DUPUYER — There aren't many people that make up the community of Dupuyer, but they certainly know how to come together as one as they, along with friends from around the area, celebrated the life and memory of Ivan Doig, a writer who once called Pondera County home.
The small town celebrated the big heart of Doig just like they have ever since he passed away in 2015, with the annual Doig Day of Summer.
Ivan's friends in his hometown helped put on the celebration to keep his memory alive.
Mary Tonkovich grew up with Ivan and recalls knowing him through the local restaurant and being babysat by him back in the day. She called him Dupuyer’s most famous resident and continues working to make sure his memory stays alive.
“I'm part of a committee of four women. We all knew Ivan when we were young, and he was a little older than we were. We all grew up here in Dupuyer,” Tonkovich said. “We thought this might be a way just to promote his writing, keep it alive, and promote the town a little bit. He was a presence in my life throughout his writing, and I was able to share his books with a lot of people.”
Montana State University also helps with it as they have archives of Ivan in his writing and make the partnership something the whole community is grateful for. Jan Zauha is the college’s outreach librarian and has worked with Doig Day as well as MSU’s archives of Doig and his work. She has seen firsthand what he means to his hometown.
“There's been varying sizes of crowds, but always people coming from around the area, and I've learned how much the community that he grew up in loved him. They think of him as kind of a spokesperson for this area and for this way of life, the old Montana way.”