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CHESTER - Emmi Viola Schroer Girard Kelso, 89, died Sunday, Fed. 2, 2003, from complications of Alzheimer's disease at a Spokane, Wash., care center.

A funeral Mass will be 1 p.m. Saturday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Chester. A reception will follow at the church. Graveside service and burial will be 3:30 p.m. at the Lothair Cemetery.

Emmi was born on Oct. 2, 1913, on the family homestead north of Galata to Linus and Ester (Naslund) Markuson. She grew up on the farm and received her early education at the Greenhill country school. After graduating from Galata High School, Emmi continued her education at Western Montana College in Dillon, where she received her teaching certificate in 1934. During the next four years, she taught school near the Sweet Grass Hills and Galata.

Emmi met Louis J. Schroer and they were married on June 27, 1938. They lived in Browning until 1945, then purchased Lou's Service Station at Lothair. The mom-and-pop business was a truck stop, motel, mini-grocery and souvenir store.

In the late 1950s, they went back to teaching. Lou became principal at Chester High School and Emmi taught school in Sunburst. In 1960, she accepted a teaching position at Chester grade school, so they moved to town. Lou died on Jan. 28, 1967. Emmi continued to teach. In addition, she attended school at Northern Montana College in Havre and earned her bachelor of science degree in education in 1972. She retired from the Chester school system in 1974 and moved to Kalispell.

Emmi married Richard Girard in 1976. He died the following year. Several years later she married Robert Kelso. They made their home in the Flathead Valley until 1995, when they moved to Spokane, Wash., to be close to Emmi's daughters. He died in March 2000.

Emmi had been very active in the Catholic Church throughout her life. She loved music, embroidery, gardening, dancing and playing bridge. She enjoyed cooking and baking and collected cups and saucers.

She was preceded in death by her husbands; parents; sisters, Elizabeth Leighton, Evelyn Jones and Ethel Kinyon; brothers, Harold and Leonard Markuson.

Survivors include her children, Marilyn Rider of Nine Mile Falls, Wash., Karen (Richard) Gertson of Spokane and Louis John (Linda) Schroer of Casper, Wyo.; sisters, Lillian Cockrell Fenster of Kalispell, Mildred Visocan of Raynesford and Ester Marie Berry of Mesa, Ariz.; 12 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and many nephews and nieces.

Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Home, Chester.


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