Anna Norma (Stohl) Holden, 96, died from congestive heart failure on Sept. 19, 2013, in Seattle, Wash. She had moved there from Missoula in 2006 to be closer to family as her health began to deteriorate.
She was born on May 30, 1917, to Fred and Magdeline Stohl on their farm outside of Nashua. She was the oldest of six children. Her family moved into Nashua where she graduated from high school. She then embarked on her first adventure away from home, selling children’s educational books in the southeastern part of the country. She enjoyed the traveling and adventures of this work. After a few years, she chose to continue her education by moving to the Seattle area where she stayed with her aunt and uncle while attending business college. After completing her program, she moved to Missoula where she attended the University of Montana for a short time.
It was in Missoula where she met her future husband, Kenneth J. Holden. They were married in St. Paul Lutheran Church in 1949. Shortly afterwards, they moved to Helena where they had their first two children, Marlene and Kenneth W. They moved back to Missoula in 1954, where Carol was born. Missoula became their home and where they raised their three children. From an early age they instilled a love of music and the importance of an education in their children.
She was active in and held leadership positions at local and state levels in many organizations including Music Friends, Girl Scouts, church groups, Parent/Teacher Association, the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary and the Democratic Party, while working full time for the Northern Pacific Railroad and helping raise her three children.
After her husband passed away in 1971, she went back to school at the University of Montana. She worked extremely hard and completed her bachelor’s degree in social work in 1973 at the age of 56. She was very proud to earn a 4.0 grade point average in her last year at the university and to attend her graduation ceremony the same spring that her daughter, Carol, graduated from high school. For the next 10 years she worked as a social worker for Lutheran Social Services in their adoption services. She loved to help match families with children and several of these families kept in touch with her as their children grew to adulthood. After retiring, she continued with her volunteer activities in the Missoula area.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth; one sister, Lorraine; and two brothers, Clifford and Irven.
Survivors include two sisters, Arlene Egosque and her husband, John, and Elaine Maas, all of Nashua; daughters, Marlene (Laurie) Simms and Carol Chilcoat; one son, Kenneth and his wife, Patricia; eight grandchildren, Jeremy and his wife, Olya, Meghan, Joseph, Kenneth and his wife, Michelle, William, Annie, J’Anna, Shawn and his wife, Joany; two great-grandchildren, Julien and Leon; and many nieces and nephews.