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
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
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.