KEL-KAHL-TSOOT MICHAEL JOHN CLADOOSBY, SENIOR JUGHEAD
March 24, 2021
Kel-Kahl-Tsoot was the hereditary chief of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. His great grandfather Kel-Kahl-Tsoot signed the treaty for the Swinomish tribe in 1855. After his passing the name was handed down to the late Henry Cladoosby, Mike’s uncle. After Henry’s passing in 1973 Kel-Kahl-Tsoot was handed down to Mike.
Michael John Cladoosby, Sr. entered this world on August 16, 1933, born to Ernest Cladoosby, Sr. from Swinomish and Lena Shelton Cladoosby from Tulalip. He was the 6th child born to Ernest and Lena and he brought much joy to his family. His parents ended up having three more children, having nine children total.
Mike was born during the height of the great depression when tribal members along with almost the rest of the country were experiencing great need. His family was very poor, but very rich in the old traditional ways. His early years were shaped while growing up at Tulalip. Carrying water, using an outhouse, having no electricity or many of the necessities we enjoy today was their lives, they survived through all of this despite all the hardships.
His great grandfather, Kel-Kahl-Tsoot signed the Point Elliott Treaty for the Swinomish Tribe in 1855. His grandparents Jack and Madeline also resided at Swinomish. His father Ernest became a casualty of the government’s boarding school. Starting in the late 1800’s, the government created a policy, “Kill the Indian, save the Man.” This policy created a lot of historical trauma and generational trauma, not only for Ernest, but the other 80% of Native children that were taken from their families, some for up to 12 years of their life.
Alcohol became the drug of choice for many of our elders, trying to kill the pain from the traumatic memories that were burned into their brains from the boarding school experience. This created an epidemic on our reservation of alcoholism in unprecedented rates. Mike’s family did not escape this fate.
In his early years he traveled to Swinomish with his dad Ernest to visit his uncle Henry Cladoosby and aunt Marion. During one of these visits, he caught the eye of the future love of his life. Mike met and fell in love with MaryLou Day and they were married on December 5, 1951 and remained married until 45 years later when MaryLou died of lung cancer in 1996 at the age of 60. For almost 70 years Mike resided at the family home next to the Catholic Church.
Mike and MaryLou ended up having 6 children, Mike Jr, Tony, Marvin, Brian, Marty and Michelle.
In 1971 tragedy struck the family, when at the age of 19, Mike “Ike” Jr.
This was a very devastating experience for the family.
Alcohol was part of the family and this did not help matters.
Mike and MaryLou started to consume more and more alcohol to the point where in 1976 they were both in the hospital on their death beds.
The doctor told them that if they didn’t quit, they would die within the year.
But if they quit, they may get 20 more years.
Dad and mom were graduates of Joe Dunn’s AA program.
The family was so grateful Mike and MaryLou made the decision to turn away from alcohol.
MaryLou remained alcohol free until her death, 20 years later.
Mike remained alcohol free for the rest of his 45 years of life on this earth.
Tragedy struck Mike’s family once again in 2014 with the death of his second son Marvin “Dubber” Cladoosby from an aneurism. This took a very heavy toll on Mike and this was about the time his health began to decline. Many of you know what it is like to lose a child and the pain is unbearable.
After Mike and Mary quit drinking they started going back to church up on the hill. Brother Gerald Dutton retired and Arnie Bobb took over for him. In 1978 uncle Arnie passed unexpectedly and Brother Dutton asked Mike if he would like to be the next Pastor. Mike said yes and for the next 5 years of his life he was a Pentecostal minister. People who knew Mike couldn’t believe it. There is nothing our Heavenly Father can do, even with the biggest alcoholic on Swinomish.
Mike loved traveling to Montana for camp meeting every year. This was such a great time in Mike and Mary’s life and they made many lifelong friends over the years.
Even through their tough years, they knew the importance of education and made sure all six of their children received a high school diploma or a GED. In 1977, Brian’s senior year at La Conner, Mike and MaryLou started to follow La Conner sports. This became a passion for them, following La Conner basketball and football for many years. Mike was even honored by Scott Novak with a banner above his seat where he sat every home game. It read La Conner’s greatest fan. This was truly a great honor for Mike.
Mike and Mary made many trips to Spokane to follow the LCHS Braves at the State B Basketball tournament. If you are ever over at the coliseum you will see one of Mike’s carvings in the display case. He and LaVonne presented it to ?, one of the late Landy James great friends. LaVonne, Mary and Sam were able to make many trips over to Spokane for the tournament always staying at the Shangri-La Hotel. He was so well recognized that they gave him a season pass to every game he attended. Mike had uncountable phone calls with head coach Scott Novak just to talk about the upcoming season, the current season or the next season, basketball was always on his mind.
During the 1970’s Mike decided to get into the fireworks business and opened Jughead’s Fireworks.
He would always say that the late Laura Wilbur was the one that had faith in him and backed him that first year and gave him a loan to purchase his inventory.
During the 70’s, just about every yard had a firework stand on Pioneer Parkway.
Mike’s last year selling was 2020, he was going to make sure he took care of his customers right to the end.
His stand was the last stand in the village on Pioneer Parkway.
He was already looking forward to the 2021 season.
Many of you grew up buying fireworks from Jughead, and many residents in Skagit County would always return to Jughead’s to buy fireworks.
After the Boldt decision, Mike purchased a flat bottom Douglas from Nancy Wilbur. In 1975 he allowed Dubber and Cub to take it out on the river to fish for salmon. This was the greatest teaching for his boys, to be able to hand down one of the greatest parts of our culture. He loved the water so much, during the 80’s you would always see him out at the Salmon Banks fishing sockeye on his 17-foot Boston Whaler. He never had a deckhand and he would pull his 60 deep by himself. He always looked forward to the next season, even after his stroke, he would always tell us he and Kevin, his brother-in-law, were going to go out. Just a few days before his passing he said he was going out.
