Mary Ellen Solum, age 89, joined her Lord and Savior-Jesus Christ-on December 15th, 2022.
Mary Ellen was born to Harry and Anna Patrick on March 14, 1933, in Lewis County, Missouri. Not long after her birth the family moved to the north Rudyard area in Montana to farm. She was later joined by her brothers, Gene and Ralph. She attended schools in the Rudyard district and graduated in 1951. She enrolled in nursing school at Great Falls College in the fall. Mary Ellen put her nursing education on hold to marry the love of her life, Orville K. Solum, her high school sweetheart. Orville had enlisted in the Air Force and the young couples’ adventures took them to military bases in Sumter, SC, Biloxi, MS and Denver, CO.
Mary Ellen and Orville started their family with Kenneth Duane while in the service. After Orville’s discharge from the air force Mary Ellen and family moved back to Montana to farm with Harry and Anna Patrick. Soon after Edwin Harry Solum joined the family. After a few years to catch their breath, Roger Russell and Philip Scott completed the family. Mary Ellen was a devoted mother, anyone who bothered her cubs felt the wrath of mama bear. She was also cook, bottle washer, nurse and chauffer to the rowdy boys.
Mary Ellen had a love of music and often sang with Orville at church. She and Orville would sing in the car to pass the time. She also loved the piano and made sure the boys were exposed to the fundamentals of music.
Mary Ellen was a wonderful cook and a gracious hostess. Many salesmen knew when lunch time was at the Solum’s, and she would smile and set another plate at the table. She loved her garden and enjoyed the fruits and vegetables well into the winter. Mary Ellen spent countless hours in her flower garden getting up early to beat the heat in the summer. She managed the farm books and would often remind Orville she needed receipts for everything.
Mary Ellen had a love for education, especially history and science, which she passed on to Phil and her grandson, Hans. She spent countless hours as a Sunday School Teacher at Grace Church and the Chester Alliance Church. Mary Ellen was fond of the 2–5-year-old children as was evidenced by the boxes of flannel graph lessons found after she moved in the Sweet Grass Lodge in Chester. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was important to Mary Ellen. She supported many missionaries and provided support for pastors, youth leaders and anyone who needed a hand or a listening ear.
She was active in the Farm Bureau, serving several terms as President and Vice President. Mary Ellen believed in the constitution, voting and had no problem letting elected officials, at all levels, know where she stood on their policies.
Mary Ellen had a vision to raise her children with Godly values to family, community and ultimately God.
She was a cancer survivor and used her faith to get through the long hard therapy and recovery. The early years of the 2000’s was not kind to Mary Ellen. Orville passed away in 2003 and within eighteen months her husband, sons, Kenneth and Russell, had gone to be with the Lord. Again, she used her faith in God to carry on. She stayed at the farm for several more years then moved to the Sweet Grass Lodge. Several more years passed, and health issues required her to move to a care center in Spokane where she passed away.
Mary Ellen was preceded in death by her husband, Orville; sons, Ken and Russ; her parents, Harry and Anna Patrick; brother, Gene; and sister-in-law, Shawn.
Left to honor Mary Ellen’s memory are her sons, Edwin Harry (Sue), Philip Scott (Lynda); grandchildren, Ryan (Amy) Solum, Sonja Solum, Hans (Cyndi) Solum, Kate Solum, Heidi Solum, Megan (Austin) Brewer, Melodi (Jereme) Bintz, Kenneth (CJ) Solum, Timothy Solum, Nathan (Michaela Rogers) Solum, Joey (Cassie) Solum; and great grandchildren, Boone Solum, Miles Solum, Bentley Brewer, EvereƩ Brewer, Silas Brewer, Ethan Bintz, Erin Bintz, Alexander Solum, Aiden Solum, Parker Stuchl Solum, Isabelle Solum. She also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, family, and friends.
Memorials can be made to a charity of one’s choice or The Gideons International.
Memorial service will be held Friday, May 5, at 10am at Calvary Evangelical Church in Rudyard.