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Irene Mary Louise 'Shorty' Tihista Stuart


Irene Mary Louise Stuart, 88, otherwise known as "Shorty" Stuart, passed away at her son's home in Gildford on Friday morning, April 8, 2016, of natural causes.

She was born Nov. 27, 1927, in Nashua, Mont., to Michael and Marie (Ipperageurre) Tihista. She was raised in Nashua, graduated from Nashua High School and moved to Havre to attend nursing school. She attended the Sacred Heart Nursing School for two years.

While living in Havre, she met James Lowell Stuart and the romance began. The couple was married April 10, 1947, in Great Falls. They moved to Gildford where Lowell farmed with his family. The couple lived in the Gildford Hotel until they purchased a home from Lowell's grandparents, which they remodeled to make their own. She worked with Lowell on the farm and enjoyed helping him. Soon they started a family and together had four children, James, Janice, David and Lynn. Her infant son, David, passed away shortly after birth.

Anyone living in Gildford knew her and you never had to wonder what she was thinking because she wasn't shy about sharing her thoughts. She earned many titles over the years, community caretaker, the kissin' grandma, nurse, medical assistant and trauma nurse.

Along with raising her three children, attending their activities and working on the farm, she also worked at Campbell's store in Gildford and was more than willing to volunteer for anything that was needed in the community.

She was very proud of her Basque heritage and attributed her years of good health to her "pure Basque blood." She was an avid walker and did so regardless of the weather. After every walk, she enjoyed stopping at the Gildford Merc to visit and play cards with her many friends. She enjoyed being outdoors in her yard, if you didn't see her out walking her many miles, you would find her mowing or cultivating her garden and flowers.

She loved sports, especially when her grandchildren were playing. It didn't matter what sport it was, she was always there cheering them on.  

She was known by every referee on the Hi-Line and wasn't afraid to hold them accountable for any unfavorable calls. She enjoyed watching baseball on TV and rarely missed an episode of Jeopardy or Wheel Of Fortune.

She was a great cook. Her family and friends loved stopping by and enjoying one of her famous donuts, cinnamon rolls, mocha cakes or goof balls. For years, she regularly cooked Sunday afternoon dinner for her family and loved having everyone around. Much laughter was had and great memories were made around her kitchen table.

Her life motto was "Laughter is the best medicine," and she truly lived up to that.

She was preceded in death by an infant son, David; her husband, Lowell; and four brothers, Edward, John, Paul and Jerry.

Survivors include three children, James Stuart and his wife, Leigh, of Gildford, Janice Crockett and her husband, Howe, of Vancouver, Wash., and Lynn Melby and her husband, Rick, of Kremlin; six grandchildren, Tawna Meldrum and her husband, John, Tim Meldrum and his wife, Dana, Tiffany Melby, Ashley Molstad and her husband, Nate, Jake Stuart and his wife, Ashley, and Joe Stuart and his wife, Meghan; 10 great-grandchildren, Reilly, Maia and Taylor Parisot, Mattingly and Ava Meldrum, Dylon Melby, Emree and Regan Stuart, and Ryland and Reese Stuart; and two brothers, Mike and Rene'; and her beloved nieces and nephews.

Memorial services were at 2 o'clock on Friday, April 15, at the Gildford Baptist Church with Pastor Eddie Fallo officiating. She was laid to rest next to her husband at the Highland Cemetery in Havre. Memorials in Shorty's honor may be made to the Gildford Baptist Church or the Gildford Park. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home of Havre has been entrusted with services and arrangements. Please visit Shorty's online memorial page at to leave a message of condolence for the family.

You can only have one mother patient, kind and true.

No other friend in all the world will be the same to you.

When other friends forsake you, to mother you will return.

For all her loving kindness, she asks nothing in return.

As we look upon her picture, sweet memories we recall,

Of a face so full of sunshine, and a smile for one and all.

Sweet Jesus, take this message to our dear mother up above.

Tell her how we miss her, and give her all our love.


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