Mary Jo Packineau was born July 3, 1936. She was born to Jeannette Smith and Richard Wilson-Packineau. She was given the Hidatsa name Two Calves “Naaga Nu Bish.” She was a born member of the Prairie Chicken Clan and a child of Low Cap Clan. Her mother passed away while she was an infant. Mary was taken care of by her grandmother, Phoebe Spotted Rabbit. Later, her maternal aunt, Gladys Irwin, cared for her as well as her uncle Alfred Samuel-Smith, who later adopted her. During this time, in her young life she visited her maternal aunts who all had a hand in raising her. Her adopted father made sure she had a proper education. Mary attended Shell Creek, Lucky Mound, Elbowoods and Flandreau Indian School. Mary then continued her higher education at Haskell in Lawrence, KS. After high school, and several years of courtship with James Gordon Plenty Chief, they were wed on October 26, 1957. From this union were born Theresa Gail, LeAnn Raye, Jeanine, Clarine, and James Gordon, Jr. After their children were born, the family moved to Montana where Mary Jo worked as a teacher’s aide at the Lame Deer Elementary School. Jimmy acquired a full-time boiler maker’s position in Billings, MT and they moved there where she kept the family together as a homemaker.
In 1970, they attended United Tribes Technical College. Where she was given the opportunity to be on the second annual Pow wow committee. After attending United Tribes, they moved on to live and work in Fargo, ND. Here, James, Sr worked as a welder and Mary Jo continued her education in nursing. After a few years, they returned to the Parshall area where Mary Jo was a homemaker and James was a farm welder. In 1974 Mary Jo and James separated and divorced. Mary Jo started a new life in her homelands of Mandaree. She acquired her first job as a single parent at the Mandaree CAP office as a Parent-Child program worker. She worked with young children in the community until the grant ran out. She then worked as an addiction counselor and encouraged everyone to live in sobriety.
She met and began a relationship with Anthony Elwood Hale. On October 26, 1975, they were wed. From this union, Lenora Elda was born in 1979. The following years, she worked as a laborer in construction work until 1986. She was also a truck driver. She had a love for her Hidatsa language and taught that at FBCC. She worked hard at many jobs to provide for her family.
After separating, she and her family moved from New Town to Minot. She then relocated to Fargo to care for her daughter, Theresa. She also began care in 1989 for her grandson, Jonah Daniel Plenty Chief.
She continued her dedication to Christ and began bible studies and church groups. She lived, worshipped the Lord, and made many life-long friends while in Fargo. In 1993, she moved to Bismarck to attend UTTC and obtained a degree in Injury Prevention. She stayed on for a full year as a tutor for the older students in the same program. Bismarck became her home. She lived her remainder of her life there. She loved traveling, visiting her friends and family, she enjoyed attending pow wows. She loved getting to know her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved seafood, eating at Red Lobster, and Prairie Knights Casino, she also loved Bingo! She had a life-long belief in her cultural ways.
She spent time helping with community events and donating money to organizations she felt devoted to such as, Wounded Warriors Project, Disabled American Veterans, Women’s Abused Resource Center, Parshall Resource Center, Salvation Army Christmas Program/Soup Kitchen, Jimmy Swagert Ministries.
In 2013, she reaffirmed her commitment to Anthony Hale, Jr. at the Fargo VA while he battled cancer.
She had said “she always loved and cherished her oldest grandson, TJ; he is a loyal and obedient grandson. Even in disagreement, he always carried out her wishes.” Her memory will be cherished, and her teachings will be carried on. Macagidac. Naaga Nubish. Naaga Nubish. Naaga Nubish. Naaga Nubish.
Survived by: her children, Theresa Plenty Chief, Jeanine Plenty Chief, Clarine Plenty Chief-Linseth, James Gordon Plenty Chief, Jr., and Lenora Sustayta (John). Brother, Willis Packineau.
Grandchildren: (Theresa); T.J. Plenty Chief, Sr. (Lori), Jonah Plenty Chief, (Clarine); Angelica (George) Quinones, Ashley Linseth, Westly Linseth, (LeAnn); Rikki Gillette (Bobby), J.C. Gillette (Melanie), (Lenora); Miguel Sustayta, Jacob Sustayta, Catalina Sustayta.
Great-Grandchildren: (TJ & Lori); Elaine (Skylee), Thomas, Jr (Annie), Sahnish, Dion Bolman, Pierce, Quintin, Alivia Bolman, Javin, Logan, Silas, (Rikki and Bobby); Kylah, Leah, and Samuel, (Angelica); Tianna and Citilai.
Great-Great Grandchildren: Thomas Plenty Chief III, Skylee Steen, Jr., Aaliyah Steen, and Mary Jeanette Steen
Preceded in death by: Father, Richard Packineau, Mother, Jeannette Smith, Grandmother, Phoebe Spotted Rabbit, Brother, Buster Packineau, Sister, Wilma Nash, Daughter, LeAnn Plenty Chief,