Robert, better known as “Chippewa Bob” passed away peacefully from this life on January 21, 2020. He was born in Medicine Lake, Montana, the eldest son of Oscar M and Doveline R (Morin) Barsness. Bob (Sonny to his family and classmates) graduated in 1950, and then attended Kinman Business University in Spokane, Washington. In March of 1951, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served until discharged as a Yeoman 2nd Class Petty Officer in March 1955. After discharge he worked one year for Shell Oil Co and then again attended Kinman Business University, graduating after one year of day school and 3 years of night school. Bob was employed by a C.P.A. firm from 1957 to 1968, Nelson Landscape Service from 1968 to 1974 and H.J. Burns Co, a sheet metal fabrication shop from 1974 until retirement in May, 1998.
His wife Midge (Brunton) Smith preceded him in death in June 2016 after 36 wonderful years of marriage. Bob was also preceded in death by his parents, sister’s Bernice and Gladys (Frost) and brother Kenneth. He is survived by his five children from a previous marriage to Shirley Doyle; Bernice (Randy), Brenda (Ted), Brian (Kathy), Brita and Bruce and his five step-children Sue (Phil), Walt, Diane (Tim), Michael (Lori) and Ken (deceased 1977). He has 19 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild! “Chippewa Bob” had lived in Spokane since June 1956, however he always considered Medicine Lake and the Medicine Lake Honkers a part of him.
In his retirement he enjoyed traveling and sightseeing, antique shopping, golf, gardening and sports. He was an avid letter writer, often contained in a great card! “Chippewa Bob” maintained his B.A in B.S. when enjoying good times with family, friends and making new acquaintances along the way!! He asked for so little and yet gave us all so much love and support. He will be greatly missed by his many family members and friends.
There will be a Celebration of Life service February 8, 2020 at 11:00 am with a reception to follow at Hennessey Funeral Home. Visitations will be Friday, February 7th from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm and Saturday February 8th at 10:00 in the Rose Chapel. Burial service will be at a later date. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to: St. Labre Indian School, PO Box 216, Ashland, MT 59003
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