Mary (Toews) Sperry Reddig went to her heavenly home Saturday morning, Oct. 12, 2013, at the age of 88.
Burial will be Saturday, Oct. 19, at 9:30 a.m. in the Lustre M.B. Cemetery. A memorial service will take place at the Glasgow Evangelical Church at 2:30 p.m.
She was born June 20, 1925, to Abram and Helena (Martens) Toews in Lustre, Mont. The local midwife, Mrs. Baker, was not available, so Tina Born was there to help. The name “Mary” was chosen by Helena in remembrance of her own infant sisters. She was ninth in the family of 13 siblings, 11 of them being girls.
She grew up much like many of the Lustre farm families at the time – doing her share in the routines of farm work. In a family such as this, there was cooking, gardening, milking cows, herding cows, feeding chickens, laundry; as well as helping with fieldwork because there were only two brothers. She didn’t like the fieldwork so much and preferred housework. This carried on through her whole life as was evidenced by her gifts of baking, cooking, hospitality and making people feel comfortable and loved.
As a farm girl of that time, she also eagerly anticipated social events such as family get-togethers with cousins (and there were many!), church activities, choir practice, Zangerfest, and mission conferences. Lives at that time revolved more around family and church rather than school. However, the opportunity to go to school was available and she attended Todd Lake School for grades 1-8, Lustre Bible School for two years, then went on to high school in Glasgow and graduated in 1946.
She was the third one of the Toews family to graduate from high school. From there, she immediately went on to summer school in Havre and earned an emergency teaching certificate after a nine-week session.
Teaching was a huge part of her life story. She taught for two school years at local country schools, and then attended Tabor College in Kansas. After that it was back to teaching. She attended summer school for six more summers during her teaching career.
That teaching career included Pine Ridge, S.D., country schools in Lustre, as well as the consolidated Lustre Grade School; Kalispell (1959-1963); and lastly, Hamilton (1964-1983).
While teaching in Kalispell, she was introduced to a dashing young man named Gene Sperry. He was from the Corvallis community and owned a small dairy farm. They were married in Lustre five years later on Aug. 28, 1964. They made their home on Gene’s farm, where they shared a love of flowers and cooking that those visiting will always remember.
It was truly a “home away from home” to nieces and nephews attending the University of Montana in Missoula. She taught third grade in the Hamilton School. Their happy life took a turn in December 1978, when Gene was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away on Feb. 3, 1980.
She continued teaching for three more years and then made the decision to return to Glasgow. She and Calvin Reddig were married on May 8, 1987.
Although she had no children of her own, she took on the role of mother and grandmother easily and enthusiastically, but continued to be a nurturing daughter, sister and aunt. She found such pleasure in travel, guests, celebrating special occasions, and enjoying good food and meaningful conversation!
She and Calvin moved to Prairie Ridge Village in June 2003, then to Valley View Home in November of that year. Calvin passed away shortly thereafter and she continued on as a resident.
Survivors include Kathy Laws and her husband, Ben, of Flower Mound, Texas; Weldon Reddig and his wife, Dee, of Billings; Jerry Reddig and his wife, Debbie, of Missoula; Duane Reddig and his wife, Millie, of Boise, Idaho; Merle (Sue) Reddig and his wife, Sue, of Billings; Brenda Boyum and her husband, Bruce, of Havre; Carma Bartel and her husband, Rod, of Wolf Point; Nancy Ortmann and her husband, Sam, of Lustre; 24 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren; one brother, Rudy Toews; three sisters, Selma Olfert, Viola Fast, and Bertha Born; along with many dearly loved nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be given to the Glasgow Evangelical Church Women’s Ministries or to a charity of your choice.
Bell Mortuary of Glasgow is in charge of arrangements.