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S: Irene Stageberg

FC: Happy 100th Birthday Irene | Stageberg Reunion July 2011

1: McCallister Family... 100 years of Irene's Life. | The McCallisters came from North Dakota, farmed south of Westby, and later moved to North Dakota. IRENE was one of the 4 beautiful children: Albert, Irene, Edward, and Florence. Mack and Maggie were sssooooo proud of each of their children. A coal miner’s daughter. Irene has spent 89 years in the northeast corner of Montana. Born in Noonan, North Dakota At age 18 she married. Her husband Bill was her dreamboat!! Irene had one daughter-Phyllis and a son-Warren. The depression in 1929 was in full force...such a keeper! | Happy Birthday Irene Stageberg Reunion Date:July 28-30 2011

2: Irene Stageberg By Cathy Nordhagen Irene Rene Stageberg, who is known to almost everyone in Sheridan County, turns 100 years young in October. Can you believe it?!? I sat down with her recently to learn about her early years in Westby. Shortly after her birth, Rene moved to Westby with her parents and one year old brother, Albert, from Noonan, North Dakota. Obviously, she does-n't remember Westby's earliest history from 1903-1913, when it was located in North Dakota; how-ever, she remembers others talking about home-steading there and how the coming of the railroad and prohibition in North Dakota prompted the physical move of the town across the border into Montana. Her father farmed south of Westby for a while, but when Rene was seven years old, he moved the family, which now included another brother, two-year-old Eddie, to the Truax coal town, south of Columbus, North Dakota, to work in the coal mine. A sister, Florence, was born there. Rene attended a two-room schoolhouse until, at the age of fourteen, she returned on her own to Westby, to live with her two Aunts – Marian Schultz and Irene Finn, who operated the Home Cafe. She shared a room behind the cafe with Aunt Irene while attending Westby High School and working at the cafe for her room and board. It was during this time she met and became good friends with Bill Stageberg, who came to Westby as a thrasher from Thief River Falls, Minnesota. Bill also worked at Hank Skeel’s pool hall and this is where Bill and Rene first met. Five years later Bill and Rene would marry. Rene was nineteen years old at the time and happy to be moving into her first home. The little house, which had previously been a newspaper office, stood next to where the present day Westby Four-Plex is located and rented for $6.00 per month on a verbal agreement. Daughter Phyllis was born in this home in 1932. Later the Stageberg Family would move to a little house next to Minnie Bundt’s (presently occupied by Jim Vest). Upon the death of Morris Burgh, Bill would as-sume his duties as mail carrier for the next 35 years. Sometime in the early 1940's, Bill and Rene traded homes with Morris' widow, Esther, who wanted to move to a smaller house, and paid her an additional $500, again with no written contract. Rene thought she had moved into a mansion! (This house had also been Westby's hospital many years earlier.) It is here Bill and Rene settled down and raised their children, Phyllis and Warren. This is now the home of their son, Warren Barstad, and his wife, Chris.

3: As you can well imagine, Rene has experienced many life-changing events, such as the Great De-pression and two World Wars. She also remembers important transitions to Westby like the advent of electricity and telephones to homes and businesses, the paving of roads in and around town, and the construction of Highway 5 in 1930. She recalls the many businesses that made Westby a bustling com-munity: a bank; hotel; two grocery stores, a drug-store, and a liquor store; Gamble's Department Store, a milliner's shop, and shoe store; pool hall, movie theater, and the Border Ballroom; farm im-plement and car dealerships, lumber yard, hardware store, dairy, and customs office. She will tell you at one time or another she has worked for most of them, including twenty five years as a clerk at the post office. Rene especially remembers the old ice house, which was located behind what is now the Westby Eight-Plex. Here, before electricity and refrigerators were common place, blocks of ice cut from Goose Lake during the winter months, were stored packed in flax straw for later use in homes and iceboxes, par-ticularly during the summer. One of her fondest memories is of the masquerade dances held in the winter at the Border Ballroom. One year she won top prize and five dollars for don-ning a cardboard box to look like a grain elevator. The hardest changes for Rene to adjust too, have been telephones and computers, which the later she has no interest in learning about. Although she is saddened to see the demise of so many busi-nesses, she enjoys living in the quiet, close-knit, and safe community of Westby. HAPPY BIRTHDAY RENE and Thank You for your many contributions to Westby and our families. We love you

