Truman Teeman

Born: Wed., Sep. 18, 1940
Died: Fri., Dec. 9, 2011

Funeral Service

10:00 AM Tue., Dec. 13, 2011
Location: Burns Paiute Gathering Center

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Truman Teeman, Burns Paiute Tribal Elder, died on Dec. 9.

He was born Sept. 18, 1940, in Burns to Paul and Bernice Teeman.

Teeman started school on the Reservation before attending school in Seneca and Burns. He left high school when his father died to help support his mother and three sisters, Betty, Minerva and Olivia.

Before leaving high school Truman showed amazing talents at boxing, track, basketball and baseball. He was an active member of the tribe’s boxing team in the 1950s, until retiring his gloves after losing a match to a large boxing bear in one round. He went on to coach many younger boxers in the 1960s and 1970s.

Throughout his life, Teeman worked as a firefighter,  ranch hand, private contractor, mill laborer, silversmith, archaeological monitor and  skidder operator. He ran skidder for over 25 years for several large Oregon logging operations, including Hines Logging and Warm Springs Logging. He was twice named as “logger of the month” and featured in the “Oregon Loggers” magazine for his skill in complex and difficult log extractions, and the number of logs he could pull in a day.

Teeman loved hunting, fishing, root gathering and camping, and through the years he taught many young people his many and varied skills. His humor was known far and wide, as was his ability to spin a story. Some of his favorite stories were set in his skidder, from fighting exploding wasp nests to dodging flying lodgepole pines.

His other favorite stories always involved great times in the woods — his times fishing for baby eagles with a fishing pole and hamburger, trapping baby groundhogs to raise as pets and hunting with his friends and his family members through the generations.

The most important things to Teeman were his family, his friends and his community. He had three sons, David, Lonnie and Albert. He loved all children and was much loved by his grandchildren, his nephews and nieces and all of their children. He was always kind and generous with his time, his knowledge and his skills. No request for help or time was ever denied.

He worked hard for the sake of his community. In the 1970s he worked with others to give the Tribe federal recognition, and acted as Tribal Council Chairman for many years. He worked hard to keep the tribal history and culture alive by recording many of his grandfathers’ old stories for his grandchildren.

Most recently, he was working on making a place for all of the tribal elders to meet and socialize — a place where they could be together and happy like they were when they were children in the 1940s and 1950s.

Teeman is survived by his aunt, Jane Sam; sisters, Betty Hawley and Minerva Soucie; life-partner, Beth; sons, Lonnie and David, stepdaughter, Laurellyn; numerous nieces and nephews; 11 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Albert;  sister, Olivia; and great-grandson, Calvin.

Funeral services were held at the Burns Paiute Gathering Center on Dec. 13, with internment at the New Camp Cemetery. Contributions in Teeman’s memory may be made to the Burns Paiute Tribe Elder’s Program through the Burns Paiute Tribe

Truman Teeman, 71 died on Friday, December 9, 2011 at his home.  A Funeral Service will be held on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 in the Burns Piaute Gathering Center at 10:00 a.m. with burial to follow at New Camp Cemetery.

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