Newton “Josh” Bohanan Sr., 83, of Kamiah passed away peacefully Saturday, April 14, 2018, at his home surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Josh was a full-blooded Choctaw from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
He was born Aug. 19, 1934, in Eagletown, Okla., to Selin Billy. He was raised by his single mother in Panki Bok, Okla., until her death. Josh was then taken in by his uncle, who later sent him to Jones Academy, a Choctaw boarding school in Hartshorne, Okla.
Josh graduated from Jones Academy and went on to Haskell in Lawrence, Kan. After graduation from Haskell, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a mechanic and worked on airplanes. He served during the Korean conflict era, and while in the Air Force he traveled throughout Europe and Africa.
After his discharge from the Air Force, he moved to California. While living in California he met a beautiful Nez Perce woman named Marian Johnson.
In June 1959, Josh and Marian were blessed with a little baby boy named Edmond Lee Bohanan. Edmond was only here a short time before he passed from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). A year later they had their daughter, Carol, followed by another daughter, Joanne, in 1961 and a son, Newton Jr., in 1965.
Josh and Marian were married June 22, 1960, in Kamiah.
Josh and his family started off in Anaheim, Calif., then moved to San Francisco and then later San Jose, Calif. While living in the Bay Area, Josh worked for Keiser Industries as a welder. When the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) was being built, there was problem with how to run wire through the steel tracks. Josh was tasked with coming up with a design to fix the problem. Josh figured out how to get the wire through the tracks and his company was able to get the bid for the BART.
After living in the Bay Area, Josh moved his family to Kamiah. They moved to Beaverslide Road, where his kids grew up having fun, running around the hills with their Oatman cousins.
Josh worked various jobs throughout his lifetime: Bethlehem Steel, Kaiser Industries, Twin Feathers, Potlatch Mill and Kamiah Mills.
Josh was a hard worker his whole life and was a great provider for his family. He was quiet and reserved. He loved his Boston terriers, Sargent, Hovis VonBooBoo (Flip), Pepper, Tootsie, Buddy and Fritz. In Josh’s younger years, he traveled to many pow wows, stick games and longhouses. He enjoyed taking trips to Oklahoma to visit his sister, Ada Bell, and her husband, Silas Cole. When he wasn’t able to drive to Oklahoma, he would call his friends and family and converse in the Choctaw language. Josh was a fluent speaker of the Choctaw language.
He was a tough man in his early life but once his first great-grandson, William, was born, that changed him forever into the loving and caring grandpa that we all know now. “Grandpa” was dearly loved by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Josh was preceded in death by his parents, Selin Billy and Anthony Bohanan; wife of 50 years, Marian Johnson-Bohanan; son Edmond Bohanan; sister Ada Bell Cole; stepsons Wayne Pinkham and Melvin Pinkham; and his great-grandson, Sun Enick.
He is survived by his children, Carol Holt, Joanne Bohanan, Newton Bohanan Jr., Renita (Pat) Brien and Ron Pinkham; grandchildren Joel Holt, Shane Holt, Scott Holt, Ayisha (Shawn) Bohanan, Felicia (James) Kilbane, Antoinette (Matt) Picard, Robert Carbajal and Patrick Brien Jr.; and great-grandchildren Alicia Holt, William, Katelyn, Grace and Marian Kilbane, Kendrick and David Wheeler Jr., Edmond Bohanan-Wheeler, Selin Bisbee, JayD Enick and Christopher Bear Carbajal.
Cremation has taken place, and Josh will be laid to rest with his wife, Marian.
A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m., Friday at the Nez Perce Tribal Cemetery on No Kid Road in Kamiah. A dessert reception will follow at the Clearwater 12 Motel Conference Room in Kamiah.