4: Irene and Friends | Irene | A Snippet of your Life..Irene | A Snippet of your Life..Irene | A Snippet of your Life..Irene | A Snippet of your Life..Irene

5: A Snippet of your Life..Irene

6: Irene | A Snippet of your Life..Irene | A Snippet of your Life..Irene

7: A Snippet of your Life..Irene

8: Happy 100th Birthday Grandma Rene!!!! You are a very special Grandmother and Great Grandmother to all of us. We share many years with many wonderful memories. Beginning with the times you and Grandpa Bill would drive your camper down to Colorado to visit or baby sit us when Mom & Dad were away. Of course you never traveled without your delicious chicken sandwiches with butter and the cookies you made and brought us in those plastic gallon pails (big, thin hard sugar cookies, dark soft molasses cookies, and of course, the plain donuts). I think they were all eaten within a couple of days. And who could forget your meatloaf, so simple to make and delicious! There are so many great memories we could share but I would be here all day. Therefore, thank you for being the special Grandmother and Great Grandmother to all of us...... we love you so very much!!!! Hugs & Kisses, Jim, Libby, Brittany, Chris, & Michael Wunderlich | Happy Birthday-- 100 years wiser... All My Love, Gwenn | Happy Birthday to you! 100 Years and many more! | Dear Rene, A 100th happy, blesses birthday to you. Wow! What an honor to have completed 100 years of life. Congratulations! My memories go back to when my family-Obert and Gena Stageberg and me, as a little girl, lived in your and Bills' house on top of the hill in Westby. Throughout the years, Mike and I have enjoyed many of your birthday parties, and them along with your family. We have made many memories with you, that we will cherish forever. Thanks for the memories. God Bless and Love, Karen & Mike Feld

9: Grandma Rene, May you be surrounded by family and friends who love you as you celebrate your 100th birthday. And may the joy you have given us over the years, be returned to you today! We have had many magical moments at Christmas and our summer visits with you in Westby: playing in the playhouse, dressing up in your clothes, eating your wonderful cookies and listening to your stories and advice. Happy 100th Birthday Grandma - We love you very much! Cheryl, Tim and Thomas | Irene Stageberg Happy Birthday to you...Happy Birthday to You...Messages and Pictures | Dear Aunt Irene, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! I have such fond memories of going to you and Uncle Bills’s house on Sunday afternoons when I was a kid. You always had the BEST snacks! We had so much fun playing in your playhouse and dressing up in your awesome dresses and shoes! You were definitely a family favorite, and you still are! It was great seeing you last summer in Westby. If I ever need to be soundly beaten at cards, I’ll know just where to go! I am in graduate school this summer so am sorry to say I probably won’t make it to your big party (but I will try...) Just wanted to say that you have been an inspiration and a great role model to so many of us. We all love you! Nancy (Nordhagen) Helenbolt, with family: Husband Mike, Sons Cody (daughter-in-law Chelsea), Evan, Joel, and Kyle

10: Happy 100th Rene! I love you much and not just because you are my first cousin but because you are my God-mother. You were there for me when I had my first asthma attack. Thanks! We also learned 3-13 from you and still enjoy the card game to this day. You were so special to my mom and Dad (Vera & George) and you've always been a special person to me. Love you, Marian | Aunt Rene, Take your time making your birthday wish you look sexy by candlelight. Nice to know that you are an older "oldtimer" than I am! I guess you first saw me way back when I weighed just 8 pounds without clothes on! I always remind people that you've been the only aunt I have had for decades! Love Darrell/Darleen | Aunty Rene- We are so honored to be a part of this very special event - your 100th birthday! Very few people achieve this remarkable milestone. You must have lived a good life or done something right to be one of the very few special ones! We are so happy to have been a part of your life and you a part of ours. You have been more than an Aunt to us, but rather our second Mom. You filled a real void when Randy's Mother passed away; and you helped Cathy to adapt to life in Westby. We are so grateful to you for selflessly giving to us. Happy, Happy 100th Birthday Aunty Rene!! --All our love, Randy & Cathy | Happy Birthday Grandma!

