Mildred Grace Ross, age 93, passed away on Thursday, December 20, 2012 at the Prairie Community Nursing Home in Terry. Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 3, 2013 at the Terry Presbyterian Community Church in Terry with Pastor Leon Rathbun officiating. Private family interment will be held in the Prairie County Cemetery in Terry. Silvernale-Silha Funeral Home of Glendive has been entrusted with the arrangements.
Milly was born in a homesteader’s shack on June 11, 1919 in McCone County, Montana, the second of three daughters of Henry and Ruth Beason. In her autobiography that had been written in 2009, she had described her life in that cabin with her two sisters as “quite cozy and self sufficient, in spite of drought, grasshoppers and hail. The days were filled with hauling water from a spring, mining their own coal and growing garden necessities. They also raised their own chickens, hogs and beef.”
At the age of five, Milly started school with her six year old sister having two children in the first grade class. The one room schoolhouse was a mile and a half away and the sisters often walked. Some potent memories of those early days include a time when all the young children were taken to the high school in Circle to have their tonsils and adenoids removed and easy summer evenings playing games and singing western songs.
In 1926, a brother was born. Milly’s father took a job in Circle, Montana as deputy-sheriff and moved their family to town. Henry was later elected sheriff and served in that capacity for more than 20 years.
In high school, Milly was recognized for her musical talent. An impressed teacher once wrote that she had “talent to spare” and he had hoped “to see Milly in front of a group of performers some day.” Music became a passion that defined much of the rest of her life.
In 1938, Milly studied at a beauty school in Billings where she earned her license. Her first job as a hair dresser was in Terry, Montana. Milly engaged in many social activities with a nice group of young people including a farm boy who worked in the grocery store next to the beauty salon. David Ross and Milly were united in marriage in 1941 in California where David worked in an airplane factory. Soon, two daughters, Donna and Della arrived. Milly enjoyed the warm California climate and became a proficient gardener. In 1947, the family moved back to Terry to take over the Ross family farm. Milly’s skill as a gardener sustained the family all year around. She was an expert seamstress, sewing beautiful clothes for herself and her daughters.
In 1952, a third daughter, Dixie joined the family. Milly was an active part of the Terry Community Presbyterian Church where she taught Sunday school and served on the church governing council for over twenty-six years. Milly shared her love of music, playing the piano and organ for services, weddings and funerals for an estimated 53 years. Milly used her music outside of church as well, accompanying many high school solos, groups or choirs. She guided and encouraged talent in others. Milly socialized with neighbors, planning events for the county fair and other activities. In the farming traditions, the family often went to the aid of others.
Mildred was preceded in death by her husband; her brother and one sister, Arlene.
She is survived by her sister, Evelyn; her three daughters, Donna, Della and Dixie; eight grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be given to the Scholarship Fund of the Terry Community Presbyterian Church, the Prairie County Hospital Foundation or a charity of one’s choice.
Her passion for African violets is well known as she delighted in sticking a leaf in the dirt, watching it grow and then giving it away. One of Milly’s requests was that her funeral be decorated with African Violets. The community is invited to share an African violet during the service so the sanctuary can be filled with her favorite plants.
Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at:
Published Jan 2, 2013