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1930 Grace Richter 2023

Grace Richter

December 9, 1930 — December 28, 2023

Joplin

Grace Miles Richter passed away Wednesday, December 28, 2024, at the age of 93

after a long struggle with complications from Parkinson disease.

Grace Fern Miles was born December 9, 1930, to homesteaders Russell and Alba

Miles north of Joplin, Montana. She always said she was the daughter of a

homesteader, born at home with the help of a mid-wife. She was the last of five

daughters born into the family. Sometime before the age of 5 her father was out of

the home and she never really remembered him. Alba never remarried so it was

Alba and five daughters that kept the homestead going and even expanded it

through time. The original homestead is still in the family and is operated by one

of the sons.

Grace attended grade school at the Alma Country School near the farm. She

claims she burned all the report cards so we were never able to confirm that! As a

little girl she often walked about two miles to the school and remembered she was

afraid because she had to cross one fence into a pasture with a bull in it…. until the

neighbor was kind enough to move the bull. High school was in Joplin Montana

where farm kids stayed in the dorm particularly in winter months. She graduated

from Joplin High School in 1948 and then attended school to become a beautician

and whether we liked it or not she cut a lot of her son’s hair over the years. She

worked in beauty shops in Cut Bank and Great Falls for a short time. On January

21, 1950, Grace married Frank Louis Richter, her high school sweetheart, and the

young couple moved to the Miles homestead to take over the farming operations.

They remained on the farm raising three sons and one daughter before retiring to a

home in Joplin in the early 1990s. Frank and Grace remained married for 64 years

until his passing in 2014.

Frank had lost his dad at age 7 and as noted above, mom never really knew her

dad. They both grew up without a “father figure” in the house in the depression

years and no loose coins lying about. Then the war(s). And we sometimes think

we’ve got it tough now. Like many folks of that vintage they learned to be frugal,

canned everything that could be canned then tried to can things she thought maybe

could be canned, bought in bulk, milked cows, plucked our own chickens (us kids

can still remember that smell), ran with equipment older than it should have been

but it worked, fixed everything rather than buying new, shopped in the thrift stores

or wherever they could get a deal, had a work ethic that puts us to shame… but

some of it has rubbed off on us kids.… and the grandkids too. Like many a

 

daughter in that era, she helped on the farm, driving truck and handling chores.

She claims she used to milk three cows a day to sell the cream so she could buy

something extravagant… like nice silk stockings. And later as a farm wife she

would be moving the fuel pickup, unloading a combine on the go, usually with a

little kid in the seat beside her, then running home to make lunch and dinner. Later

when the sons were managing the farm, she would make it out to the field every

year to ride with the boys or girls on the combine and help with dinner…up until

the last few harvests when Parkinsons complications started to take its toll.

Some things that you might remember about mom was that if she said we were

meeting at 2 and you weren’t there by 1:30 you were late! And in the era before

cell phones, she would call around to find out where you were until she found

somebody who knew. If you were one of the kids and weren’t there 30 minutes

early you heard about it, but if you were just a friend from the community you got

to skate by…. and you probably never knew that. In later years, she was always

afraid about being left behind, which we discovered was a result of being left at a

deserted train depot in Chester late one night with no one to pick her up…. that

was an interesting story she told us one evening and we understand how a young

teenage girl would have felt at the time! She was a seamstress and later in life

quite a quilter, often making quilts with the church or community ladies and

making quilts for the grandkids.

None of us can ever remember her missing one of the kids or grandkids ball

games, wherever it was, for over 50 years. She often fed the grandkids’ team

before or after a game. She loved good card games, in particular pinochle and the

winter card parties and teaching the games to kids. She had a great recipe for

crème de menthe homemade ice cream that we used to hand churn on holidays.

Mom and dad were good dancers and often went out with friends. The kids all

“kinda” learned how to dance with some of her instruction. Lawrence Welk was a

staple on the TV menu and not to be missed. She always gave time for making

meals for community events and always was willing to help clean up or prepare the

church or community hall. And if you showed up at the house you WERE going to

eat. It’s something you HAD TO DO, even if you tried to explain you were trying

to lose a few pounds or had just eaten, the fridge was open, the oven was on and

the plates were being set as you were trying to get the words out.

Mom never left the house before she had herself very nicely “adorned”. It might

be 20 degrees, the wind howling 30 mph and she was headed to a football game

but by golly her hair was fixed and she was well dressed when she walked out the

door! Even in her older age when she could afford shopping at nice stores, she

 

continued to shop at a bargain store or thrift shop when she could and would often

come home with very nice clothes, maybe once worn, that looked terrific on her!

She would kinda brag about the deal she got on an outfit and you usually wouldn’t

have known if she didn’t tell you.

Mom and dad were not world travelers. They made an occasional trip to see

relatives in California or Missouri or chased the oldest son’s grandkids to Texas

and Louisiana once or twice. In retirement, they were part of a trailer camping

club until dad became incapacitated. But mom lived a vigorous good life near the

soil which she was born on, soil they nurtured to life, soil that feeds her family

today, and within miles of which she passed away. The grass is sometimes pretty

darn green right where you are. And the friends and family were near and dear.

She lugged all us kids to Sunday School every week even in the face of a good old

Montana blizzard and we remember having to sleep over one night at a farm house

near the church. She taught Sunday School for many years at Immanuel Lutheran

Church north of Joplin. Us kids owe it to her for starting us on our faith journey as

best as she could… she at least pointed us in the right direction and if we are

somewhat “wobbling” along the right path today it is because of her.

She is survived by four children: son Del and his wife Dena of Bozeman (with

their children Meredith, Matt, and Kelly); daughter Delia Lybeck and husband Kip

of Joplin (with their children Drue Ann, Bryony, Josh, and Laine); son Rick of

Joplin (with his children Shay and Kylie); son Bruce and his wife Heidi of Joplin

(with their sons Brandon, Cory, and Spencer). She leaves behind the twelve

grandchildren and was blessed to see sixteen great grandchildren born into the

family. Grace was preceded in death by her parents, Russell and Alba Miles, her

husband Frank, and all her sisters: Refa Joy, Lillian Dyrud, Pauline Sciuchetti, and

Opal Fladstol.

Memorial donations can be given to the Joplin Community Hall, the Joplin

Community Park, The Golden Triangle Center in Joplin, or the organization of

your choice. She always liked supporting the local community.

Mom and Dad….. you set some pretty high standards for us kids to live up to.

Thank you and God Bless.

 

Services will be held Wednesday, January 3, 2024 at 11:00am at Bethel Lutheran Church in Joplin.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Grace Richter, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Grace's Funeral Service

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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