Roger Wesley Malone was born to Arthur (Skidunk) Malone and Cleo Welch. He was raised on the reservation in a house near Besaws’ bridge. Rogers’ family consisted of six boys and four girls. He said" It was nice to have a big family, but it was hard too because we were pretty poor. Didn’t make it to town very often, so if we went to Bowler or even Gresham, we were like wow! We're in the big time. Shawano was like the big city." His mother would make sure the kids made it to school every day so she knew the kids would have a hot meal.
Roger remembers playing along the river as a young child. He enjoyed swimming and fishing with all his brothers. He’s been swimming at Besaws’ bridge since he was a young boy. He talks about running off the bus and throwing off their clothes to jump into the river.
In the winter time the river was where they retrieved their water. With milk cartons in hand, they would punch a hole in the ice and fill up the cartons. The river was the source of drinking water, washing dishes and cleaning their clothes. After Roger got older they drilled a well, but still needed the river water to heat up and pour into the well when it froze.
"Nobody had many toys to play with, no bikes or anything like that. We had one bike that my brother Shelley put together out of a bunch of spare parts. You know, a part here and a part there, eventually we had enough for a bike. That was a family bike, we all shared it. When I was really young we used to play with boxes, literally. We’d push my brothers’ Todd and Tim around the house in those boxes."
Roger explains his father as a short, stocky man, who was always hard at work. "He was quite a man. Tough hearted and tough physically." As a boy he always said," When I get big, I hope I have arms as big as Dads’." When he reminisces about the old times he spent with his family, his eyes’ are filled with a sense of happiness. Roger helped his father in the woods working as a skidder. They didn’t have the machines that are available at the present time, they used manpower and horses to do the work. His family owned a couple of horses that Roger and his brother took care of. After he had gotten a little older, Roger worked as a skidder with his dad and older brother. When he wasn’t working in the woods he liked to play sports.
Roger was always an athlete, he played sports in school as a young man, and played softball most of his life. He talks about the softball team they had on the rez that made it to the leagues for the first time. It was always guys from the rez that played. Pick up games were played against Menominee or Gresham teams," Where ever we could get a game", he explains. Unfortunately the team never made it to the championships. As he got older he wanted to go to the big game, which he did. Roger played two years with the Tilleda softball team and that’s where he won the championship." As you get older you realize that isn’t the most important thing, now I just play for the fun of it." After winning the championship he went back to playing with the rez team.
When Roger was eighteen he moved to Milwaukee with his brother Sheldon and his sister-in-law. There Sheldon managed to get Roger a job at the place were he worked. He explains with a laugh, "That was my first job in the city, that was when I first started to see the world. That was really something living in the city. We thought it was big stuff but yet at the same time during the week we would just wait to get back to home." That was his first time living on his own and experiencing the big city.
Not long after, Roger was sent to the military. He served in the Army. He spent a year in Vietnam as a M-60 machine gun operator; he served with the 9th Infantry Division.
He returned to the reservation were he met his wife, Ann Bowman. They remained at home and raised their family. Three children were born to the couple, Roger Jr., Tiana, and Donavan. Roger also has a son, Anthony, from a previous marriage. His children are all grown up now, Anthony has four sons and Tiana has one daughter and one son.
Currently Roger is working at the Elderly Center, a place his presence has been felt for many years. "One thing I’m really proud of is working here at the Elderly Center, I've been here for twenty years. When I first started I never thought I’d be here that long, but I’m still here and I still enjoy it," says Roger. At one time the only employee’s that were there were he and his brother Randy. There are approximately ten employees working now, Roger jokingly says" I don’t have to work as hard anymore."
He gives a few words of advice for the youth, "Young people got to be careful of their friends and what they get into. Always follow your dreams when your young, and if they don’t happen don’t feel bad about it, just feel like you gave it your best shot. As long as your happy with what you do, I don’t care if it’s cutting wood for a living or having a big executive job. If your happy with the job that’s all what counts."