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  1. Myra Moss, Age 91!
  2. Gene Allard, Age 97!
  3. Tribute to Stone Mason Dan Baumgartner
Jerry A. Stolle, Ace Webmaster, Age 63!

Our website has been “dorment” and then “dark” since November 2008, when our talented webmaster Jerry Stolle, of Lost Quartz Road, over Sunny Slope Hill from Polson,  suddenly and with no warning passed away.

Jerry had several careers. He was many years with Hewlett-Packard working on hardware and the programs that operated those systems. Then he “retired” and went freelance as an IT consultant.

In 2002, Jerry with his camera turned up at the annual Miracle of America “Live History Days” . As he photographed the activities and new exhibits, he came upon “Snowshoe Polly” and a guy in bib overalls and straw hat who was hand-splitting cedar shakes with a froe and mallet. That was me, playing the part of “Buckhannon Billy”, the old Pennsylvania woodsman who’d taught me the ways of shake and shingle making. The Museum was demonstrating three methods of manufacturing roofing; hand splitting, single side sawing with a small horizontal mill, and doublesided sawing of short shingles on an automatic vertical mill belt-driven from Gene Belile’s 1923 John Deere Model “D” tractor ( which bears an X  – for experimental ) serial number and is the last survivor of 10 X tractors, sent out to Montana and Texas before Deere & Co. went into large scale production.

Jerry quickly noted the significance of the homesteaders’ method of handsplitting which required absolutely no machinery and only hand tools, progressing to the John Deere tractor driven automatic shingle mills, and realized that it was THIS Model “D” tractor, continuously manufactured from 1923 to 1953,  that made Deere and Company’s name famous worldwide. His camera had a busy two days and a full memory stick!

Jerry’s photos were so good he immediately became the Museum’s webmaster, and was asked to create websites for several Polson business owners.  Within a week he alsovisited Molesworth Montana Institute and Ranch, his photos were way better than ours, his design skills far exceeded my own, and he asked if he could be our volunteer webmaster also. We were overjoyed, and Jerry did a professional job on our site, as you can see here.

We purchased a new Apple iBook for him, and other equipment he wanted, especially a new digital camera and cables, and those were our gift to him. Jerry in turn donated his older 5 megapixel Sony Camera to Miracle of America Museum which helped the Museum upgrade its historical exhibit records and enabled Joanne Mangels to apply for grants with documentation.

The last Easter Jerry was with us, we gave him a huge chocolate Easter Bunny. In hindsight, Jerry deserved a thousand chocolate Easter Bunnies!

Suddenly, Jerry was gone, passed over the Great Divide.

We’ve missed his friendly face and helpful suggestions and our website has been dormant from November 2008, until this month. In late 2010, distracted by other problems I could not solve, I  had carelessly allowed our domain name to lapse. Some nice folks in TX snapped it up, changed the homepage to help their books and furnishings sales effort, but used it only a year or so, and also let it lapse.

Our new Webmaster, Matt Beard, has not only assisted in re-acquiring the domain name, but has also found Jerry’s work cached on various servers and brought that much “back from the dead”.

A tip of the hat to Matt, and we hope Jerry’s smiling too.  Rest in Peace, Jerry!

Jerry was survived in 2008 by both his parents, Frank and Pat Stolle of Glendive and Rapid City, and his brother, Steve Stolle, of Lincoln, Nebraska.  He left behind many cousins in the Grass Range area. His Dad, Frank, passed on over the Great Divide in 2011, at the age of 85!

Tony O. 2/26/14

Polly Parke Ostheimer, age 76!
Polly Ostheimer

“Polly” was born 4 October 1935 in West Chester, PA. to Thomas Parke, MD and Caroline Lippincott Hoopes Parke, and she left us peacefully in her sleep on 24 October 2011 from complications of early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

She graduated from the Agnes Irwin School, Rosemont, PA and Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH with an AS degree in Medical Technology, and qualified as Medical Secretary and Records Librarian. She was employed first in her father‘s Downingtown GP office, then by William Plummer, MD in West Chester (who developed one of the earliest insulin pumps while Polly managed his office), and then at Chester County Hospital as Records Librarian.

