Celebrating the life of Kathryn Isabel Ellison
Be the first to share your favorite memory, photo or story of Kathryn. This memorial page is dedicated for family, friends and future generations to celebrate the life of their loved one.
We ask on behalf of the family that you keep your comments uplifting and appropriate to help all who come here to find comfort and healing.
Kathryn Isabel Hoiland was born December 2, 1927 in Big Timber, Montana. She was the fourth of eight children born to Ivar Hoiland and Anna (Rapstad) Hoiland and grew up on Lower Sweet Grass Ranch, where her father raised sheep. Although a quiet child, her nickname was Skjaere, which means “magpie” in Norwegian. When reflecting on her childhood, Kathryn recalled her mom’s special birthday cakes, making 14 loaves of bread at a time, feeding bum lambs, huddling next to heated milk jugs to stay warm on the way in to town, and stepping outside to listen for cowbells to figure out where the cows were.
Kathryn attended grade school at Howie School before graduating high school from SGHS. One of the lessons she learned in childhood was that “you can do things on your own if you have to.”
After high school, Kathryn was introduced to Archie Ellison by her best friend and his sister, Ellen (Ellison) Yost. Archie and Kathryn married on June 14, 1947 in Livingston MT and lived on the East Boulder until 1956, when they moved to the Main Boulder near McLeod. They were married for 59 years until Archie’s death in 2006. Kathryn always remembered Archie with fondness and felt better whenever he was around. They rode horses together since their first date up the Boulder, and loved to dance together.
Kathryn raised 4 children John (Chita) Ellison, Jim (Kathy Kenner) Ellison, Loren Ellison, and Carmen (Dave) Hodges. When asked about her children, she would proudly say, “They turned out pretty good.” Favorite memories of raising her children included John coming home from school and saying he learned to “sit down and shut up,” holding Jim’s head up while Archie cut his hair because he always fell asleep, Loren cutting his eyelashes so he “wouldn’t get bogged down in the snow,” and twisting Carmen’s curls around her finger.
She is survived by one sister, Margaret Downing, of Spokane WA, her 4 children, 10 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded I death by siblings Joe Hoiland, Ardelle Dobbs, Inez Cook, Art Hoiland, Jean Duffey, and Arlene Barkley. Kathryn was grateful to have grown up in a large family, where they played well together and always kept each other company.
A beloved mother and sister, Kathryn was also a cherished grandmother. She remembered her grandchildren running down the hall barefoot and playing with empty boxes on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and said that her happiest moments in life were always when her family was together, especially for the holidays.
Kathryn was a hardworking ranch wife for years, and cooked many pot roasts and pies for her family, ranch hands, threshing crews, and branding crews. Her rolls were especially a crowd favorite and are still remembered as “the best rolls known to man.” She and her family also hand-milked up to 20 cows, and took cream cans to the local creamery before buying groceries on Fridays. Kathryn was proud of how hard her family worked and described them as “good, working people.” This is an accurate description of her as well.
Kathryn was kind, cheerful, helpful, and supportive. She demonstrated unconditional love and acceptance as a mother and grandmother, and will be remembered as a gentle soul, hard worker, and “a true lady.” Kathryn once said that the most important lesson she learned in life was to “be kind to others and be helpful when you could be,” and this is a lesson she truly lived.
The family would like to thank Sharon Brewer, Cathy Henry, Nikki Todd, Brenda Dietmeier, and Danette Andersch for their caring help during the last years of her life.
Viewing will be from 4:00-8:00 P.M. Friday July 16 at Stenberg Funeral Home and funeral services will be held 10:00 A.M Saturday, July 17th at the Big Timber Lutheran Church with interment following at Mountain View Cemetery. Memorials in Kathryn’s name may be made to the Big Timber Lutheran Church, PO Box 278, Big Timber, MT 59011
To plant a tree in memory of Kathryn Isabel Ellison, visit the Tribute Store.
215 Anderson Street
PO Box 723
Big Timber, MT 59011
115 West 4th Avenue
PO Box 278
Big Timber, MT 59011
West of Big Timber
Big Timber, MT 59011