Kevin and Mike were a fixture on the river.
It was so memorable for all the fisherman to be able to share sets with them.
One day when they were going out to Blake’s to launch their boat, Kevin told Mike to look at this bird, Kevin is an avid bird watcher, as Mike was driving over the North Fork bridge he turned his head to look, as he did he swerved towards the bridge and scraped it with his boat trailer, it was so funny when he told us the story.
Uncle Kevin loves his smoke and after that I started calling them Cheech and Chong.
After the season one year, Mike called up Uncle Kevin and told him he was having withdrawals because he hadn’t smelled Uncles smoke in a few days.
These two guys were brothers and they spent countless hours together in the place they loved the most, on the Magic Skagit.
One year at the towhead at Blake’s, Junior Edwards and Joe Day were giving Mike a hard time and teasing him like we usually do in a good way. Mike said to them, go head, talk all you guys want, it takes two of you guys to make one of me, he was referring to them being only half Swinomish, that was Mike’s sense of humor and always ready for a comeback.
In 1995 Mike made his way back down to Lone Tree when his son Brian bought a beach seine net. Him and the late Chet Cayou, Sr. came out of retirement to be a part of the crew. It was a great year and one for the ages and these two elders made our first experience one to remember. Mike always looked forward to humpy’s every two years, he was our greatest cook, cooking everything, salmon, flounders and even clams on the fire pit. One year he made his famous sand bread that he remembered his mom making, he heated up the rocks, added dough and covered it up, it actually turned out pretty good.
Mike loved carving. He loved cedar and turning it into art. Kevin Paul remembers when he was 9 years old and he went and visited Mike and said he wanted to learn how to carve. Mike told him you need a knife, so Kevin went and told his dad Alex, and Kevin had his first pocket knife. Mike gave him a piece of cedar and proceeded to teach Kevin how to carve. Kevin still has his first carving scar from that knife. Kevin always called Mike his first teacher.
One day they were having a meeting at the Spiritual Center and Mike was sitting out in his front yard where people passing by would see him quite a bit. During a break this lady walked by his house and saw one of his totem poles next to his porch and she asked him about it. On the top was an eagle and below that was a likeness of George Boldt with 50/50 under it and Mike told her that was in honor of George Boldt, she said George Boldt was my dad and I’m going to tell my brother about this, George Boldt Jr.
A few weeks later Mike got a knock on the door and low and behold it was George Boldt Jr. He asked Mike if he could climb up on his porch next to the totem pole and if he would be kind enough to take his picture. Theresa Trebon was told this story, looked into it, and was able to find that picture of George Boldt Jr. next to the totem pole in honor of his father George Boldt, Sr.
Mike loved to talk on the phone. He had a list over the years of everyone he called, not only on a weekly basis, but a daily basis. His favorite conversations were with his dear friend Dixie Otis. He loved his talks with her. There were many others in the La Conner community that Mike kept a close eye on through his phone conversations.
Every day Mike practiced loving, caring and sharing. His family was his greatest concern. He loved to barbeque fish, smoke fish and can fish. He taught Nina how to can fish, he taught his sons how to barbeque fish, he was the ultimate teacher.
There was nothing more special than canoe journey. Brian and Nina bought the Salmon Dancer in 2008 and dad looked forward to traveling to canoe journey. He also enjoyed our community dinners, especially the night he was honored as an Elder, he really enjoyed getting together with the community.
Right up to the last few days of his life he asked for BBQ salmon, so we prepared it for him. Salmon was so important to Mike and every gathering Mike made sure salmon was on the table and that is what he taught his family.
Mike’s prayer was that he would be able to spend one night in his new house, he said I never had a new house and he was so excited. Our Heavenly Father told us in John 14:1-3, “Let not your hearts be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go to prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there you will be also.” When we see Mike again, his house will be nothing compared to the house the Lord is building for him.
Mike’s last day on this earth he told us it was the best day he had in a long time. Thank you Lord for giving Mike this great memory on his last day on this earth.
Mike is survived by his children, Tony (Lori) Cladoosby, Brian (Nina) Cladoosby, Marty Cladoosby, Michelle (Sonny Clark) Cladoosby and Lori Cladoosby; grandchildren, Tina Rice, Lavonne & Tyler Long, Matthew Cladoosby, Jennifer Cladoosby, Jessica Cladoosby, Lena & Marcus Joe, Mary Cladoosby, Anna Cladoosby, Michael Page, Mary Lou Page, Jacob Cladoosby; Great Grandchildren: Phoenix, Jahfee, Bella & Nate Long, Joziah,Cedar, Austin, Mason, Divinity, Anthony, Issac, Johnny, Kiesha, Cordell; Great Great-grandchild Kylie Kenkens and Sister Beverly Grant.
He was preceded in death by Wife Mary Lou Cladoosby; Sons, Marvin “Dubber” Cladoosby, Mike Cladoosby Jr.; grandson Sam Cladoosby; Parents, Ernest Cladoosby Sr.
& Lena Shelton; Great Grandfather: Kel Kahl Tsoot; Grandparents, and Siblings, Floyd Cladoosby, Magdalene Monger, Ernest Cladoosby Jr., Henrietta Jack, Florence, Judy and Della Manibusan.
On behalf of your kids, grandkids and great grandkids, thank you for everything you have done for us. You loved every one of us unconditionally. You went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure your family had all their needs. We love you, we will miss you, until we meet again, rest in peace.
The funeral service will be held at the Swinomish Gym, Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 10:00AM. Following the service, there will be a graveside service at Swinomish Cemetery. Arrangements are under the care of Kern Funeral Home.