In memory of
Jeanette Stevenson
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In memory of
Jeanette Stevenson
Jeanette Stevenson Hobson —"Montana's Angus queen," "…the 'voice' of the Angus breed in Montana," "…a remarkable woman with endless energy," "a woman to be admired…honest from the word go," "...a dynamic little person," and "…and encourager of others." These words are the words of many different people. They are words referring to a single woman, Jeanette Potter Stevenson. She was a woman of modest beginning, in her own words, "a homesteader's kid," "a survivor kid." On Sunday, May 10, 2015 Jeanette peacefully passed away in Lewistown, MT, six weeks shy of her 101st birthday. Appropriately, it was Mother's Day as she was exactly that to her own family and so many others. Jeanette was born June 29, 1914, in Miles City and spent her early life on a homestead in Sonnette, Montana, in west Central Powder River County. It is located southwest of the county seat of Broadus. In a piece she wrote for "Reflections at Sunset," a complication of pieces written by members of the Central Montana Writers Group, Jeanette said living on the homestead was not easy. Folks leaving their homes for the lure of free land did not find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Jeanette wrote, "Instead, they found sagebrush, rocks that resisted the plow, rattlesnakes to be feared, and coyotes and bob-cats that preyed on their chickens and turkeys - and wind, always the wind." She commented, however, on what a wonderful life the homesteaders' life was for children. "Children grew up with the smell of pines, the sharp sweetness of the sage after a rain, the acrid gumweed in the hot summer sun, and horses - always horses." "School was an 'iffy' thing," Jeanette recorded, and "books were at a premium." Granddaughter Valerie Carr remembers her gramma telling her how she would ride to school on a horse with her teacher. After 10 years in Sonnette, Edith Potter and her two daughters, Jeanette and Doris, moved to Pierre, South Dakota, where Edith cooked for a railroad crew. Jeanette's dad Frank had left his family to their life on the homestead and lived in Miles City. The couple divorced. In Dakota Edith met Joe Hoven, who worked for the Milwaukee Railroad. Hoven had a brother who lived in Hobson and when Joe was given notice of his job with the railroad ending, he moved to Montana. Edith accepted a position as a housekeeper for Joe, who was by then a widower, in Hobson. She took Jeanette with her, but Jeanette's sister Doris was sent to California to live with an aunt. Jeanette was 13 at the time, an eighth grader. Edith and Joe eventually married; she died in 1939. With little to no formal elementary education, she drifted between the occasional one room schoolhouse and studying on her own. Once moved to Montana, Jeanette attended Hobson High School, where she met her future husband, Jamie R. Stevenson. She was the valedictorian of the Class of 1931. Jeanette's son Keith said his mom skipped many classes. She was a speed reader. "She'd read a book a night," Keith said, "and a lot of times she started from the back to find out what the ending was." Son Jim noted his mother is very smart and was always very hardworking. "If it wasn't for her," Jim said, "there wouldn't be a ranch." After high school graduation Jeanette traveled to Missoula, where she attended the University for a year, beginning nurse's training. Jenni Hammontree, Jeanette's granddaughter, said her grandma had always told her that she had to quit college because after her first year her dad quit sending her money for tuition. Jamie and Jeanette were married in 1936, their main concern after marriage was how to put food on the table. They did what they could to simply survive. "We were married in the height of the Depression and we didn't have an acre of land," Jeanette told Nancy Klemens for the Angus Journal. Eventually they were able to finance and buy 240 acres of land near Hobson on Gumbo Flats. Together with Jamie's parents, they ran 40 cattle and 120 sheep. In time, the couple moved to Hauck Coulee; it is still called the home place, 1 ½ miles southeast of Hobson. They raised five sons, Jim, Wesley (aka Sam), Wayne, Keith, and Rick. Together, Jamie and Jeanette continually upgraded their assets. In 1946 they bought three registered Angus heifers, the beginning of the Stevenson Angus Ranch. By the early 50s the majority of their herd was Angus. Jeanette became a charter member of the Montana Angus Auxiliary in 1960, serving as vice president from 1960-1962 and as president from 1962-1964. She served as the editor of the Montana Angus News magazine from 1967 until the early 80s. Jenni and Valerie remember many of Jeanette's grandkids gathering together to get the