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Obituary: Lillian Eleanor Lund (Lilly)

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Posted at 8:58 AM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 10:58:49-04

Lillian Eleanor Lund (Lilly) passed to her eternity on July 24, 2021. She was a much-loved wife and mother of four children. She married Dick (Richard Edgar) January 26, 1957, giving them 64 memorable years together.

She was born May 22, 1935, to Delbert and Eleanor (Keating) Davidson on a farm close to Manchester, SD—a railroad stop just west of De Smet, and since blown away by a tornado in 2003. Her older sister, Shirley (Hansen), and brother, Bill, remember the great joy she brought to a poverty-stricken family at the depth of the Great Depression. While making a living was difficult, the effect was compounded for farmers by drought and rampant dust storms. Her family experienced continual crop failures.

Schooling, always difficult for Lilly, was weakened further by teacher shortages during World War II and by a time of her paralysis from polio during high school years. Her father’s health issues moved the family away from farming and into living in the “Surveyor’s House,” now the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in De Smet. Lilly and her younger sister Lois (Peterson) climbed the same steep stairs as did Laura to cuddle together and sleep in a cold attic.

Lilly graduated from De Smet High School in 1954. She moved to live with her sister, Shirley, in Omaha where she worked in a large department store (Brandeis). She sang in the choir at the Hanscom Park Methodist Church and regularly attended youth group functions. She met her future husband, Dick, when she and her sister invited a lonely red-haired airman stationed at Offutt AFB to a Sunday chicken dinner. Lilly signed into an engagement with Dick the day he signed out from active duty — marrying in De Smet, their special day at thirty below zero!

They first settled in Laramie, WY where she completed courses in Home Economics while Dick completed graduate degrees at the University of Wyoming and moved into faculty status. Four children were born to Dick and Lilly while at Laramie — Martha Fay, Daniel Dwight (d. 2009), Karen Kay (Craig Rieger), and Mark Edwin (Judith).

The family moved to Ames, IA in 1964 living close to her folks where Dick completed additional graduate work at Iowa State University. The family lived in Mexico for two years where Dick helped develop a graduate-level program at Mexico’s National Agricultural College. Their four children attended a school across the road — in Spanish. And, Lilly learned to deal with a maid and buy family groceries all by speaking Spanish. They moved to Bozeman in 1969 where Dick had accepted a faculty position at MSU in the Department of Mathematics.

Lilly and Dick were campers and involved with Scouting. She was a Girl Scout Leader, Cub Scout Den Leader, and a driver for ever-so-many Boy Scout trips. Lilly completed Scouter Woodbadge training in 1988.

Lilly enjoyed singing with an MSU Faculty Wives group in the late 1970 years. She supported Dick’s volunteer effort at Habitat for Humanity. The successful Habitat ReStore in Belgrade, now providing significant financial support to Habitat building effort, is a product of foresight by Lilly, Dick, and others.

In recent years, Lilly especially enjoyed her travel with Dick to obtain information on her ancestry and visit sites where they first settled in SD and IA. There were visits to extended family, her own children, granddaughters, Stephanie (Jeremy Hegman) and Andrea Rieger (Kay & Craig’s in Pocatello), and grandson, Jeremy (Mark & Judith’s in Lexington, KY).

In all, Lilly deeply loved her family and her husband, Dick. She felt truly fortunate to live in Bozeman and loved that community. She was forever a lover of others and always a mother.

A Memorial Service will be held this Wednesday, July 28, at 10:00 A.M. at Bozeman United Methodist Church. The service will be available to watch online at www.bozemanumc.org [bozemanumc.org].

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com [dokkennelson.com]