11: We love our Aunt ReneShe's like 100 stars rolled into one personA feisty, energetic, adorable personwho lights up our lives. Happy 100th! Darlis, Daniel, Dayne, Azia, and Reeve | Warren, Dale, JaneAldensign Happy Birthday to you! 100 Years Young! | Cookie and the Gang... Happy Birthday. Love you with all our hearts!

12: MESSAGE FROM HEAVEN- Message from your loving daughter, Mom, I think of you every day. I wish I could have been here today to wish you the BEST, 100th birthday wish of all. There is so much I want to say but honestly I do not know where to begin, you have gone through so much in your 100 years. Many of us know there is always good in bad when you are being raised as a child, but I would have to say you did an excellent job with raising me. Spankings were allowed when I was growing up and it didn't seem to harm me in anyway, you made me a strong woman, it made me respect your point and now I realize what a hard head I was, but mom that is another discussion. You have giving me the gift of being creative, strength and belief in myself. You see mom although we may not have always met eye to eye on certain things you always supported me regardless if I was wrong. This is so difficult because I wish I were with you now, but just remember momI love you with all my heart and soul. | I love you for so so so so many reasons: I love you because you taught me respect, I love you because you did not ever neglect, I love you because you allowed me to be a child I love you because you disciplined with love, I love you because you taught me how to bake, I love you because you taught me how to cook, I love you because even when I failed you never gave up, I love you because you make me smile, I love you because you love unconditionally, I love you because you never placed any conditions on me, I love you because you believed in me, I love you because YOU are MY mom and nobody will ever take me away from you Happy 100th Birthday MOM.I love you Forever. Your loving daughter, Phyllis

13: Message from heaven-From: Verna Kwiatkowski Rene, I call you friend, because that's what you are. You are the oldest and dearest friend I ever had. Not just because Ed and Phyllis married, it's because we shared stories between us and that's not something to be taken lightly. It's in the fire of these dynamic interactions that our powerful friendship is forged. Through our spouses, the grand daughters, and through our vast experiencesthat many will never have we have, and I am glad I had a friend that has been through many times like I had. All my love, Verna Kwiatkowski | Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday dear GrandmaHappy Birthday to you. And many more! We love you Grandma! Laura, Mark, Luke, Topher, Angie, Aidan, and Rory | “To my God-mother Aunt Rene, What an awesome blessing it is to share with you your 100th birthday!! I am so thankful for the prayers that you and Bill said for me as a little child and how they were instrumental in drawing me into a close relationship with our Lord. I always remember how much fun it was to visit your house as I was growing up, and what a great hostess you were. I pray that the Lord will continue to shower you with his blessings as you enter your 101st year! God bless you – you are very special to me. Arlen Nordhagen & Family (Wendy, Isaiah, Leif, Josie & Son-in-law Ryan MacLeod)”

14: Heather, Tim and Lance | Dear Rene, When I first remember you, I thought of you, and all the others of that generation as being really old. Now that I am probably 40+ years older than you were at that time, I realize that you look almost exactly the same! And I am amazed, and wonder where that Fountain of Youth that you found is located! Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the Stageberg Family (at least the women) could drink of it? I have two things about you that come to mind immediately when I think back to being a child. The first, and most important, were the sugar cookies that you baked. They were the best ever! And I have measured every sugar cookie I have eaten since against your cookies, and they all come up short. I can still taste the crispy brown edges (my favorite part), and the delectable, tender middle. Yummy!! The second thing I remember is the wonderful yard that you and Uncle Bill had. It was a wonderful place for games and also for daydreaming. The flowers I remember most were the hollyhocks. I know there were a lot more flowers, but I probably didn't know the names of them then. Both Pete and I wish you the most wonderful 100th Birthday. What a special achievement! We know you will be around to celebrate several more birthdays, and we want to put our reservations in for the party when you make 110! Love, Linda Stageberg Petry

