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Tuesday, February 16, 1999 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Henry Sijohn, Coeur D'alene Leader

The AP

DeSMET, Idaho - Some 300 people gathered for the funeral of Henry SiJohn, a Coeur d'Alene tribal leader, music teacher and World War II veteran.

The crowd that gathered over the weekend at the DeSmet Community Center included family members, artists, police officers, scientists, and state and federal officials.

"Our prayer for him is a happy journey, and his prayer for us is a happy journey together in the place he loved," said the Rev. Thomas Connolly, who officiated.

Mr. SiJohn, a devout Catholic, took over as the tribe's vice chairman after the death of Lawrence Aripa in October.

Mr. SiJohn, 81, was found dead at his home Feb. 9. Tribal representatives and police have not released the cause of death.

At the funeral, the Gonzaga University Men's Glee Club performed traditional Indian music that Mr. SiJohn had arranged for the Jesuit-affiliated school's choir nearly 50 years ago.

Mr. SiJohn left the Coeur d'Alene tribe's North Idaho reservation to become a member of the Army Air Corps in World War II. He later received degrees from Gonzaga and the University of Idaho, and taught music on the reservation.

In the 1980s and `90s, he led the charge for medical care, environmental protection and other improvements for his people and his homeland.

Copyright (c) 1999 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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