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Saul Birdshead Jr.

APACHE  Saul Birdshead Jr., 86, Apache, went to his heavenly home on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, with his loving family by his side.

Funeral will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept.14, 2017, at United Methodist Church of Apache with Pastor Sharon Yeaquo, Tina Baker and Pastor Mary Irby officiating.  

Burial with full military honors will follow at Cache Creek KCA Cemetery, west of Apache, under direction of Comanche Nation Funeral Home.

Prayer service will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, at United Methodist Church of Apache.

Saul was born April 19, 1931, in Canton to Saul and Susie (Bull) Birdshead Sr. He graduated from Haskell High School in 1950. Saul joined the United States Army in 1951, where he rose to the rank of chief warrant officer 3 and specialized in nuclear weapons. He married LaVera Mithlo on Oct. 25, 1975.  

Mr. Birdshead served in the Kansas Army National Guard from 1948 to 1950 with the 35th Infantry Division. He enlisted in the Army on March 1, 1950, and retired from the Army on May 31, 1971, earning the enlisted rank of sergeant first class and retiring as a chief warrant officer 3. Mr. Birdshead completed his basic and artillery training at Camp Chaffee, Ark., and his infantry training at Fort Benning, Ga. He later completed the Basic Airborne School at Fort Benning, and in 1953 he completed the Airborne Jumpmaster Course. While a paratrooper he made 37 jumps before an injury curtailed his airborne status.

Mr. Birdshead served as a fire direction NCO, infantry squad leader and platoon sergeant and nuclear weapons maintenance technician. He was appointed as a warrant officer in March 1964. His duty stations, besides Fort Benning and Camp Chaffee, included Fort Lewis, Wash.; Pueblo Army Depot, Colo.; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Sandia Base, N.M.; and overseas with 8th Army in Korea; and the 529th Ordnance Company in Germany and Italy. His awards include the Army Commendation, Good Conduct with/4 Bronze Loops, National Defense Service with/Bronze Service Star, Armed Forces Expeditionary, and Korean Defense Service Medals, and the Senior Parachutists, Nuclear Reactor Operators, and Sharpshooter Qualification with/M1 Rifle Bar Badges. He was appointed as a traditional War Chief of the Southern Arapaho Tribe after his military service.

He was a member of the Arapaho Tribe, and was selected as Arapaho chief in 1970. Saul enjoyed teaching and singing Arapaho songs, language, culture and traditions. Saul was a traditional Sundance man and had a strong belief in his way. As an Arapaho chief, he believed that it was his personal duty as well as the duty of all Arapaho chiefs to perpetuate the existence of the Arapaho culture. He believed that the chiefs should give all and receive none. He was an extremely humble man who put all of his faith in God and never worried about how things would turn out. Saul also enjoyed being in the presence of his family.

He is survived by: wife, Lavera Birdshead of the home; children: Susan Muliagatele of the home, Jennifer Birdshead of Washington, D.C. and Nicholas Birdshead of Norman; grandchildren: Ioane Nikolao Muliagatele and Nichole Faith Pahdocony of the home, Kaia Elyse Birdshead and Arnold Gather Jr. of Washington, D.C., Iliana Myell, Carmela Raquel and Nicholas Lawerence Birdshead Jr. "BroBro" of Norman, Chuntay Her-many-horses, Carla Birdshead, and Hisei Birdshead of Denver; and sister, Ruby Jean Birdshead-Rishel of El Reno.

He was preceded in death by: parents: Saul and Susie Bull Birdshead Jr.; his son, Mitchell Ray; two oldest daughters: Judy Ann and Lavona May; brothers: Frederick Roy Birdshead and Steve Dawes; and sisters: Adelia Burgett, Donna Mae Reynolds, Ethelyn Rosenhammer, Lorenda Whitbuffalo, Sue Ann Sevens and Jennie Birdshead-Curtis.

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