Louise Margarite (nee Hoeft) Straehl, 90

Louise Margarite (nee Hoeft) Straehl died of natural causes on March 29, 2010, at the age of 90. Since 2007, she resided at the Waterford retirement center in Helena, located close to family. While she loved the beauty of Montana and the kindness of its people, her heart remained in Wisconsin.

Born in 1920, Louise grew up in rural central Wisconsin. Her early years were spent helping her single mother support her three children. There she attended one-room country schools. During the Depression, her mother remarried and Louise enjoyed a period of plenty that allowed her to complete high school in Berlin, Wis., the first in her family to do so. After graduating in 1937 she moved to the big city of Milwaukee and worked at the historic Republican Hotel. While working as a cashier she met a dashing bellhop, Bill Straehl, who became the love her life and husband of 62 years.

Louise married Bill in 1942 and soon saw him drafted into the U.S. Army. During World War II, Louise worked in a factory that made material for the war effort. Once her husband returned from the war, Bill and Louise joined the spirit of midcentury America, raising two kids in a new home in a new subdivision. While she tended vegetable gardens as a young person, she reveled in her flower gardens and the beauty of her yard and house as an adult. She raised orphaned birds, tamed squirrels and was the person in the neighborhood who al-ways had time to listen to a child. She touched many lives by giving every person in her life attention and importance. Her wonderful neighbors became friends for life.

She is survived by son, W. Greg Straehl; daughter, Sandra (Dick) Turner of Helena; grandson, Eric Straehl; sisters-in-law, Ollie Hoeft, Ethel Hoeft and Sandy Anderson; nephew, Charles Straehl Jr.; and numerous beloved nieces. She was preceded in death by husband, Bill Straehl; mother, Tillie Anderson; stepfather, Fred Anderson; brothers, Cecil and Bill Hoeft; half brother, Fred Anderson Jr.; sister-inlaw, Peggy Malmerowski; and brother-in-law, Charles Straehl.

Cremation has taken place and ashes will be scattered in Wisconsin on family property along with those of her husband. The family thanks staff of the Waterford and St. Peterís Hospital for their care and many kindnesses. Family is especially grateful to the St. Peterís Hospice program.

Louise would ask that you hug your children, be kind to your neighbors, and appreciate the beauty of the day in lieu of any donations.