Dale Jones (center) is comforted as his brother, Stan Jones Sr., is buried at Mission Beach Cemetery on Tuesday on Tulalip Indian Reservation. Jones, 93, was the Tulalip Tribes longest serving board member and chairman. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Dale Jones (center) is comforted as his brother, Stan Jones Sr., is buried at Mission Beach Cemetery on Tuesday on Tulalip Indian Reservation. Jones, 93, was the Tulalip Tribes longest serving board member and chairman. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Mourners turn out for Stan Jones, ‘the chief of chiefs’

The memorial for the longtime Tulalip tribal chairman brought tears and laughter — and lots of respect.

TULALIP — It was a fitting tribute for the man known as the noble warrior who somehow managed to speak at his own funeral.

Hundreds of people filled the Orca Ballroom at Tulalip Resort Casino Tuesday to pay respects to Stan Jones.

They came from Tulalip, other Northwest reservations and distant states.

“This is our modern-day Geronimo, our Chief Joseph, this is our chief … our chief of chiefs,” said Ernie Stevens Jr., a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and chairman of the 184-tribe National Indian Gaming Association in Washington, D.C.

Stevens, an understudy of Jones, was among the speakers at the four-hour ceremony honoring the legacy of “Scho-Hallem,” meaning No. 1 Warrior.

Stanley Gale Jones Sr. died Nov. 5 with family by his side. He was 93.

Jones was tribal chairman for more than half of the 44 years he served on the tribal board of directors. Today, his daughter Teri Gobin is chairwoman of the tribal board.

The tribal funeral, which started Monday, had many elements of the Coast Salish tradition. People wore cedar. There were singers and drummers. At the door, guests were given armbands with a photo of Jones and his Indian name. Packets of tissues were also handed out.

Mel Sheldon talks at the memorial for Tulalip Tribes longest serving board member and chairman Stan Jones Sr. on Tuesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Mel Sheldon talks at the memorial for Tulalip Tribes longest serving board member and chairman Stan Jones Sr. on Tuesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

It was standing room only in the ballroom with seating for 1,000. More chairs were brought in. A room across the hall was set up for the overflow of the mostly Native American gathering.

Stan Jones bridged cultures and generations while helping lead the Tulalip Tribes from poverty to prosperity.

“Stan was a restless force throughout the years, willing to lead the way and a bold course forward,” Gov. Jay Inslee said, in a statement that was read at Tuesday’s service.

Speakers included Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers and state Sen. John McCoy, who praised Jones for shaping them into the leaders they are today.

“He was a warrior, but he didn’t like to fight just to fight,” Somers said. “He fought for justice and what was right.”

Somers noted Jones’ impact in fishing and environmental rights and in protecting the salmon.

Tribal members remembered Stan Jones Sr. with drumming and stories of his legacy at a memorial in the Orca Ballroom at the Tulalip Casino Resort Tuesday. Jones, 93, died Nov. 5. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Tribal members remembered Stan Jones Sr. with drumming and stories of his legacy at a memorial in the Orca Ballroom at the Tulalip Casino Resort Tuesday. Jones, 93, died Nov. 5. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Others noted the leader’s bushy sideburns bore resemblance to a king cut from a different mold.

Ray Fryberg Sr. recalled a visiting comedian saying, “He is living proof that Elvis faked his death and is alive and well at Tulalip.”

After the speeches, a slideshow played photos of Jones. In one, he stood side by side with President Bill Clinton. In another, he’s beside Sen. John McCain. There, too, were images of his face Photoshopped onto Conan the Barbarian’s body. In the background, Elvis Presley’s voice crooned “My Way.”

Then, in a short clip, Jones himself spoke.

“I have to take care of you guys, because you don’t do anything,” he said, pointing his finger at the camera. “I have to do it all!”

Laughter erupted from the crowd.

His granddaughter, Teresa Jira, recalled Jones’ final days. “All he wanted was to talk about Tulalip,” she said.

He asked questions about how people on the reservation were doing. She would tell him the amount of money people made per capita, which seemed to calm him and make him happy.

“The last thing that he said, twice, was, ‘They have to stay together. They have to stay together,’” Jira said. “And that’s what we have to do as a tribe, is stay together.”

Jones touched the lives of many of those attending.

“He supported education 100 percent and I benefited from those policies that he put into place. I went on to get my B.A. degree,” said Misty Napeahi, treasurer on the tribal board of directors.

Charles Jones described his uncle “as the most powerful person I ever knew.”

“He taught me that everywhere you go you don’t just represent your family, you represent your tribe,” he said. “His presence consumed every room he entered. Politicians, whether governors or state officials, would look at him with their eyes as big as saucers.”

Family and friends sprinkle dirt over the casket of Stan Jones Sr. on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. Jones, 93, the Tulalip Tribes longest serving board member and chairman died Nov. 5. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Family and friends sprinkle dirt over the casket of Stan Jones Sr. on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. Jones, 93, the Tulalip Tribes longest serving board member and chairman died Nov. 5. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Several hundred people joined the motorcade from the ballroom to the burial.

It took a van and box truck to transport the dozens of floral arrangements to Mission Beach Cemetery.

Under gray skies, Jones’ final sendoff was with military and tribal honors for the U.S. Marine Corps veteran of World War II.

Drumming and singing accompanied the lowering of his casket. Mourners paid their last respects, gently sprinkling handfuls of dirt.

He was buried next to his son, Stanley “Sonny” Jones Jr., who died in 1996.

“He is going to be missed, but he did a lot for us,” said Dean Ledford, a Tulalip honor guard member. “We got a lot of good people following in his footsteps.”

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Granite Falls ‘10-foot alligator’ is actually a tegu named ‘Tazz’

Anybody who spots the docile lizard, last seen near Granite Falls, is asked to notify 911, so Tazz can be reunited with owner.

Photos by Olivia Vanni / The Herald
Gabby Bullock sits on her bed in a room she shares with another housemate on June 14 in Everett.
‘We don’t have openings’: SnoCo recovery houses struggle with demand

Advocates say the homes are critical for addiction recovery. But home prices make starting a sober living house difficult.

Melinda Grenier serves patrons at her coffee truck called Hay Girl Coffee during the third annual Arlington Pride event in Arlington, Washington on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Food safety team defends its work: it’s a ‘high pressure, thankless’ job

Management tried to set the record straight about long permit delays in Snohomish County.

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Global tech outage leaves a mark on Snohomish County

The CrowdStrike software update hit some systems at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and briefly disrupted 911 operations.

Performers joust during the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire at Sky Meadows Park in Snohomish, Washington, on Sunday, Aug. 06, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Royalty and revelry: The spirit of the Renaissance comes to Monroe

The annual Renaissance fair will open its doors every weekend from July 20 to Aug. 18

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.