On Wednesday, January 27, 2021, Darryl J. Crasco, loving husband, father, and grandpa, passed away at the age of 73. He died of heart complications at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver, Colorado, surrounded by family and loved ones. On the day he died, Kenneth “Tuffy” Helgeson honored him with the Assiniboine name Wiyúnkjes’a (Thinker).
Darryl was born on March 26, 1947, at the old IHS Hospital in Fort Belknap, Montana, to the late John and Rebecca (Thinker) Crasco. He came from a family of thirteen, 5 boys, 5 girls, and 3 siblings lost in infancy. He was the third oldest of the boys. He was raised and educated up to the eighth grade on the southeast corner of the Fort Belknap Reservation in a little ranching community called Beaver Creek. He started working at a young age, employed by the Matador Ranch at 11 years old, and at the Robinson Ranch in the summers during his teen years.
Darryl graduated in May 1965 from Flandreau Indian School, where he met the love of his life, Violet (Doney) Crasco. After graduating from high school and marrying, they resided in Glasgow, where he worked at the former Glasgow Air Force Base.
Eventually, they returned to Beaver Creek and raised their three children and grandchildren. Darryl, along with his dad and brothers, was an avid rancher. Ranching was another love of his life. He took pride in his ranching business and raised some top-notch cattle. He became involved in rodeo during his high school years, participating in bronc riding and bull riding.
He also worked in Libby for a logging company, for the Zortman Mining Co., BLM, BIA Roads, Ft. Belknap Housing, and for Francis Mugley Gravel Crushing. He served on Fort Belknap Tribal Community Council as a councilman and later as the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). He was known as a forward thinker who would go out of his way to help people. He established the Lodge Pole District Administrative Office as a second satellite location serving the people of the southeast corner of Ft. Belknap.
In his younger years, Darryl loved to play the guitar, dance, and sing. Later, he spent many evenings sitting with the “old bulls” watching the Thunderbird basketball team. He was especially known for his quick wit and entertaining stories punctuated with exaggerated facial expressions and the occasional inappropriate joke.
Darryl was a very spiritual man. He and Violet took evening drives and prayed every day for family, for country, for people facing troubles, and for himself. He taught young men how to conduct themselves as Aaniiih and Nakoda men who worked hard, looked out for their people, spoke with wisdom, but shared a good laugh with you when you needed it most.
Darryl was preceded in death by parents John and Rebecca (Thinker) Crasco, siblings Ethel, Leon, and Gordon Crasco, brothers Will Crasco and Luke Crasco, his nephews Brandon Crasco and Kevin Ganueles, and his son Darryl, Jr. (D.J.).
Darryl is survived by his loving wife Violet, his daughters Sherry (Kenny) Parisian of Lodge Pole and Lynnette Crasco of Billings, grandchildren Miranda and Jessica (whom he also raised), Darnell, Sheree, Kenneth, Jr., T.J., Paisleigh and his special buddy Donovan; adopted grandsons Apollo, Adonis, and J.J.; siblings Jake (Juanita) Crasco, Maynard (Wanda) Crasco, Mary (Jay Willie) Mount, Sandy (Joseph) Ganuelas, Peggy (Alvin) Doney, Marge Crasco, and Arvilla Crasco; along with many nephews and nieces.
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