On July 7, 1918, four months before the end of World War I, a baby girl was born to Anton and Bessie Gamma on a ranch west of Kalispell at Ashley Lake. They named her Mary.
Mary Bessie Gamma was raised on that ranch along with her older brother, Joe, and younger brothers, Frank and Henry. Mary, along with her brothers and the Ben Brist kids from the neighboring ranch, walked more than two miles to a one-room school in all weather conditions to receive a formal education through the eighth grade. Sometimes in the winter they would get a ride with the sled and team if the snow was too deep.
In 1934, at the age of 16 when two ministers came to that area with the gospel message, Mary made her choice to serve God. That choice was the framework for her life for the next 84 years. In her 100 years she saw many changes in life, but the one thing that was unchanging and an anchor to her soul was her faith in God. Mary and her husband, Reuben, cherished the Sunday morning worship meeting in their home and the yearly church convention at their property.
Mom was a beautiful woman who was equally at home playing the piano, driving a team, shooting a rabbit for dinner, or a deer or bear in the fall for the same purpose, or cooking a gourmet meal with very little while extending hospitality to everyone. If you saw the Northern Lights at two in the morning, she would want a call so she could get up and see them also. She always stayed up to see the New Year in. She enjoyed visiting, her garden, getting a good deal, vinegar, and watching the price of bananas.
Mom was always a caregiver and was interested in everyone’s journey. She ran the farm at Ronan when dad was working construction, cared for her ailing mother, then her father-in-law, and later her husband, Reuben, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease.
Mary married Reuben Hoversland on June 16, 1943, and together they raised five children; Joan (Norman)Storment of Cheney, Wash., Leroy (Lindy) Hoversland of Ronan, Rita (Dan) Corcoran of Ronan, Nita (Henry) Brist of Ellensburg, Wash., and Bruce (Bonnie) Hoversland of Edgewood, Wash.
Cherished grandchildren and great-grandchildren are: DeAnn (Dino; Charlie) Karageorges, Lisa (Tyler, Taryn) Clerf, Kim (Charlie; Anton, Lulu, Ronan) Smith, Jennifer (Brad; Xavier, Espn, Arianna, Sophia) Fisher, Suzanne (Brad; Brianna and Brooklyn) Bone, Cherlyn (Adrian; Brian Krislyn) Doble, Mike (Lori; Kira, Joey) Brist, Kennon Brist, Tiana (Jaeger) Libra, Katrina (Nathan; Estelle) Lawrence and Westin Hoversland.
Grandchildren and great-grandchildren were her delight. She was never too busy to have a tea party or to listen to a recap of a game (although she knew little about the sport) or sharing an experience.
Through the loving care of family, she was able to finish her days at home.
She passed away Aug. 9, 2018. She is survived by her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a host of friends and relatives.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 10 a.m. at the Ronan Community Center with a potluck lunch following burial at the Ronan Cemetery. Messages of condolence may be sent to the family online at www.shriderthompson.com.
Shrider-Thompson Funeral Home, Ronan, is assisting the Hoversland family with arrangements.