In Memoriam

David Chafin

David Chafin age 57 of Wyandotte, Oklahoma passed Sunday, December 27, 2020, at his home. He was born on January 15, 1963, in Miami, Oklahoma the son of Clyde & Loren (Newberry) Chafin.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and 2 brothers, Ronald Chafin and Stephen Chafin.

He is survived by his wife Rhonda, of the home; a son, Brandon Chafin of the home, 2 daughters, Cassandra Birdsong of Wyandotte, Oklahoma, and Savannah Birdsong also of the home. Also surviving is a sister, Linda Johnston, of Wyandotte, Oklahoma, 2 grandchildren, Casey Shallenburger and Cooper Birdsong, both of Wyandotte, Oklahoma a nephew Jeremy Chafin and other nephews and nieces and other relatives and friends.’

Funeral services and Native American Rites for David Chafin were held 10:00 AM, Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at the Modoc Tribal Gathering Center, with Paul Barton, officiating. Pallbearers were Casey Shallenburger, Casey Shallenburger II, Bill Shallenburger, Kenny Phillips, Jeremy Chafin, and Brandon Logan. Interment will be in the Modoc Cemetery, East of Miami, Oklahoma. Funeral arrangements were under the care of the Paul Thomas Funeral Home and Cremation Center, Miami.

Rhonda McDowell

Rhonda Jean McDowell, 54, of Branson MO, passed away on Saturday, October 24th, 2020.

Visitation was from 6pm to 7pm Thursday, October 29th at Campbell-Biddlecome Funeral Home in Seneca, MO. Funeral services were held on Friday, October 30th at 10am at the Modoc Gathering Building in Wyandotte OK, with Minister Joshua Frakes of Seneca Christian Church officiating. Burial was in the Modoc Indian Cemetery with Mike McDowell, Tabitha Crawford, Ben Crawford, Casey McDowell, Alex McDowell, and Jonas Crawford serving as pallbearers.

Rhonda was born in Joplin MO to Ronald and Ramona Rosiere on March 5th, 1966. She was a member of the Modoc Nation, Native American tribe of Oklahoma and she went to school in Wyandotte, OK. She married Michael McDowell on May 5th 1984, at the Modoc Church. She worked in the Restaurant Industry most of her life, loved being outdoors and being with her loved ones.

Rhonda is preceded in death by her father Ronald, and her grandmother Betty Rosiere.

Rhonda is survived by her Husband of 36 years, Michael McDowell, her four children; Mike McDowell and wife, Misty, of Miami, OK, Tabitha Crawford and husband Ben, of Miami, OK, Casey McDowell and wife Erin, of Miami, OK, and Alex McDowell of Miami, OK, her mother Ramona Rosiere of Joplin, MO, her three sisters; Gina McGaughey and husband Brad of Owasso, OK, Leslie Hall and husband Sloan, of Kingswood, TX, and Mona Craven and husband Danny, of Joplin, Mo, and 13 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.

Tom G. Burkybile

QUAPAW, OKLAHOMA: Tom G Burkybile, age 69, passed away at 5:09 p.m. Wed., June 24, 2020, with his family at his side.
Tom was born June 10, 1951, in Baxter Springs, KS. His parents were Joe Lee and Cecil L (Ball) Burkybile. He had lived in the Quapaw area all of his life.
He graduated from Quapaw High School with the class of 1969. He was a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War and was a lifetime member of the VFW. Tom worked for 37 years as a route salesman for Frank Evans Distributing from 1977 until his retirement in 2014.
He was a member of the Peoria (OK) Baptist Church. He was a proud member of the Modoc Nation and also of Ottawa and Quapaw descent. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and woodworking. He loved vacationing in Florida and was known by his family and friends as a practical joker.

Tom was married to JaneAnne Trease on November 19, 1970, in Carthage, MO. She survives.

Additional survivors include two daughters, Tammy Burkybile, Runnells, IA, and Tara Moore, Cave Springs, AR; three grandchildren, Hayden Burkybile, Olivia Prunty and Hudson Moore; and three brothers, Phil Burkybile, Galena, KS, Bill Burkybile, Texas, and Joe Burkybile, Joplin, MO.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents; one son, Tommy Burkybile; two brothers, Robert Burkybile and Charles Burkybile; and one sister, Layvetta Lambeth.

He lay in state at his home from Friday afternoon June 26 through Monday, June 29. Friends and family were invited to visit at the house throughout the weekend. Military graveside services were held at 3:00 p.m., Monday, June 29, 2020, at the Ottawa Indian Cemetery, rural Miami, OK. Layman Dale Heatherly officiated. Indian rites were led by JC Dawes. Arrangements were under the direction of Derfelt Funeral Home, Galena, KS. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations were made to American Missionary Fund in care of the funeral home.

Judy (Follis) Cobb

Judy (Follis) Cobb a longtime Miami resident and well-respected local business owner passed away at her home on Thursday, April 9, 2020. Judy was born in Joplin Mo, on February 10, 1941 to Judd and Nita (Walker) Follis. Judy was a 1959 graduate of Miami High School where she was very involved in activities, clubs and was crowned homecoming queen. After high school, Judy obtained her bachelor’s degree from Pittsburg State University and shortly thereafter became an elementary school teacher.
On August 17, 1985, Judy married James “Jim” Clayton Cobb at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Miami. She and her husband James owned several local businesses including a Texaco distributorship, Carnation Milk and in addition, Judy became well known as the owner of the Hallmark Store in Downtown Miami. Judy was a member of the Modoc Indian Tribe and served as the second Chief. She was preceded in passing by her parents, Judd and Nita Follis, her husband James Cobb, and son Donnie Grissom.
Survivors include her step-daughter Jame’ Whaley of Katy TX, brother, Bill Follis and wife Jan of Miami, sister Karen Garvin and husband Gary of Joplin and her brother Phil Follis and wife Liz of Miami. Three nephews; Phil Follis, Jon Wooley (Barb), Tod Wooley (Rhonda), and Justin Garvin.
Judy was very witty, loved to laugh and socialize and had a strong passion for Art. Judy was a close personal friend of Charles Banks Wilson and spent many years collecting his artwork. Judy was a member of the Miami Country Club and enjoyed playing golf with her friends. She and her husband James devoted over 20 years delivering meals for the Meals on Wheels program and served several years as members of the Chamber of Commerce.
For the health, safety, and welfare of family and friends, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the family will be having a Celebration of Life at a later time.
Judy will be laid to rest next to her husband James at the Modoc Tribe Cemetery East of Miami.
The family and friends can leave notes and videos of encouragement by viewing Mrs. Cobb’s Tribute Page at Services have been placed in the care of Brown-Winters Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Miami.

Phil Follis

Phil Follis, 84, a longtime Miami resident passed away on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at Integris Miami Hospital. Phil was known for his generous spirit and contagious smile. He will be missed. Services are pending and have been placed in the care of Brown-Winters Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Miami.

Friends and family may send the family notes of encouragement by viewing Mr. Follis’ Tribute Page at

*If you would like to submit the obituary of a Modoc tribal member, please email your request to

Modoc Nation