WHITEFISH - Winifred “Winnie” Osburnsen, 87, died peacefully Tuesday, March 28, 2006, at her daughter and son-in-law's home in Whitefish.
A celebration of Winnie's life will be held at Missoula First Presbyterian Church in late May.
Winifred was born in Havre on Sept. 2, 1918, to Martha and Hiram Bickle. After graduating valedictorian from Havre High School, Winnie moved to Great Falls, where she met Laurence Osburnsen. They were married in Arkansas in 1942, while he was in the Army Air Corps.
After his discharge, they moved often for Larry's employment with the Department of Agriculture. They settled in Butte in 1952, where she was the private secretary for the manager of Hennessy's. In 1961, the family moved to Missoula. Winnie went to work at the Hoerner Waldorf papermill. She was proud of her work, but retired at 72 rather than learn computer skills.
Winnie was editor of both the mill and her church's newsletters. She often submitted letters to the editor at the Missoulian. She also wrote numerous poems and was proud that several were published.
She was ordained a deacon of Missoula First Presbyterian Church in 1988. She enjoyed assisting with the church Logos program for children and being a friendly visitor. She served on committees and boards of Habitat for Humanity, the Cancer Society, YMCA, a local credit union and the Secretaries' Club. She opened her heart and her home to people from around the world: Laotian refugees, students from China and Japan, visiting international choirs and others in need of shelter. She provided room and board for her grandsons and many students studying at the University of Montana.
Winnie delighted in traveling and shared photos of her trips to Africa, China, South America, Japan, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico and Alaska. Most of all she loved Montana and believed there was no better place in the world.
Winnie kept a beautiful garden and sanctuary for wildlife. She was always ready for a dance, concert or Griz game.
Winnie was preceded in death by her son, Jim, in June 1975.
Survivors include her daughters, Diane Osburnsen and Linda (Mike) Gwiazdon; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Buffalo Hill Funeral Home is caring for the family.