OBIT: Hermina McKay

Hermina McKay, age 93, of Ft. Totten, ND, passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, at the Eventide Devils Lake Care Center. Wake was Tuesday, Dec. 8, it started at 5 p.m. followed by a Prayer Service at 7 p.m. all St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Ft. Totten. Friends that joined the procession from New Rockford to Ft. Totten gathered on the St. Jerome’s road, Fort Totten, prior to 4:15 p.m. Her Private Funeral Service was held Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Ft. Totten. The family requested attendance of family members only at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church due to the COVID-19 safety guidelines. Her Burial was at the Raven Hill Presbyterian Cemetery, rural Ft. Totten. Hermenia McKay was born on May 13, 1927, the daughter of Bernard Rainbow and Carrie White Rainbow. She was the youngest child of five; three brothers, Andrew Rainbow, Joseph Rainbow, Julius Rainbow; and two sisters, Lillian Shaw and Dora Rainbow. Hermenia was raised in Crowhill District of the Spirit Lake Reservation. Hermenia Rainbow attended school and graduated from the Fort Totten Boarding School which was located in the Calvary Square. She married Bill McKay on May 21, 1948. He served in the US Navy for five years and was honorably discharged in 1950. Hermenia McKay was a hard worker, beginning work at the age of 15 years and went on to work all of her life on the Spirit Lake Reservation. Upon her marriage, she worked beside her husband, Bill McKay, to raise their children; Carl McKay, Merle McKay, Virgil McKay, and Ila McKay. Her employment began at the Dakota Trading Post/Fort Totten at the age of 15 years. She then worked at the Bell Isle Mission Store in St. Michael, ND. As a store clerk, Hermenia met all the families and helped families as she was able to. Hermenia changed her employment in having attended the University of North Dakota under the Future Indian Teachers Program. She completed the program and went on to work as a Kindergarten Teacher Aide at the Tate Topa Elementary School/Fort Totten. She loved working with children and lovingly shared stories of the children’s antics and learning experiences. She lovingly shared their most positive moments. Hermenia McKay’s career went on to become a Language Instructor as she completed her certification to be a language teacher. She continued her career as a Language Teacher under the Tate Topa Wounspe Language Program/Four Winds Elementary School and, upon her retirement, continued her service to the Tribe as a Language Consultant for the Cankedeska Cikana Community College. Hermenia McKay also served on the Spirit Lake Tribal Enrollment Committee and the Spirit Lake Tribal Health Board. Hermenia McKay lived a life of faith as a member of the St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Fort Totten. She and her husband supported the St. Thomas Episcopal Church in continually working to sustain the church and providing church activities to include recruiting pastors, ministers, lay readers to provide church leadership. Her husband, William Francis McKay and Hermenia McKay attended meetings of the Dakota Leadership Program/Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota which provided training for Indian Ministers. Together, they supported the Ordination of Daniel Makes Good, St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Hermenia McKay had many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We apologize for having forgotten any names. Her son, Carl McKay, is the father of Ann Black (Devils Lake, ND), Lori McKay (Fort Totten), Carl McKay Jr. (New Rockford, ND), Marnie (Joseph) Lawrence (New Rockford), Dixie (Mitch) Omen (St. Michael), Jennifer (Wayne) Black (St. Michael), and Jason Greene (St. Michael). Her son, Virgil McKay, is the father of Larissa McKay (Devils Lake), Dakota McKay (St. Michael), Charris Thomas (Fort Totten), Lynea (Brian) Crissler (Belcourt, ND), Virgil William (Vwoomie) McKay (deceased) and Blaine McKay. Her son, Merle McKay, is the step-father of Kristi (Johnnie) Gaking, Bill Walking Eagle (WA) and Mandi. Her daughter, Ila McKay is the mother of Douglas Zachery Lohnes (Hettinger, ND), William Joseph Lohnes (Devils Lake) and Ione Skye Lohnes (Fort Totten). Her great-granchildren, (Brian and Lynea Crissler) are Briley Crissler, Kenley Crissler, Kyler Crissler, Larin Crissler, and Breah Crissler (all of Belcourt). Nieces and nephews, Ardis Shaw, Vincent Shaw, Andrew Shaw (all of Fort Totten). She was preceded in death by; Bill McKay (husband); Carl McKay, Merle McKay, and Virgil McKay (sons); Bernard and Carrie (White) Rainbow (parents); Andrew Rainbow, Joseph Rainbow, Julius Rainbow (brothers); Lillian Shaw, Dora Rainbow (sisters); and Virgil William (Vwommie) McKay, Kitana Wolfe Lohnes (grandchildren). She is survived by; Ila McKay, daughter; Ardis Shaw, niece; Vincent Shaw, nephew, and Andrew Shaw, nephew (all of Fort Totten); and her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Published on December 10, 2020