As a teenager, he joined many other farm kids in the CCC’s working in the forests. He worked in Glacier Park in Western Montana clearing trees in what would become the future “gem” of the National Park Service. In addition to creating parking lots, trails and camping spots, he worked on what is now the “Going to the Sun” highway - one of the most beautiful drives in the nation.
On July 25, 1942, he married Erma Bjontegarrd at the United Methodist Church in Glasgow, Montana. WWII dawned and he was called to service in the US Army Air Corps. From 1943 to 1945 he served in the “Unknown War” in the Aleutian Islands. He returned in March of 1945 from overseas and ended the war driving for the Russian delegation as a chauffeur in the UN Conference in San Francisco. In October of that year he was furloughed from the service and returned home.
He joined the Black Ranch and worked for John and Roy for 4 years during which time the family lived along the Milk River East of Hinsdale. In 1951, the family moved to the Klind Ranch, south of Hinsdale, ultimately doing the farming of all Waino’s cropland – until he injured his back while carrying a sack of grain pellets to feed cattle during the winter of 1959. From February – June he spent either in the VA Hospital in Miles City or at home in bed.
Unable to do farm work do to the back injury, in July1959, he purchased the Park Grove Bar north of Fort Peck. He and Mom operated this until it was sold in 1982. He then became a brand inspector for the state, which he did for the next 15 years.
Dad was the consummate “fix- it” guy. Like many farmers, by necessity, he developed many skills. Through the US Army Air Corps and his work in the Aleutians he learned carpentry skills. Through the GI Bill, he learned welding, which kept our farm equipment operating. He was proud of his Army experience, but never shared many stories.
The Park Grove Bar echoed with his huge laugh during the time he and Mom operated it. His friends Lud Grose, Mickey Trotter, and others kept everyone on their toes with their practical jokes and stories of the day. Dad discovered there was a shortage of housing for temporary workers in the Ft. Peck area so he hauled in some trailers and bought adjacent land with small houses on it, which he rented out. This provided an adequate income during their retirement years. It kept him busy and everyday he was up and out the door by 7:00 AM with places to go and people to see and grass to cut.
His greatest joy were his grandchildren and great grandchildren. His greatest disappointment was when it became clear that they would have to move to assisted living in Glasgow. His greatest sadness was the loss of Erma his wife of 74 years in October of 2016 and two sons – Bob in Vietnam (1969) and Calvin (2008) to cancer. The men that they became were his greatest pride.
He is survived by sons Harold (Buck) and Vernon; grandchildren Trish Anderson, of Glasgow; Jason of Fort Worth, TX; Jessica Hickson of Luxembourg; Leila Avery of Kalispell; Johannas of Turner; Jennifer of Billings; and Robert of Bowman, N. Dakota; 10 great-grandchildren and many nephews and nieces.
A Memorial Service will be held 10:00 a.m. Saturday, December 16, 2017 at United Methodist Church in Glasgow, Montana with Pastor Howard Pippin officiating. Inurnment will follow at Hillview Cemetery in Hinsdale, Montana at 11:30 a.m. A reception and Celebration of Life will follow at the American Legion Post 45 in Hinsdale. The family requests, that in lieu of flower to consider a donation to the American Legion Auxiliary, Post 45, Hinsdale, MT 59241 or to the NE Montana Veterans Memorial in Fort Peck, P.O. Box 202, Glasgow, MT 59230.
Dot moved frequently with her mother as a young girl and also when her mother married Harry Ackers, a custom agent. She moved 12 times before she graduated from high school in Westby, Montana in 1941. She then moved to Missoula for secretarial classes and on to Great Falls to work at Rocky Mountain Insurance. There she met and established lifetime friendships. She enjoyed going to dances and brought her friends to Opheim to visit her mother and eventually met her first husband, Albin (Fat) Risa. She married Fat on January 1, 1946. He moved her to the family farm in Opheim. Dot, the city girl, adapted to living on the farm where she lived until 2007 and then moved to Glasgow. Lee was born on December 14, 1950 and Brian on February 7, 1954. After Albin's death in 1961, she married Theron Risa on December 28, 1963.
Dot was very involved in First Lutheran Church serving as district secretary, teaching Sunday School, leading the Lutheran women, Bethel Bible Study, and confirmation. In her community, she was on the school board, active in Opheim senior citizens, and a community club member. Their home was always open and welcoming. Dot and Theron's nephew, Kenneth Christofferson, lived with them for 5 years and attended school and graduated in Opheim. All of Dot's grandchildren received handmade quilts for graduation. She enjoyed blessing her family and others with numerous afghans and handiwork. She frequently attended sporting events in Opheim, especially for her grandchildren's ballgames.
She enjoyed family vacations, senior citizen trips and traveling, especially her two trips to Hawaii with Theron and close friends. She and Theron enjoyed ten years of friendships and visiting at Nemont Manor and Prairie Ridge in Glasgow. In her final month she was cared for at Valley View Nursing Home in Glasgow.
She was preceded in death by her mother, father and step-father, her first husband, Albin, brothers, Melvin Ackers and Allen (Millie) Ackers, and grandson, Tyler Risa.
Dot is survived by her husband, Theron of nearly 54 years. She is also survived by two sons, Lee and wife, Terry (Ackerman) of Opheim and Brian and his wife, Diana (Leibrand) of Blackfoot, Idaho; grandchildren, Jessica (Greg) Perry of Pocatello, Idaho, Travis (Candra) Risa of Blackfoot, Idaho, Kari (Cowboy) Murch of Glasgow, Kristy (James) Miller of Taylor, North Dakota and Bryce Risa of Opheim and 9 great-grandchildren Abby, Lily, Tayley, Caleb, Cole, Collin, Callie, Karstin and Kaisen; two sister-in-laws Lenora Ackers of Vancouver, Washington and Pat Risa of Glasgow along with many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Friday, December 8, 2017 at Bell Mortuary in Glasgow, Montana. Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m., Saturday, December 9, 2017 at Opheim Community Church in Opheim, Montana with Pastor Owen Childers officiating. Burial will take place in Lawndale Cemetery in Opheim. A luncheon will follow burial at the church. Memorials can be left in Dorothy’s name to your favorite charity.
She will be missed by her family and friends but has left everyone with memories that will live on.
Glenda was a modest person that loved family and spending time with them. She was the keeper of cleaning up Mother Earth here in Glasgow. She loved the simple things in life, like spending time with her daughters and grandchildren, watching TV, helping others in need, or just taking a stroll around town. She was very hard working and never complained about not having enough. A single mother of two, she was an inspiration to those who knew her best- always putting their needs first but teaching them to enjoy the little things in life.
Glenda is survived by two daughters Heather Sanders (Adam Hooper), and Shelly Sanders (Tim Milam); four grandchildren, Jada Buckman, Julia Buckman, Jack Milam, Jonah Milam; two sisters Sharon Burdett and Terry Johnson; and a special niece Tracy Sanders and her son Blayd Sanders. She is preceded in death by her mother and father, brother Gary Sanders and a great – nephew Damien Sanders.
A Memorial service will be held at 2PM, Thursday, December 7, 2017 at Bell Mortuary. Memorials in honor of Glenda can be left at Bell Mortuary.