Margaret Jane Dusenberry was born on a snowy September 19, 1925, in Big Sky Country surrounded by the Bridger Mountains at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. The first-born baby girl did not know that her mother would leave the hospital early just to get home to cook meals for a crew of more than 20 men.
As the eldest daughter, Margaret was destined to follow in her mom’s busy footsteps spending hours in the kitchen helping, learning, and watching how things were done. Gardening, butchering, harvesting, baking, canning, preserving food, and cleaning were a constant.
Margaret started school at age five and walked 1 ½ miles to the Pine Butte School each day. She was always helping her mother with baking, cooking meals, washing dishes and clothes, and her least favorite, cleaning the cream separators. She was baking cakes by age ten along with all her other tasks. Her dad cautioned her to always follow a recipe! She was active in 4-H where she won numerous 1st prize ribbons for her projects in clothing, cooking and home improvements.
Her mother was one of the most influential persons in her life and encouraged her to, “Believe in God and Jesus, and to talk to them in prayer. Be good and loving to your husband and children, and take care of yourself.” Margaret was very grateful for everything her parents taught her.
She met her husband to be, Bert Dusenberry in January 1946. They fell deeply in love and married on October 5, 1946. It was a happy occasion as Bert was the love of her life, equal partner, and father to their 3 children. They were a team for 49 ½ years and agreed on almost everything. At age 23 she had their first son, Jim. Two years later they had another son, Gerry, and daughter, Naomi 5 years later. The family had little money and had to be thrifty. They worked hard and were able to buy the ranch which is now over 100 years old and is where Margaret lived until she was 94. Bert died of a heart attack at age 72, but not a day would pass when Margaret didn’t think of him with a loving heart. Today, Gerry and his son, Gene, still work the 160-acre ranch south of Bozeman.
Mom was a devoted and loving wife, mom, grandma, and great-grandma. Her love of cooking, quilting, sewing and gardening was shared and enjoyed by many. Her teaching, mentoring and guidance influenced generations. A lifetime of community involvement included over 50 years with the 4-H program, Methodist Church and Extension Homemakers. Other community involvement included competing, judging and working at the Winter Fair, reading and mentoring at Anderson School, secretary for both her church and the Middle Creek Water Users, and county election judge.
She was well known for her award-winning cinnamon rolls and her quilts selling for hundreds of dollars at the Anderson School auction. Her almond roca was anxiously anticipated by everyone that received an annual Christmas goodie tray. Grams always had a big tub of cookies on the kitchen table waiting for anyone walking through the door, especially a hungry grandchild. Sewing was also a very important part of her life. She was a seamstress for herself, her kids, and especially for her grandkids. She taught “Sewing with Knits” classes and sewed commercially for years. Later in life, she made the most amazing quilts, giving most of them away. On top of all of this, her yard and flowerbeds were beautiful, colorful and well taken care of.
Her kindness, competence, and gentle and intelligent nature touched all who knew her. She was a blessing to our world. Her legacy is one of hard work, dedication and most of all, love of family and God.
Mom is survived by her 3 children and 8 grandchildren:
Jim (Marilyn) Dusenberry – Valerie (Justin) Delano, Becky (Andy) Turner, Tim (Camy) Dusenberry
Gerry (Pat) Dusenberry – Desta (Todd) Knotts, John (Christina) Dusenberry, Gene (Kayla) Dusenberry
Naomi (Mike) Wold – Brandon (Megan) Wold & Brittney (Dylan) Dibb
Eight (almost nine) great grandchildren, sister-in-law Judy Burkenpas, brother-in-law George Evans, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, sisters Letha Bell and Bobbi Evans, and brother Wesley Burkenpas.
A very special thanks to mom’s wonderful caregivers, Carole, Kelly, Lisa, Haley, Vickie, Theresa and Katherine, and so many more special ladies from Ruth Anne’s Home Instead team. You gave mom many more years in the comfort of her own home. You were a blessing to all of us with your dedication, support and love. Thank you to the staff at Gallatin County Rest Home and friends and family that took the time to stop by and visit. Thanks, Carol M for keeping mom’s hair beautiful.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Montana 4-H Foundation, P O Box 173580, Bozeman, MT 59717 or donor’s choice.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com [dokkennelson.com]