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Malcolm O’Leary

ARLEE — Malcolm Patrick O’Leary, aka Malcolm Magpie, left this earth on July 31, 2018, in Arlee, where he made his home for the last 20 years. The cause of death was heart failure. His strong spirit lives on through his art and through the love that many hold for him in their hearts. Malcolm was born Sept. 1, 1952, in Thief River Falls, Minnesota.

Malcolm grew up in Havre, Montana. Following high school, he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Montana State University. He also studied at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Malcolm was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. He often spoke of his professional and life mentors with a note of fondness and gratitude.

Malcolm was a passionate, lifelong artist. He participated in regional shows and lectures. His work reflects aspects both of inward and outward observations. Some of his images address social inequalities and the degradation of the planet. Spiritual symbolism and his understanding of nature also are expressed. He explored places beyond this world through a number of shield paintings. Malcolm studied and lived Native traditions for years, coming to be respected by many as a knowledgeable healer, singer, and dancer.

He is survived by his brothers, Douglas, Ronald (Linda Hofer), Darrell Frost (Teri) and sisters Wendy (Patrick Sheehy) and Kathleen. The family circle also includes many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews as well as great-nieces and great-nephews. The family states that throughout his lifetime, Malcolm held many friends as kin. He will be remembered as a cherished brother, a gifted story teller, and a generous friend.

Malcolm was preceded in death by his parents, John H. O’Leary, M.D. and Enid K. O’Leary; his brother-in-law, David Phillips; and his sister-in-law, Margaret Hayford O’Leary.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday afternoon, Oct. 6, in Arlee. For further information, check the Facebook page: Malcolm Magpie Forever. In lieu of flowers, donations to The Nature Conservancy at: or the Montana Arts Council at 406-444-6430 are welcome.


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