Margaret Cecelia Copenhaver Stenseth Glynn (October 18, 1914 to November 27, 2017).
A life well-lived.
Margaret was born to James L. and Alice C. (Kunz) Copenhaver on October 18, 1914 in Creston, WA at the home of her maternal grandparents. She was preceded in birth by her sister Catherine (born in 1913).
When Margaret was 2 years old, the Copenhaver family, which now included Margaret’s infant brother James, loaded their belongings on to a rail car and traveled east to Montana. They settled on the family homestead in what was to become her lifelong family home on the plains, 17 miles east of Brady. Margaret told the story of the trip to many, recalling the horse-drawn wagon ride from the train depot to the home that her father had built for the family; the “mosquitos were so thick that the horses were black.”
Her love for the “good ole farm” started then and became so integral to her being that one cannot think of her without thinking of the farm as well. Her sister Thelma came along in 1917 to complete the family.
Margaret attended one room school houses in the East Brady community in her grade school years and then attended Brady High School (class of 1933). She was very social and involved in high school; playing basketball and traveling with the team by train to towns along the Highline, being Senior Class President and having to recoup funds for the school annual following the stock market crash, and being Valedictorian. Mostly though, she loved to dance.
Following graduation, Margaret attended nurses’ training at Columbus Hospital in Great Falls, MT and received her nursing degree. She worked for a short time at St. Mary’s Hospital in Conrad before spreading her wings and heading to San Francisco in 1937 to join a friend and work as a nurse there. However, a romance that had begun at one of the local dances in Ledger (before moving to CA) eventually called her back home (even to the point of leaving before her final paycheck).
She married Dale V. Stenseth in Conrad in 1939 and in 1941 they welcomed their daughter Sandra into the world. They moved to Staten Island, NY during WWII, and son Robert was born there in 1944. The family returned to Brady and the farm in 1947 as Margaret’s parents were ready to retire.
Margaret and Dale worked tirelessly to keep the farm productive and with that hard work were able to expand. Margaret ran the farm on her own for several years after Dale’s untimely death during harvest of 1957. She would tear up as she recounted how the generous people of the Brady East Community stepped in and finished the harvest for her that year (pictures document 10 combines abreast harvesting the wheat!).
In 1961, Margaret married Earl R. Glynn, a hired hand who had come to the farm to help and who had endeared himself to Margaret by helping her dry dishes after every evening meal. Earl was attentive to her every need and even installed a phone in the bathroom for her numerous daily calls to her best friend and sister, Catherine (aka Sr. Mary Hugh who resided in the family’s town home in Conrad after her own retirement from teaching). Margaret and Earl retired from farming in the early 1980s and enjoyed many foreign travels, winters in NV, and time on the upper Blackfoot River in the cabin they built together in “Lincoln Woods” before Earl passed away in 1996.
Make no mistake though, Margaret was a farmer (not a farmer’s wife) through and through, until she drew her last breath. She was also a gardener, a cook extraordinaire, a baker, a fisherman, a pastry chef, a mechanic, a clammer, a slot machine junkie, a lead foot, a florist, and a friend and confidant.
As much as being a farmer defined Margaret, her God in Heaven always came first in her life, followed very closely by her love of her family. This love has been unconditional, unending and all encompassing. She always had a hot meal and a cozy bed waiting for us when we would arrive. Margaret’s family members can attest that we are better people because of her, and that this world would be a better place if everyone could have someone to love them like she has loved us. She was surrounded by our mutual love for her at the time of her death.
Margaret is survived by her daughter Sandra and son-in-law Jack McInnis of Missoula; her son Robert of Granite Falls, WA; her daughter-in-law Patsy Rogers of Clarkston, WA; 7 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family.
We will all be telling stories of the force of nature Margaret was for the remainder of our lives.
Funeral mass will be held Saturday, December 2, at 10:00 AM at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Conrad.