magazine ready for mailing. Jeanette volunteered much of her time locally as well, working with the Hobson Woman's Club and the Methodist Church, helping to organize Sunday School. She was president of the PTA, served as Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star, helped to charter the Hobson FFA, and served as a 4-H leader for more than 20 years. "She managed to get every kid to do everything possible, I think," said Roberta, "and Gramma never missed a livestock or 4-H show if her grandchildren were showing." Keith said she was instrumental in convincing Katie Williams to serve as a swimming instructor, which helped to jump start swimming in the area. He also noted Williams had told him his mother was involved in getting the hot lunch program at the Hobson School and the senior center. Jeanette had a hand in saving Hobson's library as well. "There wasn't anything she didn't like to be a part of," Roberta said. "We called her 'Wheels,'" Keith said. "We lived down in a coulee and all you did was see the backend of her wheels as she drove away." She loved to travel and experience the world. Throughout her life there were many trips to the California coast to visit extended family. The annual livestock shows and meetings, anything to do with Angus. Some of the most memorable trips included a visit to the Holy Land, travels in Australia and France, riding a camel in Egypt (in her 70's) and viewing the Serengeti from a hot air balloon (in her 80's). Jeanette's family describes her as straightforward. "She didn't ask for anything," Keith said. "She told you what to do." But she got things done that way. Jeanette was the Stevenson matriarch. She raised turkeys and sheep and even had a milk cow. One might wonder how a woman who was always on the go had time for a milk cow. "She delegated somebody to go milk the cow," Keith said. According to Roberta, whoever was with their gramma at the time was her favorite. "And it wasn't just her 15 grandchildren who called her Gramma," Valerie said. "Everybody called her Gramma." "We always felt like her home was our home," Jenni said. And her hospitality was open not just to her family - to anybody. Jeanette was good about giving people down on their luck a hand up, even to giving them a place to live. She gave a home to several children who had family problems of one kind or another. "They just showed up," Marian said. "It was nothing formal. They had kind of a dormitory upstairs in the older days so it was full of beds. Whichever boys got home first, got the beds." "I remember her butchering chickens," Valerie said. Jeanette loved cooking. "She never followed a recipe," Roberta said, "and she was a great pie baker." People were always welcome at her home for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie. Jim said she always told her children, "You're no bigger than your dreams. If you dream big, you can do big things." And Jim's son Jim, Jeanette's oldest grandchild said, "Every person that ever met Gramma walked away wanting to do bigger and better things." Jamie Stevenson died in 1975 at the age of 62. That same summer Jeanette was involved in a car accident that nearly took her life. In 1976 she split and sold the ranch to her boys. "That's how all five boys got going," Keith said. Jeanette served as president of the American Angus Auxiliary in 1978-1979 and was named their Distinguished Woman of the Year in 1986. She was inducted into the Montana State Fair Pioneer Hall of Fame in 1981 for her "distinguished and unselfish service." She served on the Governor's Council for Aging and was recognized in 1990 as Montana's Outstanding Senior Volunteer. In 1991 she was formally inducted into the Angus Heritage Foundation, the second woman ever to receive this honor. Jeanette embraced life and lived it to the fullest. Her many accomplishments, recognitions and awards are a wonderful testament to her life's work. Moreover was her undying love, passion and support for family and friends, she knew no stranger and emanated a never-ending optimism that will influence for generations to come. Jeanette was preceded in death by her parents Frank Potter and Edith Hoven, her sister Doris Gary, her husband Jamie Stevenson, three sons Wayne, Wesley and Rick and a great-grandson, Bryce Piocos. She is survived by two sons, Keith and Jimmy, 15 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren along with an extended family of in-laws, nieces and nephews. The family suggests memorials in Jeanette's honor be sent to the Hobson Library or Hobson Methodist Church. Funeral Services were held Friday, May 15, 2015. Arrangements were under the care of Creel Funeral Home. Jeanette's family and friends are invited to share memories and condolences online at www.creelfuneralhome.com
