-- Matt Schudel, TWP Thursday, February 14, 2008
John Thomas Vance III, 86, former chairman of the
Indian Claims Commission, died Jan. 15 at the
Emerson House nursing facility in Portland, Ore. He
had Alzheimer's disease.
After working for most of his career in Montana, Mr.
Vance came to Washington in 1968 as chairman of
the commission, which heard claims from Indian tribes
against the U.S. government. Mr. Vance was chairman
for a year and continued to serve on the commission
until it was disbanded in 1978.
Survivors include four daughters, Margaret Vance of
Missoula, Katherine Vance of Coweta, Okla., Angela
Vance of Polson, Mont., and Mary Vance of Portland,
Ore.; eight grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.
His marriage to Camilla M. Vance ended in divorce.
During his years in the Washington area, Mr. Vance lived in Chevy Chase and later in
Annapolis. He moved to Tulsa in 2001 as a resident scholar at the University of Tulsa
College of Law and later lived in Montana and Portland, Ore.
After graduating from George Washington University's law school in 1950, he moved to
Missoula, Mont., and established a law practice. He later moved to Helena, Mont., where
he worked with the Montana Trade Commission and as Helena city attorney. He was also
an officer with the Civil Air Patrol and served as Rocky Mountain regional commander.
After teaching law at the University of Toledo, Mr. Vance returned to Washington in 1988
as a staff member of the Senate Select Committee on living.