HARLEM - Cecile M. Ashton, 88, of Harlem died Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2004, at the Northern Montana Hospital in Havre due to natural causes.
A funeral Mass will be Saturday at 11 a.m. in Saint Thomas Catholic Church with burial following in the Harlem Cemetery. A rosary will be Friday at 7 p.m. in St. Thomas Catholic Church.
Cecile was born on March 23, 1916, in Harlem to Harold and Gertrude (Rohlik) Henriksen. She grew up in the Turner area, attended the Little Jewel School and finished her high school education in Harlem. She graduated in 1933. Cecile continued her education at Northern Montana College in Havre, where she earned her teaching certificate. She taught school first at Polly School south of Turner. The next year she became the secretary to the superintendent of the Harlem school system.
In September of 1936, Cecile and Thomas Arthur Warwick were married. They had three sons and five daughters.
In May of 1947, her husband Tom died due to tuberculosis. Cecile then married John Streber and they had three children. They later divorced.
Cecile returned to college in order to begin teaching again. She taught one year in Hogeland before securing a position with the Harlem School District, where she continued teaching fourth grade for 10 years. She then taught one year in Hays.
During the summers, she worked at various businesses in the Harlem area to support her family, including the Coast to Coast store and Keck's Cabins, cleaning rooms, pumping gas and tending the store. She also continued her classes at NMC to keep her teaching credentials up to date.
In 1965, Cecile married Paul Ashton in Harlem. Cecile and Paul farmed in the valley southwest of Harlem until 1975, when they moved into their new home in Harlem and started the Harlem Tire business.
Cecile always had a big garden, loved to can, bake, sew, crochet and do handiwork. She wrote a book about her parents life on the homestead titled "Harold and Gertrude" which was published.
She enjoyed children of every age and took delight in all their school activities and accomplishments. She enjoyed ball games, rodeos, music performances, and just watching the little ones play. Montana history was one of Cecile's favorite topics and she especially enjoyed reading about the adventures of Lewis and Clark. She was always involved in reading the news, religious articles and books in her spare time. James Michener was her favorite author. In later years, she enjoyed bird watching and the beautiful flowers her husband grew. She decided to start collecting bird figurines and with her many children, her collection grew quickly.
Cecile was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Clarence; first husband, Thomas Arthur Warwick; son, John Streber Jr.; grandsons, Patrick Warwick, Joseph Paul Rattey; granddaughter, Shae Baird; and son-in-law, Gordon Azure.
Survivors include her husband, Paul; sons, Thomas (Deanna) Warwick of Missoula, William (Beth) Warwick of McMinnville, Ore., Joseph (Georgia) Warwick of Redondo, Calif., John (Joyce) Streber, Jr. of Lewistown; daughters, Betty Ann Azure of Harlem, Barbara Kay (Curtis) Baird of Sitka, Alaska, Mary Jean Schulz of Great Falls, Patricia (Donald) Ford of Great Falls, Jacqueline (Steve) Black of Butte, Jeanine (Dave) Nichols of Bremerton, Wash., and Annette (Tom) Ragsdale of Harlem; stepdaughters, Sondra Ashton of Paulsbo, Wash., and Judy Ashton of Billings; 35 grandchildren, 48 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandsons.
Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook.