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Lois C Robinson
May 9, 1935 ~ January 17, 2023 (age 87) 87 Years Old
Lois Ann (Collins) Robinson, 87, lifelong Flathead Valley citizen, retired teacher, and outdoors woman, died January 17, 2023 of natural causes at The Springs Assisted Living in Whitefish. Lois was born May 9, 1935 in Half Moon, Montana (former lumber company town near Columbia Falls) to Ralph and Anna (Vattendahl) Collins. She was raised on the family farm, attending Canyon View School in Half Moon with her brother and sisters. Her Dad worked for the Stoltze Lumber Company operating a steam logging shay. As a girl, she and the other children occasionally rode into the mountains on flatcars behind the shay and picked berries all day while the men worked, riding home at the end of the day on top of the loads of logs. Her parents heard the Gospel in 1936 through two traveling preachers, Charlie Krub and Cecil Fletcher, and this shaped the choice Lois made to serve God when she was a young adult. The family shared fellowship in the early years with the Ole & Gina Moen family. Lois married John Robinson in 1953. They settled in Bigfork near John’s folks and lived at the Bigfork Ranger Station, as John began his career with the U.S. Forest Service. During these years while starting their family, John and Lois bought some acreage west of Bigfork on Chapman Hill, and eventually built their home there, working side by side both indoors and out. Lois placed a deep value on education, having grown up during the era when most girls were not sent to High School. She completed her GED while raising her young daughters, and with John’s encouragement, eventually enrolled at the University of Montana. She rented an apartment during the week while taking classes in Missoula, then came home on Fridays and set the house back in order. She graduated with high honors in 1971, with a Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics and taught at Bigfork High School for several years until John’s cancer diagnosis. Lois was talented and interested in many things. She was an early riser and wore her Bible threadbare from use. In addition to teaching Home Economics, she painted art, weaved Navajo style blankets, sewed for the kids and grandkids, was an excellent cook and a tidy housekeeper. The grandkids remember her special breakfast cinnamon rolls made with biscuit dough. She was classy, and although right at home in jeans and a red headscarf, she dressed up elegantly to go to town. She rarely let a newspaper crossword puzzle go unsolved. She could see Flathead Lake from her window and witnessed it freezing over three times in her lifetime. Lois enjoyed Depression glass, and kept an extensive personal library, primarily on Montana history, Indians, and nature. She had a sharp mind for local history-names, dates, places, and people. One thing she recalled vividly from childhood was when Flathead Lake froze and her Dad was part of a group of Stoltze Lumber Co. employees who laid railroad tracks across the ice and shuttled a logging camp to the east shore for a winter. Lois’ life cannot be described without John. John and Lois, Lois and John. In retirement, they spent a lot of time with the grandkids and helping their kids with haying, grain harvest, horse events, etc. She and John were involved in building covered wagons and took wagon train trips through some of Montana’s most scenic places, including the Montana Centennial Wagon Train in 1989, a memory shared by the grandkids that got to ride along. They enjoyed packing mules into the back country, hunting, and camping. Lois was a first-class camp cook and woodsman and could make restaurant quality meals over a campfire that she kindled herself out of wood she felled and split herself. Lois and John treasured their time with each other and with family and many friends at every opportunity. Lois served John faithfully during his cancer experience. It was of particular joy to them both when John professed his commitment to serve Jesus late in his life. Bible reading and praying together was the pinnacle experience of their 41 happy years together. After John’s death in 1994, she traded John’s beautiful Lincoln town car on a sporty little sedan and put it straight to use as a professional grandmother. She attended rodeos, FFA banquets, choir concerts, Taekwondo matches, you name it. She and her son-in-law contracted to haul supplies for the Forest Service using mule pack trains for several summers. Lois hiked the Grand Canyon twice (“next time I do that, it will be on the back of a horse”) and did a 14 day rafting trip on the Yukon River-all in her 70s. Lois stayed busy at home also, felling dead trees on her property, burning brush, fixing fence, peeling logs, and cutting firewood. At age 75, she built a 12x16 log cabin on her place, founded on native flagstone, and all out of materials prepared herself with a chainsaw and hand tools. She fed several dozen wild turkeys every day and liked to watch and count the deer, black bears, and other wildlife which were welcome in her yard. Lois began to have an unreliable memory a few years ago and accepted the decision to move into memory care at The Springs in Whitefish. While in the loving care of the staff there, she enjoyed many visits, cards, and pictures shared by her family and many friends. Her generosity and stability during the prime of her life came back to help her through the difficult experience of memory loss and failing strength. She was predeceased by her husband John, brother Lowell and sister Mary Lou. Lois is survived by her daughters, Jerrian, Jewell, and Lisa, and sons-in-law, Boone Jones, Cliff Benjamin, and Andy Kelly; her sisters Carol, Alice, and Margerey; brother-in-law Donald “Bud” Robinson; 8 grandchildren with their families: Randy & Kim Jones (Reata, Rhett, Kaehl), Wes & Nicole Jones (Kamryn, Jordyn), Lyle & Adele Benjamin (Ian, Elonzo), Brenda & Lance Wickum (Ivan, Isaac, Erik, Zoe) Sharon & Joe Borgman (Shae, Lane), Roy & Kaylee Benjamin (Joe, Charles, Gretta), Kevin & Megan Benjamin (Lorie), and Morgan Kelly; and several nieces and nephews. A funeral service will be held Friday January 27, 2023 at 11:30 am, followed by a catered buffet luncheon. Location: Hilton Garden Inn, 1840 Hwy 93 South, Kalispell. A private family burial will take place at the Lone Pine Cemetery in Bigfork.