Havre Daily News - News you can use

Obituary - Rose Louise Stuart


February 28, 2018

HARLEM - Rose Louise Stuart, 90 years young, passed away Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, at Benefis Peace Hospice Great Falls.

She had fallen in her home Feb. 6 in the late evening, broke her right femur, and survived the Mercy Flight, operation and initial recovery, but her body was too frail. Feb. 16, she entered Peace Hospice to a beautiful room, smiled, ordered oatmeal and rested, but soon began her final journey to the God she loved and served all her life. Her son and extended family wishes to thank the nurses and staff of Peace Hospice for the care and comfort provided to her and making her final journey one of peace and minimal pain.

Rose was born May 7, 1927, in a small one-room shack west of Dodson, to Catherine (Snell) and Irwin Burtch. She was the middle child. Rose's youthful days were spent on the family ranch next to the Weigand Reservoir, enjoying horses, cattle, chickens, playing with her brother Boyd and sister Laura, and riding the horse drawn wagon to get water from a local spring. Rose was one of the last children to attend the Fort Belknap Boarding School before it closed, attended Harlem Grade School where she said Clarence Olson (Olson Ford) was the cutest boy in her third-grade class. She graduated from Chinook High School in 1946.

Rose moved to Havre, began working at Valley Motor where she met her future husband, Bill Stuart. They married in 1951 and their son, Douglas, was born in 1952. They started farming in 1960 on the land she spent her youthful years. She moved to the farm with her son and mother the fall of 1964. Beginning with 248 acres of her mother's land, Rose eventually controlled 30,000 acres in 1984. She faced the subsequent farm credit crises, extended drought, multi-million dollar restructure and business reversals with Grace and a quiet confidence. Not known to many is that while her son was often the face of the business, she was involved in every major decision.

At her 90th birthday party, a grand event of music, photos, prime rib and 100 friends and family, she asked her son to describe her life as one of grit, gumption and the Grace of God. Her son added, with humor, damn good lawyers. A life that began in poverty, obtained material wealth, returned to near poverty, and then rebuilt in new directions was best summed up by herself in her last days: "I am prepared to die. I have served the Lord. It is God's plan". 

Rose is survived by her son, Douglas of Harlem; adopted son, Rohit Saksena, NH; numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill Stuart (2004); her parents, Catherine and Irwin Burtch; her brother, Boyd Burtch; her nephew Greg Ditmar; sister, Laura Ditmar Barrett.

Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Saturday, March 3, at the Harlem High School. Viewing will start at 10 a.m. before the services. Interment will be in the Harlem Cemetery.

Condolences for the family maybe left at http://www.kirkwoodfuneralhome.com.


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