Iva was the first of four children born to Malvin and Margaret Matteson on July 4th 1928, at the Deaconess Hospital in Great Falls. She was joined in 1931 by her brother Leonard, in 1934 by her sister Christabel and in 1945 by her sister Phyllis. They were raised north of Galata on the Matteson homestead. In the early years there was no running water or electricity on the farm. When arriving at church in the winter, the cars were often left running so the water would not freeze in the radiator.
Iva loved spending long hours in the shop with her dad. She learned the methods of blacksmithing and how to use the old drill press. No, it was not electric. As she got older, her dad taught her how to drive the water truck so she could haul water back from the spring. In 2010 Iva helped her brother Leonard celebrate the Matteson farm’s 100th year anniversary. It was a proud day for the entire family.
She attended grade school at Grandview just south of their home. The school usually ran 8 months from March into November which left plenty of time to go sledding on Grassy Butte in the winter. Her first year of high school was in Galata in 1942. Galata High School closed the following year and Iva entered the halls of Shelby High school. She boarded with various families during her 3 years at Shelby High School graduating in 1946. This was during WWII and she remembers that the school would often be dismissed so they could give the young men who were drafted a proper farewell. The band would play and tears would be shed as the young men boarded the train headed for war.
Following her graduation Iva attended Concordia College in Moorhead, MN completing a bachelor’s degree in Science in 1950. She got her nursing degree from Fairview hospital in Minneapolis. While on an Amtrak train traveling from Shelby back to college she met Allen Kolstad. On September 2nd of 1951, they were married at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Chester. Allen and Iva moved to the farm where she lived for the next 65 years. Iva loved the farm and enjoyed raising her children there. Their kids attended the Sherrard School until 1967 when they bought a house in Chester where they lived during the school year for the next 9 years. Iva did a great job of raising her kids in Chester but her heart was always at the farm. She could hardly wait to move back each spring.
Following the graduation of their youngest daughter Corrine in 1976, Allen and Iva spent part of their winters in Arizona. The odd years of course were spent in Helena as Allen served in the legislature until 1988. That year he was elected Lt. Governor and Iva became Montana’s 2nd lady. She did a lot of traveling with Allen and was a great ambassador for the state of Montana. One of her highlights was attending Allen’s swearing in ceremony at the US Capital, when he was appointed the US/Canadian border commissioner in 1991.
Allen and Iva continued to split their time between Mesa, Arizona and the farm. Allen passed away in 2008 and In 2015 Iva moved to her new home in Chester. Although it was difficult to leave her home of over 50 years on the farm, she grew to love her house in town, complete with a handyman right next door. She lived there until the spring of 2021 when the family decided it was safer for her to move to the Wheat Country Estates.
Allen and Iva had many great trips together. Some of their favorites were Hawaii, numerous cruises, Hong Kong and a special trip to Norway.
Iva had a lot of hobbies which kept her busy. Her favorite activity on the farm was hunting arrowheads. She loved archeology and was well read on the subject. She loved crafts and loved making them with her family, friends and 4-H clubs. Other hobbies included gardening, playing the piano, St. Olaf church historian and writing. She was a talented writer.
Iva belonged to numerous organizations. One of her favorites was the Chester Garden Club. Other organizations include her Bible study groups, Republican Women, 4-H, Sons of Norway and Legislative Wives to name a few.
Her accomplishments included getting the Lewis and Clark rest stop built looking over Tiber Dam, over 50 years of reporting for local papers, co-author of Our Heritage (a book about the early homesteaders in Liberty County), church organist in 7 different decades, 4-H leader, Montana Capital restoration committee, writer of numerous St. Olaf church anniversary celebrations, author of the Liberty County Pageant for the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration and of course an award-winning bread baker. The one thing she was the most proud of was being a good and loyal farm wife, mother and grandmother. She loved her family and enjoyed watching it grow over the years.
Iva was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years Allen; daughter, Corrine Neill; her infant son, Cary David Kolstad; her parents, Malvin and Margaret Matteson; brother, Leonard Matteson; sisters, Christabel Matteson and Phyllis Matteson McGuire.
She is survived by her 3 children and their spouses, Cedric (Tomi) Kolstad of Mesa, Arizona, Chris (Vicki) Kolstad of Ledger, and Cheryl (Jim) Gagnon of Fort Benton and Hong Kong; 11 grandchildren, Tara Kolstad, Krystal Kolstad, Allen Kolstad, Amanda (Brent) Petrick, Cary David Kolstad, Brittney (Logan) Anderson, Daina Kolstad, Alex Gagnon, Benjamin (Amber) Gagnon, Robert Neill and Jeffrey Neill; and 4 great grandchildren, Ainsley, Asher and Addisyn Petrick and Jace Anderson.
Visitation will be Monday, January 17, at Rockman Funeral Chapel from 5 to 7pm. Funeral Service will be Tuesday, January 18, at 11am at Our Savior Lutheran Church. A reception at the church will follow.