Michael Stephen “Frenchie” French, 46, who had owned and operated a bar on Fort Peck Lake, died in Billings on Feb. 14, 2013, from a heart attack.
He was born in Malta on Nov. 3, 1966. At the age of 5, he was initiated into the Kiowa Gourd Clan by his grandfather, Jacob, and great-grandparents, Jane and Stephen Ahtone.
He graduated from Billings Senior High School in 1985 and attended Oklahoma University in Norman, Okla. He completed his bachelor’s degree in 1996 at Eastern Montana College.
Mr. French married Nixie Wilcoxon in 1991. In 1996, he and his family moved to Salt Lake City where he pursued a master’s degree in social services. He practiced his counseling skills at Yellowstone Boys Home in Billings and as a social service counselor in Wolf Point.
He had worked for Mustang Tour Ice, the Eagle Nest Lounge, Granary, The Winner’s Circle, 1145 Club and Billings Deaconess Hospital.
In 2007, he and his mother became owners and operators of the Gateway on Fort Peck Lake. After the Gateway burned in October 2011, he returned to Billings Clinic as a kitchen supervisor.
He had attended several powwows of the Kiowa Tribe in Mountain View, Okla.
Survivors include his father, Alden French of Billings; a son, Steven of Glasgow; a daughter, Paris of Dickinson, N.D.; former wife, Nixie Gagne of Glasgow; and grandfather, Alvida French.
Visitation was Feb. 18 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Memorial Mass was Feb. 19 at St. Bernard’s Parish.