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In memory of
Jeanette Stevenson
Jeanette Stevenson Hobson —"Montana's Angus queen," "…the 'voice' of the Angus breed in Montana," "…a remarkable woman with endless energy," "a woman to be admired…honest from the word go," "...a dynamic little person," and "…and encourager of others." These words are the words of many different people. They are words referring to a single woman, Jeanette Potter Stevenson. She was a woman of modest beginning, in her own words, "a homesteader's kid," "a survivor kid." On Sunday, May 10, 2015 Jeanette peacefully passed away in Lewistown, MT, six weeks shy of her 101st birthday. Appropriately, it was Mother's Day as she was exactly that to her own family and so many others. Jeanette was born June 29, 1914, in Miles City and spent her early life on a homestead in Sonnette, Montana, in west Central Powder River County. It is located southwest of the county seat of Broadus. In a piece she wrote for "Reflections at Sunset," a complication of pieces written by members of the Central Montana Writers Group, Jeanette said living on the homestead was not easy. Folks leaving their homes for the lure of free land did not find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Jeanette wrote, "Instead, they found sagebrush, rocks that resisted the plow, rattlesnakes to be feared, and coyotes and bob-cats that preyed on their chickens and turkeys - and wind, always the wind." She commented, however, on what a wonderful life the homesteaders' life was for children. "Children grew up with the smell of pines, the sharp sweetness of the sage after a rain, the acrid gumweed in the hot summer sun, and horses - always horses." "School was an 'iffy' thing," Jeanette recorded, and "books were at a premium." Granddaughter Valerie Carr remembers her gramma telling her how she would ride to school on a horse with her teacher. After 10 years in Sonnette, Edith Potter and her two daughters, Jeanette and Doris, moved to Pierre, South Dakota, where Edith cooked for a railroad crew. Jeanette's dad Frank had left his family to their life on the homestead and lived in Miles City. The couple divorced. In Dakota Edith met Joe Hoven, who worked for the Milwaukee Railroad. Hoven had a brother who lived in Hobson and when Joe was given notice of his job with the railroad ending, he moved to Montana. Edith accepted a position as a housekeeper for Joe, who was by then a widower, in Hobson. She took Jeanette with her, but Jeanette's sister Doris was sent to California to live with an aunt. Jeanette was 13 at the time, an eighth grader. Edith and Joe eventually married; she died in 1939. With little to no formal elementary education, she drifted between the occasional one room schoolhouse and studying on her own. Once moved to Montana, Jeanette attended Hobson High School, where she met her future husband, Jamie R. Stevenson. She was the valedictorian of the Class of 1931. Jeanette's son Keith said his mom skipped many classes. She was a speed reader. "She'd read a book a night," Keith said, "and a lot of times she started from the back to find out what the ending was." Son Jim noted his mother is very smart and was always very hardworking. "If it wasn't for her," Jim said, "there wouldn't be a ranch." After high school graduation Jeanette traveled to Missoula, where she attended the University for a year, beginning nurse's training. Jenni Hammontree, Jeanette's granddaughter, said her grandma had always told her that she had to quit college because after her first year her dad quit sending her money for tuition. Jamie and Jeanette were married in 1936, their main concern after marriage was how to put food on the table. They did what they could to simply survive. "We were married in the height of the Depression and we didn't have an acre of land," Jeanette told Nancy Klemens for the Angus Journal. Eventually they were able to finance and buy 240 acres of land near Hobson on Gumbo Flats. Together with Jamie's parents, they ran 40 cattle and 120 sheep. In time, the couple moved to Hauck Coulee; it is still called the home place, 1 ½ miles southeast of Hobson. They raised five sons, Jim, Wesley (aka Sam), Wayne, Keith, and Rick. Together, Jamie and Jeanette continually upgraded their assets. In 1946 they bought three registered Angus heifers, the beginning of the Stevenson Angus Ranch. By the early 50s the majority of their herd was Angus. Jeanette became a charter member of the Montana Angus Auxiliary in 1960, serving as vice president from 1960-1962 and as president from 1962-1964. She served as the editor of the Montana Angus News magazine from 1967 until the early 80s. Jenni and Valerie remember many of Jeanette's grandkids gathering together to get the magazine ready for mailing. Jeanette