Newton “Josh” Bohanan Sr. 83, of Kamiah passed away peacefully at his home Saturday, April 14, 2018, surrounded by his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Josh was a full-blooded Choctaw from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
He was born on 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, Josh 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 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 on June 22, 1960 in Kamiah.
Josh and his family started off in Anaheim, Calif. then moved to San Francisco and then later San Jose. 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 a 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 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, Potlach 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 powwows, stickgames, and long houses. 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.
The last of his years were spent at the Lewiston Life Care Center; there he made many friends with the other residents, nurses, aides, and their families. He could be found sitting at the puzzle table or watching Gonzaga men’s basketball in his room.
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 is 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, step sons Wayne Pinkham and Melvin Pinkham, and his great-grandson Sun Enick.
Josh is survived by his children Carol Holt, Joanne Bohanan, and 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, Patrick Brien Jr.; great-grandchildren Alicia Holt, William, Katelyn, Grace and Marian Kilbane, Kendrick and David Wheeler Jr., Edmond BohananWheeler, 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 on Friday, April 20 at 11 a.m. at the Nez Perce Tribal Cemetery on No Kid Road in Kamiah. A dessert reception will follow at the Clearwater 12 Motel Conference Room.