In Loving Memory of
Clarine “Merle” Irwin Young Bird, 51, born on December 8, 1968 at Dickinson, North Dakota to Meredith Dreke and Gloria Phyllis (Lincoln) Irwin and died on September 11, 2020 at the Sanford Hospital, Fargo, North Dakota with the love of her life and husband, Donald, by her side. Merle and her dad shared the same birthdate and had always celebrated their birthdays together. She had been ill for the past two years and had gone thru surgery at the time of her passing. Merle loved life and even though she knew her health was failing she remained confident that she will have better days until the recent passing of her daughter and couldn’t overcome the grief she felt. She missed her daughter very much.
Merle married the love of her life Donald Young Bird at Manning, ND and have been happily married for 12 years. They took many trips together to places like the NIFR at Las Vegas or to gamble at Mystic Lake or Deadwood. They never missed a basketball game and supported the Mandaree Warriors.
Merle lived in Mandaree all her life and graduated from the Mandaree Public High School. As a student she participated in basketball, track and cross-country. Her favorite sport was basketball and was an outstanding player. For many years she had always keep books for the Mandaree Warriors at all their games. After graduating from high school she attended the Fort Berthold Community College and received her Associate of Arts Degree in Early Childhood. She was hired at the Mandaree Public School as a paraprofessional and worked there for many years. She also worked at the Four Bears Casino and Lodge, Little Plume Headstart, Mandaree Elders Meal Site and for the West Segment Representative.
Merle was an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes and a child of the Knife Clan and a Prairie Chicken Member. She grew up learning the culture and traditions of the Hidatsa as taught to by her parents. She was a member of the St. Anthony Catholic Church, Mandaree, ND.
Merle enjoyed being around family and loved cooking big meals especially for the holidays. For Christmas she made sure everyone received a present and would spoil all the little nieces, nephews and grandchildren with extra treats. She was very kind-hearted and would help out anyone she thought was having a hard time. She loved animals very much and would always have a dog or two around to take care of. She enjoyed going to powwows, rodeos, movies and the casino.
Merle will be greatly missed by her family, friends and relatives, especially her sisters. They will miss her late night phone calls saying shes done cooking supper inviting them over to eat or her texts asking how they are or what are they up to. She was always a phone call away even though she lived nearby and she loved teasing them. Not only was she a sister but she was a “best” friend.
Merle is survived by her husband, son Derrick Irwin, Mandan, ND; sisters Lorraine (Mike) Howe and Gloria Ann Grinnell, Mandaree, ND, step-daughters Sandy Young Bird, Mandaree, ND; Mandy Archambault, Minot, ND; step-son Clancey Lone Fight, Mandaree, ND; adopted sisters Lisa Redford, Minot, ND; Sheila (Richard) Pease, Tanya (Robert) Fimbres, Callie Baker, Bridget Brady LaVallie, all of New Town, ND; granddaughters Andraya Salas and Jaylee Irwin, grandson Derrick Irwin, Jr., nephews Sonny Flynn, Blaine Flynn, Aaron Howe, Bradley (Erin) Howe, Sam (Michelle) Irwin, Dylan Touchine, Levi (Marlena) Grinnell, nieces Michaela Howe, Amber Howe and Tessa Irwin,
Preceding her in death are her parents, brothers Gary and Richard (Dickie) Grinnell, sister Stephanie Irwin, son Dwight Irwin, daughter Audrey Irwin, nephews Jason Guimont, Dustin Irwin, Terrell Howe, Miles Howe, step-son Lyman Young Bird, adopted sister Lucy Rosario-Karnatz, and adopted brother Terry Mason.
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