volunteered much of her time locally as well, working with the Hobson Woman's Club and the Methodist Church, helping to organize Sunday School. She was president of the PTA, served as Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star, helped to charter the Hobson FFA, and served as a 4-H leader for more than 20 years. "She managed to get every kid to do everything possible, I think," said Roberta, "and Gramma never missed a livestock or 4-H show if her grandchildren were showing." Keith said she was instrumental in convincing Katie Williams to serve as a swimming instructor, which helped to jump start swimming in the area. He also noted Williams had told him his mother was involved in getting the hot lunch program at the Hobson School and the senior center. Jeanette had a hand in saving Hobson's library as well. "There wasn't anything she didn't like to be a part of," Roberta said. "We called her 'Wheels,'" Keith said. "We lived down in a coulee and all you did was see the backend of her wheels as she drove away." She loved to travel and experience the world. Throughout her life there were many trips to the California coast to visit extended family. The annual livestock shows and meetings, anything to do with Angus. Some of the most memorable trips included a visit to the Holy Land, travels in Australia and France, riding a camel in Egypt (in her 70's) and viewing the Serengeti from a hot air balloon (in her 80's). Jeanette's family describes her as straightforward. "She didn't ask for anything," Keith said. "She told you what to do." But she got things done that way. Jeanette was the Stevenson matriarch. She raised turkeys and sheep and even had a milk cow. One might wonder how a woman who was always on the go had time for a milk cow. "She delegated somebody to go milk the cow," Keith said. According to Roberta, whoever was with their gramma at the time was her favorite. "And it wasn't just her 15 grandchildren who called her Gramma," Valerie said. "Everybody called her Gramma." "We always felt like her home was our home," Jenni said. And her hospitality was open not just to her family - to anybody. Jeanette was good about giving people down on their luck a hand up, even to giving them a place to live. She gave a home to several children who had family problems of one kind or another. "They just showed up," Marian said. "It was nothing formal. They had kind of a dormitory upstairs in the older days so it was full of beds. Whichever boys got home first, got the beds." "I remember her butchering chickens," Valerie said. Jeanette loved cooking. "She never followed a recipe," Roberta said, "and she was a great pie baker." People were always welcome at her home for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie. Jim said she always told her children, "You're no bigger than your dreams. If you dream big, you can do big things." And Jim's son Jim, Jeanette's oldest grandchild said, "Every person that ever met Gramma walked away wanting to do bigger and better things." Jamie Stevenson died in 1975 at the age of 62. That same summer Jeanette was involved in a car accident that nearly took her life. In 1976 she split and sold the ranch to her boys. "That's how all five boys got going," Keith said. Jeanette served as president of the American Angus Auxiliary in 1978-1979 and was named their Distinguished Woman of the Year in 1986. She was inducted into the Montana State Fair Pioneer Hall of Fame in 1981 for her "distinguished and unselfish service." She served on the Governor's Council for Aging and was recognized in 1990 as Montana's Outstanding Senior Volunteer. In 1991 she was formally inducted into the Angus Heritage Foundation, the second woman ever to receive this honor. Jeanette embraced life and lived it to the fullest. Her many accomplishments, recognitions and awards are a wonderful testament to her life's work. Moreover was her undying love, passion and support for family and friends, she knew no stranger and emanated a never-ending optimism that will influence for generations to come. Jeanette was preceded in death by her parents Frank Potter and Edith Hoven, her sister Doris Gary, her husband Jamie Stevenson, three sons Wayne, Wesley and Rick and a great-grandson, Bryce Piocos. She is survived by two sons, Keith and Jimmy, 15 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren along with an extended family of in-laws, nieces and nephews. The family suggests memorials in Jeanette's honor be sent to the Hobson Library or Hobson Methodist Church. Funeral Services were held Friday, May 15, 2015. Arrangements were under the care of Creel Funeral Home. Jeanette's family and friends are invited to share memories and condolences online at www.creelfuneralhome.com
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