Welcome to the memorial page for

Joseph John Shabaiash, Jr.

September 24, 1947 ~ December 12, 2017 (age 70)

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December 16, 2017

6:00 PM
Sawyer Community Center
3243 Moorhead Rd
Sawyer, Minnesota 55780

Traditional American Indian Service
December 17, 2017

10:00 AM
Sawyer Community Center
3243 Moorhead Rd
Sawyer, Minnesota 55780

Joseph John Shabaiash, Jr., “Gezhiiyaasiged” which means “One that shines brightly” age 70, of Sawyer, MN began his spiritual journey on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 in Carlton, MN.  He was born on September 24, 1947 in Cloquet, MN the son of Joseph, Sr. and Delphine (Benjamin) Shabaiash.

Joe married Betsy Smith in May of 1967 and the two resided in Minneapolis.  He worked for Thermo King Inc. for over twenty years before he retired, and moved to Cloquet.  Joe took a position as Security Guard at the Black Bear Casino and spent over nineteen years working there.  Joe returned home to Sawyer where he resided for his remaining days.  Gezhiiyaasiged went through Mide Lodge and was a member of the ceremonial Drum in Aahoomog “Lake Lena”.  Joe loved his spiritual teachings and traveled to many pow-wows that were traditional, ceremonial and competitive all across Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota.  You could always find Joe playing bingo and slots at the Black Bear Casino.  He loved his fast-loud cars.  Joe would take the time to pick out and buy broke down ugly cars and turn them into a beautiful hot rod.

The family he joins again are his parents; Joe and Delphine, brothers; Daniel, Rodney, Lloyd, Delbert, Dennis and David, sisters; Linda and Lois.

Those he leaves to cherish his memory are his son; Craig “Casey” (Cheryl) Shabaiash of Cloquet, daughters; Roberta Jo Fox of Cloquet, Joze Wesaw of Minneapolis, and adopted daughter; Sharon E. Raisch of Garrison, brothers; Leslie of Bemidji, Roy of Rush City, and Donald of Cloquet, sisters; Ruth and Rosalie both of St. Paul, 12 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

A wake for Joe will begin at 6:00 p.m., Saturday, December 16th, 2017 and will continue until the 10:00 Traditional Midewin service on Sunday, December 17 all held at the Sawyer Center in Sawyer, MN.  Officiating will be Obizaan Lee Staples.  Pallbearers will be Tom Benjamin, Kevin Ray Dupuis, Jr., Darryl Shabaiash, Nick Trotterchaude, Rick Trotterchaude, Charles Badmoccasin and Steven Smith.  Honorary pallbearers will be his only grandson; Kenneth Fox III, Rick Benjamin, Bob Benjamin, Harold “Jr.” Diver, Duane Pike, Vince Merrill, Dennis Zortman, Mark Smith  and Tom Hanks.  Interment will be held at St. Mary and Joseph’s Cemetery in Sawyer following the service.

Joe’s care has been entrusted to Northern Peace Funeral Home of Walker, MN.  Online condolences for the family may be given at

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