15: Happy Birthday Rene from the Chamlin Family! Gary is now 47 and lives in Alaska, Danny-Gary's son, now 22, lives in Canada. Rush is 41 and lives in Arizona, and us, of course, live in South Carolina. We hope your birthday is the best and many more to come. All our love, Arlee and Dick Chamblin | Danny | Gary | Rush | Arlee & Dick | Carol and Ed Kuehnel Happy 100th birthday Irene. We look forward to seeing you at the reunion. Carol and Ed Kuehnel | Just calling to say "Happy 100th Birthday!" We wish you many, many more. God bless you always, Ed and Judy

16: Bills- Michelle, Dennis, Justin, and Brian Grandma, You have always been here for us. You have always given us warm hugs and sweet memories- Cookie Grandma. You always remembered all of our accomplishments and forgot all of our mistakes. You are someone I can tell my secrets and worries to, and you always hoped for me that my hopes and dreams came true. You always loved me and my family, and helped me be a better mother. You rocked Brian to sleep when I was so drained and I watched you so caring, so gentle, and so comfortingI wanted to be just like you. You saw my temper tantrums, bad moods, best times, marriage, Christmas, and hunting too. It made it clear to me that you, GRANDMA, always have an encouraging word and a tender touch with the things you do. You are always full of proud smiles. YOU are my special grandma in the world who loves me with all your heart, who remembers the child I was and cherishes the person I've become. Happy Birthday Grandma! We love you. The Bills Family | Dear Aunt Rene, They say that the first 100 years are the hardest. So now you can kick up your heels and laugh over having got the best of Father Time. All my love, Alan | Happy Birthday Rene Paul | 100th Birthday wish to you! Daren and Shelby Nordhagen

17: Happy Birthday Great (Great) Grandma Rene! One hundred years of energy, wit, and above all genuine love for family. You have shown us what family really means. Card nights with you were always fun, sitting around the table we always learned so much about the true important things in life. No one would ever forget your amazing donuts either, always a bonus:-) We feel so fortunate to be spending this extra special birthday celebration with you! Love, Topher, Angie, Aidan and Rory The Fylaks | HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE MOST AMAZING PERSON I KNOW, WHO JUST HAPPENS TO BE MY MOST FAVORITE AUNT!!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!! HAPPY 100th DEAR LADY!! LOVE, MARGAUX XOXOXOXXOXO | Happy Happy Birthday!!!! Here's wishing you the best birthday ever....your smile is so inviting and puts me in a happy mood....you have been a good friend to Mom and Dad all these years and I appreciate it very much...my wish is for you to flourish each and every day that the Lord gives you....love you very much.....Peggy Downey (Norhagen) | Grandma, Happy Birthday. You are the reason I see things the way I do- always a positive. All our love, Laura and Mark

18: Grandma you are the best! You are the "Cookie Grandma". When I was young I remember looking forward to your visit and the anticipation of the sugar and molasses cookies. I was excited to visit Westby to play in the playhouse and compose my own music on the pump organ. Now as an adult, your visits at our home are treasured memories for my family: donut making with the kids, green pea salad and playing cards! I can't forget Jasmine and Roxy because they loved sitting with you every day while you read the paper. You are an amazing inspiration to us. We love you and wish you the best birthday ever! Love Karyn, Steve, Garrett, Kaitlyn, Ryan, Roxy and Jasmine. | Happy Birthday to you...and many more. Delores and Tom | Happy Birthday Rene Love Arlee and Darrell | Mike and Denise Happy Birthday Grandma

19: SWARTZ FAMILY- Grandma, Hope you have a wonderful 100th birthday celebration, you deserve a great birthday. We love you. Greg, Mary, Brad and Grant. | Dear Aunt Irene, I am honored to be able to wish you a Happy 100th Birthday. I have numerous cherished memories from my childhood of visiting you and Uncle Bill on our trips to Westby. I am privileged to know someone who has lived and experienced the unimaginable changes and events that have taken place over the past one hundred years. You have certainly made the best of the blessing of a long life. You have a special place in my heart and I feel fortunate that my family has the pleasure of knowing you and celebrating with you through the years. God bless you with health and happiness for years to come! With love, Darla (Nordhagen), Jeff, Kayla, Jayme & Bryan Larson

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Michelle Bills
  • By: Michelle B.
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