Shoes That Can’t be Filled
On February 24th of 2016, the unofficial “Mayor of Duck Lake” passed away. Tom Durand and his wife Gladys were one of a few folks that were permanent residence among mostly transient owners of small summer cabins along Duck lake. Tom was a full-blooded Assiniboine Indian and had moved to Duck Lake in the seventies after retiring from the railroad.
Everyone that new Tom considered him the Mayor of Duck Lake.
Tom and Gladys were one of the first of a small community scattered along the shores of Duck Lake just outside of Glacier National Park on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Tom was a friend to everyone fortunate enough to know him.
I had been living in a 26 ft. pull-trailer at Duck Lake Lodge and performing at Many Glacier Hotel for several years, during which time I spent a great deal of my day’s fishing Duck Lake. I was beginning to get to know some of the locals, but It wasn’t until I started looking for property along the lake that I met Tom.
I remember the first time I met him. I was driving down West Shore drive looking for “For Sale” signs, when I spot Tom sitting on his four-wheeler finishing up a conversation with a neighbor. I approached and inquired if he knew of anyone that might be selling property. I had hit the jack pot! Tom knew everyone and everyone’s business. If there was something going on around Duck Lake Tom knew about it.
With his help I would find my first house on Duck Lake. With his help and guidance I would find another parcel to purchase, sell the previous house for a profit and build the StoneHouse at Duck Lake. If I was ever in need of tools, advice or just words of wisdom in times of stress, Tom was always there to lend a helping hand or give sage advice while sitting upon his four-wheeler like a king on his steed overseeing his kingdom.
Life will go on of course, but Duck Lake will never be the same without Tom running up and down the road on his four-wheeler making sure his community is safe and no one is in need.
Tom was one-of-a-kind and his shoes can never be filled. He will be deeply missed!
Fish on my friend!