Margaret 'Margie' Ann Yeska
August 30, 2023
With heavy hearts, we bid farewell to Margaret "Margie" Ann (Mix) Yeska, a remarkable woman who left an indelible mark on our lives. She leaves a legacy that beautifully exemplifies tenderness and strength, creating memories that will forever remain etched in our hearts.
Margie followed her life's calling, devoting herself to family and her agricultural heritage. As part of "the greatest generation," her legacy of perseverance and her work ethic began as a child on the family dairy west of Hinsdale, Mont.
Born in 1931 to Henry Earl and Mary Christina (Meharry) Mix, she was the middle child, between sister Christina and twins Thelma and Tom. As teenagers, Margie and her siblings milked cows, did chores and some days delivered milk before school. These family memories were told with fondness and detail, but always the life lesson she shared was one of selfless camaraderie.
Margie loved genealogy and history. She traced her ancestry to America's earliest beginnings as well as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Her grandparents homesteaded in the Thoeny and Meharry communities north of Hinsdale; those early years established a great sense of pride in Valley County, especially Hinsdale.
Margie was a Hinsdale Raider, graduating with the class of 1949. Memories of dances and roller-skating at Goglitt's Hall, taking the "Skidoo" train to Saco, Mont., for family movies every Sunday, and flagging down the bus in front of their house to attend basketball tournaments in Glasgow made for lively stories, which she'd recall specifics to the fullest extent. As a teenager she learned to play piano, crediting the musical talents of Helen Craig, who worked for her parents as a housekeeper before marrying Junior. She meticulously remembered names, dates and events long into her 80's and thoroughly enjoyed sharing those memories and stories.
In 1950 she married her high school sweetheart, John Yeska. Living at the ranch south of Saco where his grandparents homesteaded in the 1890s, she and John worked side by side. Here they raised their five children: Mary Ethel, Debora Lynn, John Albert Jr., Della Mae and Paul Arthur. In 2023, John and Margie celebrated their 73rd Wedding Anniversary.
Ranch life suited her well and she thrived in situations where she was her own boss. From operating machinery to driving trucks during corn harvest, she was in her element. She could sort cows and run the gate with the best of them. In the early 70s, when they raised "Exotic" cattle, and for another 30 years after, she was the night calver. However, a job that most people avoided at all costs, fencing, was one of her favorites. Her pickup may not have had a spare tire but always there were steel posts, staples, a roll of barbed wire, wire stretchers, etc., as well as two large lick tubs and a salt block in the back.
Margie was equally adept in the house, preparing meals for as many as 12 people during the summer when her family mushroomed with the comings and goings of nephews and hired hands. She raised a large garden for many years but eventually moved on to bigger things- swathing hay. It was during this time that she began collecting and pressing weeds as a hobby. Eventually, over a hundred specimens were neatly preserved and identified. She gave presentations to garden clubs as well as worked with the county extension service monitoring invasive species. One of her most unusual finds was a stand of African Rue, introduced into Montana as seed on a drilling rig originating in New Mexico.
She established the Larb Creek Livewires 4-H club some 50 years ago. Following its inception, membership steadily grew, with Ira Hammond coming alongside as co-leader. She took a special interest in 4-H and FFA steer of merit awards, a statewide carcass contest sponsored by the Montana Stockgrowers Association.
Margie participated in Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) during her teen years, was brought up in the Methodist church and baptized there. Later, when her grandchildren became of age, she taught Sunday school at Saco Lutheran Church. Drawing upon her creative talents to write a Christmas play based upon Old Testament verses prophesying the Messiah's birth, she was encouraged by the pastor to submit the manuscript to Augsberg Publishing in Minneapolis, Minn.
She enjoyed knitting baby blankets and following her mother's lead, making knitted lace tablecloths. Other interests included jigsaw puzzles, rubber stamp art, genealogy, Soduku and competitive family games of Muggins and Sequence. She always had a collection of houseplants, and her flower beds were plentiful. Twenty years ago, macular degeneration brought an end to many of these favorite past times.
She was known for her hats and beautiful cameos. She collected angels and especially loved Montana agates, as well as opals, her birthstone. She was especially proud of a gift from her father, a "player piano," which had historical ties to early Phillips County and a bar frequented by Kid Curry. She relished the story; the piano was a favorite gift.
Margie enjoyed traveling; she loved basketball tournaments, graduations, weddings and family gatherings. In 1998 a family trip with her daughter, Debbie, and grandson, Quentin, to England and Ireland fulfilled a dream to see her ancestral homeland. Another favorite, Washington D.C.'s botanical gardens and museums, were visited on several occasions.
In 1985 at Valley Electric Cooperative's Annual Meeting, Margie was elected to serve on the board of directors for District No 1, following Ben Albus' retirement. During the next 20 years she became acutely aware of local and national issues pertaining to rural electric cooperatives and member users. Margie served until 2005 when District 1 was eliminated following Valley Electric's consolidation with Opheim Electric, becoming NorVal.
In January of 2023 Margie's health was severely impacted by Influenza A, consequently, cognitive impairment brought rapid decline in memory and speech, leading to dementia within months.She passed, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, nearing her 92nd birthday.
She is survived by her husband, John Yeska; their five children and sixteen grandchildren, Mary Erickson, mother of Ian (Wendy) Erickson, Seth Erickson, and Mitchell Erickson, Debbie (Gary) Porter, parents of Quentin (Tricia) Porter, Randy (Ashley) Porter, Steve (Hilary) Porter and Kristen (Daniel) Corbin, Jay (Carolyn) Yeska, parents of Brad (Briana) Yeska, Miranda (Tim) Orr and Emily (Tom) Pembroke, Della (Wayne) Wiederrich, parents of Christina (Scott) Hood, Michael Wiederrich, and Alicia (David) Sones, Paul (Rhoda) Yeska, father of Nick Yeska, Alex Yeska and Kathryn (Zack) Moser.
Also surviving are 26 great-grandchildren, Audrey and Allie Erickson, Brighton, Rowan and Juniper Porter, Adeline Porter, Liam Porter, MacKenzie and Kellen Corbin, Katelyn (Nate) Adams, Hailey, Brent and Abby Yeska, Noah and Raife Pembroke, Adrian and Cael Hood, Sandra, Hazel, Delbert, Esmerelda, Donald and Sarah Sones, John Philip Yeska, Ryker and Larkin Yeska. Adding to that number, two more great-grandchildren are expected as of this writing. Margie and John have three great-great-grandchildren, Trevor, Theo, and Tucker Adams.
Preceding her in death were infant daughter Cynthia Kay Yeska; infant granddaughter Jennifer Lee Yeska; parents Earl and Mary Mix; and her father and mother-in-law, Arthur and Ethel Yeska.
Margie's nurturing spirit knew no bounds. Whether it was a comforting hug or a soothing word, she had an innate gift for offering solace and support. Beneath her gentle demeanor, Margie possessed a strength that guided her through life's challenges with grace and determination. She was a pillar of resilience, and her courage was an inspiration.
Margie's family received friends from 4 to 6 p.m., on Aug. 25, at Bell Mortuary, Glasgow. Funeral services were held Aug. 26, at 2 p.m., at the Saco Lutheran Church with Pastor Doris Tollefson officiating with internment at Saco's Grandview Cemetery.
Donations are suggested to the Shriners Hospital or church of your choosing.
Condolences for the family may be left at bellmorutarymontana.com.