By Kay Braddock
Between family gatherings, church functions, community center activities and part-time volunteer work at the county museum, Elaine Roos has little loafing time, and she’d just as soon keep it that way.
“I can’t imagine anyone being bored,” Roos said. Adding in her characteristically matter-of-fact way, “If they are it’s their own fault.”
Roos recently celebrated her 98th birthday in typical fashion -surrounded by family. With two of her three children living in the area, along with grown grandchildren, family get-togethers are a common occurrence.
“My family is very good to me. They’ve got me spoiled rotten,” she said, smiling.
Her son John and his wife Joanne live north of Terry, while daughter Delores and husband Chris Cameron have made their home in Miles City. Daughter Patricia and husband Francis Dobrowski live in Nevada. Her family also includes eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Being the oldest of six girls and one boy, large family get-togethers have always been a way of life.
“Maybe money wasn’t plentiful, but we had everything that counts. We had a great home life,” she said.
Her growing up years did not exclude heartbreaks. As a freshman in high school, Roos recalled the death of her five-year-old brother. Her parents relied greatly on their faith to help them with the loss, she shared.
It’s a faith she has continued to carry through in her own life.
“If I’m not sick, which I’m very seldom sick, I go (to church) every Sunday,” she shared.
Chores were harder growing up than they are now, Roos said, explaining horses rather than equipment were used to work on the family farm. In a family surrounded by women, her father had one philosophy that left a lasting impression.
“The barn was no place for a woman,” Roos said, explaining her father’s thinking. That meant she and her mother and sisters didn’t have to milk cows. It was one chore she didn’t miss. “I thought that was great myself.”
After graduating from Dawson County High School in 1930, Roos attended five quarters at Montana State Normal College in Dillon, attaining her first grade certificate. She taught four years at the Bidwell School, west of Lindsay, before marrying husband Joe and settling on the family farm north of Terry. The couple would eventually move to Terry in 1976.
What’s the secret to living a long life?
“I have good genes,” she explained, pointing out her father lived to be 93, while her mother lived to be 96.
Published May 27, 2009