Clarice Mae (Woldstad) Aakre slipped away from this earth on the bright, clear morning of December 10, 2020 to rejoin her beloved husband, Tib; son, Russell and daughter, Karen. She will also be welcomed home by her parents, Sigvart K. and Cora (Sundby) Woldstad; her sisters, Stella, Alice, and Martha; as well as her brothers, Carrol, Melvin, Selmar, and Marion. Those of her family’s generation left here are brothers-in -law, Norman Stordahl, Duncan Burford, and sister-in-law, Joni Woldstad.
Her surviving immediate family are daughter, Charlotte (Loren) Klette and their son, Scott and daughter, Cheri; Karen’s daughters Jill Gaskins and Dawn Tolang and son, Ringo (Kim) Paminto; Daniel (Teresa) Aakre and their sons, Benjamin (Darcie) and Matthew; as well as numerous great-grandchildren.
Clarice, (rhymes with Paris) was born July 28th, 1927. She was raised on her parent’s reservation homestead just north of Birch Creek between Valier and Cut Bank here in Montana. With a combination of solid, down to earth Norwegian upbringing and the challenges of this environment she developed a strong work ethic supported by her Christian morality. She was a child of the Great Depression, a young lady during the second World War, a Mom during the ‘cold war’ years, a Grandmother on 09/11, and a patient prisoner during this Covid pandemic. These things she survived with faith, strength, and hope.
She was a young teacher at Brownell school west of Conrad when Albert “Tib”, recently discharged from the Marines after WW II, noticed her and asked her to the movies by way of student proxy. She agreed, with the stipulations that she could bring along her sister, Martha, and that he would shave and get a haircut. They married on a windy October 17th, 1947 and moved ¾ mile south of the homestead where he was raised. They raised a family of four there, instilling pride in achievement, responsibility, self -reliance, and the absolute rejection of prejudice.
She had a fierce love of education, bestowed in large part by her immigrant father, Sig. She finished her formal education as her children grew, attaining degrees from Northern Montana College and Eastern Montana College. She managed this while caring for the family and teaching school, first at Higgins country school then the third grade in Conrad at the Meadowlark Elementary School and Prairie View School. Teaching was her profession, and the students were her passion. Each new class began as a “barely controllable bunch of hooligans” which she molded into a “fairly capable” bunch by Thanksgiving or Christmas, and she believed were “about the sweetest, brightest, likely the best” class she ever taught by the spring. And during her final years each, and every caregiver that she respected had to have been in her class.
During retirement she made a point to travel to Norway a couple of times and enjoyed visits from relatives from far and near. She did some travelling as her health and responsibilities allowed. She researched her genealogy and wrote a book, The Skogstad-Sundby Saga, detailing the immigrant life. She dearly loved her grandchildren and pampered them without fear of “spoiling ‘em”. She lived with Tib on the farm until he agreed to move into the Horizon Lodge a few years ago.
After Tib died, she lived alone until her failing health convinced her to live at Pondera Medical Center’s Extended Care Facility. She remarked often that was “just the right place for me” and received excellent care from nursing and administrative staff as well as enjoying the activities, particularly winning Bingo.
Clarice was a strong, bright, caring wife, mother, teacher, and a true Norwegian. This world is a better place because of her life.
Memorial services will be held Tuesday, December 15, at 11:00 AM at Pondera Valley Lutheran Church.
Social distancing protocol will be enforced.
To watch the service Tuesday, December 15, at 11Am with ZOOM, Click https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86200925728?pwd=S3g3ekMzbnY1VnowTFhrSW9BRnJ1dz09
The meeting will not start until 10 minutes prior to service.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Clarice Mae Aakre, please visit our floral store.