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RUDYARD - Freda Gene Hansard, 75, died Sunday, Dec. 14, 2003, at her home in Rudyard.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Blue Sky High School gymnasium in Rudyard. Her ashes will be buried in the family plot at the Rudyard Cemetery.

Freda was born on March 30, 1928, at Havre to Alfred "Pete" Rathbun and Winifred "Winnie" Boyer. She grew up on the Rathbun homestead south of Inverness and received her early education at the Cockrell Springs country school near the farm. During several winters in her early teens, Freda traveled to Shelburn, Ind., with her folks to visit her mother's family, so she attended school there. The rest of her education was completed at Inverness and Rudyard. She graduated from Rudyard High School in 1946.

Freda married Jim Meyers in July 1946 at Havre. She attended Northern Montana College for a short time, then began her life as homemaker and mother. Freda and Jim had two children before their marriage ended in divorce.

Freda married Gene Hansard in Bemidji, Minn., on Dec. 1, 1952. They made their home in Rudyard, where they bought the old Gambles store and converted it to Rudyard Upholstery, a business they operated for many years. Freda purchased the Rudyard Cafe and Drug Store in 1967. She put in long days at the business venture for 11 year and then sold it. The Hansards divorced in 1975. Freda moved to Havre for a few years and worked at H&R Block.

In 1983, she bought two taverns near Glacier Park - the Packer's Roost in Coram and the Deer Lick in Martin City. Freda and her children operated the bars for several years. Their saloons became popular stops by Hi-Line friends who traveled to and from the Flathead Valley. Freda eventually sold the two bars for health reasons. She lived in Cut Bank for a short while, before moving back to her home in Rudyard.

Freda suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which required daily oxygen use. She still remained active and took a job as the Blue Sky High School librarian. She also volunteered as curator at the Depot Museum in Rudyard.

In her spare time, Freda enjoyed crocheting, arts and crafts, gardening, and her collection of dinner plates and china. She spent countless hours documenting historical information and categorizing materials on her computer.

She was preceded in death by her mother in 1979; father in 1985; daughter, Tammy Jean Hansard in 1977; and son, Dale Lee Hansard in 1997.

Survivors include her daughter, Linda Foster of Elko, Nev.; sons, Jim Meyers of Whitefish and Danny "Sam" Hansard of Rudyard; stepson, Rick Hansard of Las Vegas; sister, Lourene Willis of Camarillo, Calif.; four grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made to the Depot Museum at Rudyard.

Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel, Chester.


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