Michael "Buggs" J. Thompson, Jr., "Toka Sunka Wakan Manun" (Steals Enemy Horses), 65, of rural St. Michael, N.D., passed away Thursday, January 3, 2013 at Altru Hospital, Grand Forks, N.D. after a courageous battle against cancer.

Michael "Buggs" J. Thompson, Jr., "Toka Sunka Wakan Manun" (Steals Enemy Horses), 65, of rural St. Michael, N.D., passed away Thursday, January 3, 2013 at Altru Hospital, Grand Forks, N.D. after a courageous battle against cancer.

The Wake for Buggs will be held on Tuesday, January 8,  at the St. Michael Recreation Center beginning at 4 p.m. with a prayer service at 8 p.m.  The procession will leave on Tuesday at 3 p.m. from the Wal-Mart parking lot.  The family of Buggs will lead the procession to the St. Michael Recreation Center and will continue on to his home where he will be placed in his horse wagon and carried to the  center. 

All horse riders are invited to follow along and ride.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, January 9 at 10 a.m. at the St. Michael Catholic Church with Father Brian Moen officiating.  Burial services will take place on the Buggs Thompson horse ranch.  Music will be provided by Jodi Kurtz and all drum groups are welcome.
Pallbearers for Buggs will be Jerome Two Hearts, Anthony LaCroix, Cody Belgarde, Gary Owlboy, Lorman Owlboy, Harry Wolters, Ken Lohnes, Sr. and Roger Baker. Honorary Pallbearers  are Robert Old Rock, Buck Jacobs, Terry Pratt, George Cavanaugh, Herbie Cavanaugh, Clifford Cavanaugh, Daniel Kraft, Phillip "Scooter" Lohnes, Cletus Lawrence, Joseph Lawrence, Darryl Lawrence, DeWayne Smith, Bob Greywater, Sr., Perry Cavanaugh, Clark Cavanaugh, Mike Bowker, Joe Azure, Aloysius Cloud, Delbert Cloud, Larry Sullivan, Russell Wallace, Fidel Reyes, Dr. Lee, Dr. Winchester, Dr. Smith, Theresa LaLonde, Bette Flynn, Darla Thiele, Rita Belgarde, Mary Greene Trottier, Becky Diaz, Kirstin Cavanaugh, Jane Lamrose, Cheryl Cloud, Myra Pearson, Nan Forrest, all of his road construction co-workers/buddies, Spirit Lake Casino staff, Dakota 38 Riders, and Cankdeska Cikana Community College.  Thank you to Spirit Lake Tribal Health, Peggy Cavanaugh, Spirit Lake Ambulance staff and drivers, IHS staff, Dorothea Olson, Wanda Longie, Anita Cavanaugh, Hyllis Dauphinais, Hunter Parisien, Arlene de la Paz, Arliss Krulish, Dr. Gaid, North Memorial Hospital staff, especially ICU staff, Altru Cancer Center Staff,  Altru Hospital Staff, especially the 6th floor nurses who took excellent care of Buggs and his family.  We apologize if we missed anyone, it was not intentional. 

Michael, son of Mike and Mary Jane (Grandbois) Thompson, was born on July 6, 1947 at home in St. Michael, N.D.  He was baptized and confirmed in the St. Michael Catholic Church.  He was also an altar boy.  He grew up in the St. Michael area and attended Little Flower, St. Josephs Boarding school and Maddock school.  He then attended trade school at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, N.D.
Buggs worked hard his whole life.  He began working road construction at a young age and continued until he become ill in April 2012. He worked for Hulstrand Construction for many years, Park Construction, and Ames Construction. He ran his own trucking business at one point in time, MT Trucking. He also worked at the Spirit Lake Casino & Resort as a shuttle driver, Four Winds  Public School as a bus driver and Little Hoop Community College as a Heavy Equipment instructor. During his years working as a heavy equipment operator, he traveled to many places each summer with his daughter, Erica. In the winter months, he would head down south. He was well known as one of the best road grader operators in the five state area (N.D., S.D., Minn., Mont., Neb.).

When he was younger,  Buggs was a champion ping pong table tennis player in S.D.  He belonged to two societies, the Scout and Wolf Clan.  Buggs also volunteered and worked with the Sunka Wakan Ah-Ka (Bringing Back the Horses) Program. He participated in the Dakota 38 Ride in 2011 and one day in the ride this year he fell ill.

Buggs liked to travel and went many places with his family, such as Canada, Mexico and most of the western U.S.  He also liked to attend pow wows and watch his favorite cousin, Carolyn Reyes, dance jingle dress. He also enjoyed watching his grandchildren dance.  In the summer of 2012, he traveled to many pow wows in ND and brought his granddaughter, Mary Jane. He enjoyed being outdoors, spending time with his family, watching local basketball games and going to the casino to play slots, cards and throw dice.     

Buggs loved animals, especially white German Shepherds and horses.  Years ago he was known for always having a white German Shepherd with him in his truck.  He was an avid horseman and before his illness, he would bring his team to various functions (parades, rodeos). He specialized in breaking teams of horses.  He had three driving teams and raced chariot teams, as well.  He would spend his time relaxing in the summer by sitting outside watching his horses.
Buggs is survived by his children, Michael Thompson III, Erica Rose Buggs Thompson-Cavanaugh, Michaela Smith and Joey Greene-Thompson; grandchildren, Ryan, Ezra, Jordan, Taylor, Devyn and Peyton Thompson, Mary Jane, Chaz and Eden Thompson-Cavanaugh, Jonah, Mahpiya Ska Win, Lovelee and Liam;  brothers, Francis Brown, Donald Belgarde, Sr., Pete Belgarde, Jr., Alfred Thompson and Robert Thompson, Sr.; sisters, Beatrice Joramo, Lilly Owlboy, Sheila Thompson and Louella Thompson; God children, Todd Belgarde and Crystal Thompson; special niece/nurse/advocate, Verna Driver and  many nephews, nieces and grandchildren who looked up to him.  He was the heart of the family and is loved by all...he will be greatly missed.  We are comforted that he is with God and will be watching over us, our guardian angel.

Michael was preceeded in death by his parents, Mike and Mary Jane (Grandbois) Thompson; grandparents, John and Gertrude (Chaske) Thompson, Florence and Fred Grandbois;  sisters, Shirley Belgarde and Baby Janice Belgarde; adopted sister, Rosa Thompson; brother, Paul Thompson; adopted brother, Art Thompson; aunts, Agatha Thompson, Mary Thompson, Mae Racine, Henrietta Hunt, Dora Bellon, Evelyn Petersen and Viola Luna; uncles, Moses, Francis, Ambrose and James Thompson, Luis, Fred, John and Dave Grandbois; nephews, Paul Thompson, Alvin Owlboy and Donald "Sonny" Belgarde, Jr.

Friends may sign the online register book and share memories of Buggs at www.gilbertsonfuneralhome.com

Gilbertson Funeral Home, Devils Lake, is in charge of arrangements.