June 24, 2014
Darrell “Chip” Wadena Sr., age 75, of Naytahwaush, MN, died on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at Vibra Hospital in Fargo, ND.
Darrell Eugene Wadena, son of John and Mary (Peabody) Wadena, was born on November 23, 1938, in White Earth, MN. He was raised in Naytahwaush and attended school there. Chip entered the United States Army and following his discharge, he returned to the Naytahwaush, area. On November 7, 1962, Chip was united in marriage to Bonnie Londo at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Naytahwaush. Chip worked for a time at American Crystal Sugar in East Grand Forks, and then began building bridges with Swingen Construction Company. He returned to Naytahwaush and started working with the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Construction Company and in 1974 he was elected District II Representative. In 1976, Chip successfully ran for Tribal Chairman and served the White Earth Reservation for 20 years. He began his political career at a time when there minimal tribal employees and very few available resources. He was instrumental in the development of the Shooting Star Casino, the White Earth Health Center, and a multitude of programs that are still available today. He was passionate about politics and the Native American people. Chip enjoyed traveling and building relationships with other political leaders. In his quiet time, he liked to do crossword puzzles and spend time with his grandchildren. He was also active with “The Tribe” softball team that he founded and avidly followed. Following Bonnie’s death in 2001, Chip continued living in their home near Naytahwaush. During the last several years of his retirement, Chip kept himself busy working at the Golden Eagle Bingo Hall in Mahnomen.
Chip is survived by four sons: Tony (Tammy), Darrell “Smokey” (Michelle), Shannon “Sam” (Lisa), and David, all of Naytahwaush; three daughters: Ann (Mike) Brown, Tracy Wadena, and Serena Oppegard, all of Naytahwaush; 27 grandchildren; 31 great grandchildren; two sisters, Thelma (Ron) Coleman and Mavis Bush; as well as many in-laws and extended family. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Bonnie; seven brothers; four sisters; and a granddaughter, Shep Brown.
Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, June 28, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. at St. Anne’s Catholic Church, Naytahwaush. An all night Visitation will begin at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 27 at the Naytahwaush Sports Complex, with a Prayer Service held at 7:00 p.m.
Interment will be held at St. Anne’s Catholic Cemetery, Naytahwaush.