Former Gun Lake Tribe chair Leah Sprague-Fodor dies

Leah Sprague-Fodor of Dorr, who in June last year was named chairperson of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe), died Sunday. She was 48.

The Gun Lake Tribe posted, “It is with great sorrow that we inform our community that Leah Sprague-Fodor walked on from this world yesterday. The entire Gun Lake Tribal community mourns this great loss today. Family and friends have gathered around Bill and Brice at this hour and thoughts and prayers for them and the rest of Leah’s family are appreciated.”

“As the first staff member of the Gun Lake Tribal Government and former Tribal Council member, Leah’s contributions to growing this great Tribe are unmatched. We will miss Leah and her amazingly bright spirit each and every day. We are praying for all family and friends impacted by this tragic loss.

Sprague-Fodor was one of the first two staff members hired by the Gun Lake Tribe in the early 1990s.  She held the position of member services director for a majority of her time on the tribal government staff.

The tribe since then has undergone an incredible transformation. Prior to federal recognition, the tribal community had virtually no resources. Today, the tribe has become a modern tribal government with a staff of more than 100 employees that serves the needs of its people through a wide variety of programs and services.

Sprague-Fodor was elected to the Tribal Council in 2012 as a representative of the Salem District.  During her time on Tribal Council the tribe successfully refinanced Gun Lake Casino debt and then paid off the debt entirely; successfully petitioned the U.S. Congress to pass a law to clarify that the casino parcel was lawfully taken into trust; and opened the Government Campus which serves as the Tribe’s Capitol Building.

Sprague-Fodor, daughter of David K. (D.K.) Sprague, who retired from the position of chairman in January 2016 after serving in that role for 24 years., was succeeded recently as chair by Scott Sprague.

She is survived by her husband of 23 years Bill; her son Brice; her father D.K. Sprague; her siblings Frank (Tami) Sprague, Virginia (David) Vanderband and Ryan Sprague; her mother in-law Catherine Fodor; her in-laws Mary (Jim) Allen, Joe (Millie) Fodor and Cathy (Lee) Vasquez; her nieces, nephews Jim Abbott, Aleigha, Moira, Bala Fodor, Jenny, Amanda, Jason, Arica Vasquez, Jason, Desirae, Gena Sprague, Ciara, Reece, Grace Jacobs, Mason Sprague; many extended family and special friends, including Stephanie Rahn and Jennifer Palmer.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Evi Sprague, and father-in-law, William Fodor.

The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the Gun Lake Community Church, 12200 West M-179 Hwy. The family will receive relatives and friends Thursday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Kubiak-Cook Funeral Services Dorr Chapel, 4330 18th St., and from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Friday at the church.


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