohatchet (Tote Lopez), Peggy Vanwoerkom (John), and Keith Twohatchet. Mary’s twelve grandchildren: Felicia Twohatchet (Alex Meninick), Steven Lopez, Denise Lopez, George Lopez (Taila Bybee), James Peterson, Shantel Peterson, Ava Vanwoerkom (Jon Taisacan), Sonia Vanwoerkom, Timothy Vanwoerkom, Jonathan Vanwoerkom, Clifton Twohatchett II, Michael Twohatchet (Taneesha Ellenwood). Mary is survived by nine great grandkids: Elissa, Leo, Adrian, Alanzo, Arianna, Abriella ‘Abbi’, Matteo, Anthonie ‘Tony’, and Karen.

Those who passed and are waiting to welcome Mary. Parents: Josh Arthur and Hazel Hayes Arthur. Grandparents: Daniel Arthur and Rachel Penney Arthur; Sam Hayes, Lucy Armstrong, and Dave Isaac. Children: Clifton Lee Twohatchet I and James Benjamin Twohatchet. Siblings: James ‘Jimmy’ Arthur, Veronica ‘Boga’ Bulltail, Helene Sisson, Webster ‘Webby’ Arthur, Joanne ‘Jo’ Arthur. Brothers-in-law: Vic Sisson and Vincent ‘Ben’ Attao. Sister-in-law Constance ‘Connie’ Arthur. Aunts: Juanita Spencer, Loretta Antell, Trudy Aylor, Nickie Bone, Frances Paisano, Marie Allman. Uncles: Marcus Arthur, Daniel Arthur Jr., Dale Antell, Ferris Paisano Sr., William Allman Sr., Perry Isaac. Nephews: Guy Bulltail, Gerry Arthur, TJ Arthur, Tony ‘Bosco’ Arthur. Nieces: Brenda Arthur, Kim Arthur. Grandson: Robert ‘Fab’ Hugs. Granddaughter: Rosario Attao-Greene.

Services will be on Friday, November 17. Dressing and private family viewing in the morning (Vassar-Rawls). 1:00 PM general and simple services at the Pineewaus Community Building in Lapwai, Id., with 7 drum singing. Funeral dinner to follow services. Mary will be cremated so there is no burial.

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