Ruth Lorene Frigaard, 72


Ruth Lorene (Oss-Lieurance) Frigaard passed away June 27, 2012, at her home at Crest Nursing Home in Butte, after battling breast cancer for nine years .

She was born in Anaconda on Sept. 21, 1939, to Ole and Mildred (Huffman) Oss. Her parents divorced when Lorene was very young and her mother remarried in 1945 to Edward Lieurance, who became Lorene’s beloved stepfather.

Because her mother was divorced and working in Anaconda, Lorene spent her first six years living with her grandparents on the campus of the Montana State Hospital at Warm Springs where her grandfather worked as a plumber. Lorene began first grade in a one-room school house at Warm Springs and attended this school off and on until the last half of the fifth grade when her parents moved permanently to Anaconda and her stepfather began working as an ironworker on the smelter. She always considered her school years spent in the one-room schoolhouse as the best education she ever received. She was very sad when this old school and the nearby combination grocery store, hotel, bar and restaurant were demolished in 1964, 100 years after they had both been built. Lorene and her parents lived in this hotel for about a year while both her parents managed the various businesses for the owner.

Lorene graduated from Anaconda High School in 1957, and during the spring of her senior year, began working for Emmet T. Walsh, a new young attorney in town. In 1958, Lorene briefly attended the University of Montana in Missoula for two quarters until her funds ran out, and then she began working for the New York Life Insurance Co. in Butte.

On March 5, 1959, Lorene married Robert G. “Bob” Frigaard, also of Anaconda, in Missoula’s St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

Lorene and Bob were blessed with two daughters, Sandra Jean Pack, and Terri Lynn Frigaard.

Lorene began working as the secretary for the Southwest Montana Mental Health Center in Anaconda in 1975 (later re-named Mental Health Services, Inc.) She worked there until 1996, having started as secretary and eventually being promoted to the dual positions of Administrative Office Director and Program Director.

Lorene loved knitting and sewing school clothes for her two daughters. She and her husband enjoyed four-wheeling, scenic and wildlife photography, bird watching, hiking, rock hounding and lapidary work, panning for gold and shoveling promising gravel through a sluice box.

Lorene began crafting “cookie dough” Christmas ornaments in the late 1960s, individually hand-shaping each ornament and intricately painting ethnic folk costumes on each figure, and tied hand-printed “Montana Heritage” labels to each ornament. She sold these ornaments at many craft shows throughout the 1980s.

Lorene also collected very old Anaconda and Butte menus, and also became an avid eBayer, purchasing many postcards depicting Anaconda in its very earliest years. She loved reading and studying both Anaconda and Montana history books, and in recent years began sharing her knowledge of local history and her postcard collection on Facebook.

In the late 1990s, she became interested in her family genealogy and this became a passionate hobby for her. She later volunteered her genealogical research skills to others seeking their ancestors in Montana. She loved doing the daily crossword puzzles in ink (with a bottle of “White Out” handy), and reading mystery novels.

Lorene had an unending interest in everything political. She was a diehard moderate Democrat who was thrilled when Barack Obama was elected President. Her family knew she was very opinionated and she seldom left a room without expressing an opinion about something. She avidly read her favorite weekly news magazines from cover to cover each week, as she wanted to know not only what was occurring in the U.S., but in the world as well. She loved being “online” and she checked the online version of The Montana Standard each day, posting her remarks regarding news or political stories under her online user names of “Gypsy” and “Merilyn.” She was very concerned that our elected officials put party ideology far above the best interests of our citizens.

Lorene wanted everyone to know how much she appreciated the wonderful care she received from Dr. Hueftle and his staff at the Frontier Oncology Center, and from the staff at St. James Healthcare Radiation Oncology Treatment Center, both located at St. James Healthcare in Butte, the Highlands-Easter Seals Hospice of Butte and especially Lynn Orr, RN (an advocate you want in your corner when you may have a battle with the powers that be); and last, but not least, the staff of the Crest Nursing Home who are the best! In spite of suffering from cancer, she felt extremely lucky to have survived and thrived for so many years due to the excellent care she received from Dr. Hueftle and his staff, and from the love and support of her family and friends. She had a keen sense of humor, which she shared with all.

Lorene was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 49 years, Robert G. Frigaard, on Nov. 2, 2007; by her mother and stepfather, Mildred and Edward Lieurance in 1978; her father, Ole Oss of Seattle in 1972; her aunt, Ruth Wilson, Ontario, Ore., in 2001, and her uncle, Jack Huffman, Anaconda, in 1941. She was also preceded in death by her dear cats, Gypsy and Critter.

She is survived by her daughters and sons-in-law, Sandra (Jeff) Pack of Idaho Falls, and Terri Frigaard and Bruce Bonar, and step-granddaughter, Tyler Bonar, of Carlsbad, Calif.; cousins, Dorothy (Carlos “Butch”) Rice of Anaconda, and Bette Fries of White Sulphur Springs; a sister-in-law, Joyce Lange, of Charlotte, N.C.; niece, Karen (Gordon) King of Newport, R.I.; and nephew, David Lange, of Charlotte, N.C.


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