Polly and Tony Ostheimer were married 22 June 1957 at Downingtown Friends (Quaker) Meeting and Polly then began a 2nd career as a Marine Corps Officer’s Wife at Quantico, Virginia and Camp LeJeune, NC. Her 3rd career as mother and homemaker began when Caroline Parke Ostheimer was born at Onslow Memorial Hospital, Jacksonville, NC.

Returning to Pennsylvania, Polly gave Tony 3 sons, Edward McIlvain “Ted” Ostheimer, Richard Knight Ostheimer, and William Bacon Ostheimer, and she began her 4th career as office manager for Tony, a Chartered Life Underwriter. She also managed their Hopewell Farm, then Hideaway Farm, and finally Molesworth Montana Institute and Ranch in Mission Valley, near St. Ignatius, where she lived for 37 years.

Polly and Tony celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2007 with family and friends at their ranch. By that time Polly was wheelchair bound, but she had been in all 50 States and 7 Canadian Provinces plus 11 European countries, had been co-recording secretary for TOPS Club Ronan where she was member for 18 years, had become an expert amateur gardener, had been 1st Mate on their 40’ live-aboard Salmon Troller “F/V Item 113” fishing and exploring Southeast Alaska , and had knitted sweaters for all 8 grandchildren & others, and uncountable watch caps, balaclavas, earmuffs, gloves, mittens, and even several afghans.

Polly is survived by her husband of 54 years, all four of her children and their spouses, Muthumuthu Sooriyakumar, Shawn Alyssa Ryan, Nan Bovingdon, and Kelly Marie Krantz, and her 8 Grandchildren, Sai Sooriyakumar of Hawaii, Marlee R. Ostheimer ( & partner Josh Cahoon), Kailun E. Ostheimer ( Heather Martin), Ashley Nicole O. Kendell ( Ryan) of Idaho Falls, Joshua Parke Ostheimer ( Amber Wahl ), Christopher J. Ostheimer ( Lindsey Hanson), Colby Talbot Ostheimer, and Abigail Elaine Ostheimer, all of Western Montana. She was blessed to meet 3 great grandchildren, Rylie Marie Kendell, Gavin R. Kendell, and Ellis James Cahoon.

Polly is also survived by her sisters, Martha Hoopes Parke Gibian, of Folkeways in Gwyned Valley, Margaret Wistar Parke Gober of Cochranville, PA her brother Thomas Edge Parke of Hawk Valley, Denver, Lancaster County, PA, and many wonderful nieces, nephews, cousins, and “in-laws”. Polly was the loving magnet that brought families together and the glue that held them joyously up for her Creator. For Polly, her families, and especially her grandchildren, were most important, even before her gardens. She loved to sit and read to and with them for hours at a time. Polly always was positive about other people and never said negative things about anyone. Her loving way and beautiful gardens seemed made for Heaven.

A “Celebrate Polly Day” will be held on Saturday afternoon November 12th, for family, neighbors, and friends at her ranch home. A second memorial celebration will be held Sunday afternoon 2- 6 PM November 20th as an “Open House” at Edgewater Townhouses. And a “Celebrate Polly Weekend” is being planned for the week and weekend of June 22nd, 2012, at the family’s ranch.

Polly loved hiking and biking so, In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in her memory to Missoula Freecycles or Missoula Trails, or to the Missoula YWCA, or the Missoula Salvation Army, or to your favorite Missoula church or charity.

Polly graduated from the all-girls’ Agnes Irwin School (, Ithan Avenue and Conestoga Road, Rosemont, PA 19010-1042 ) and she and her classmates have had some special projects on-going there to provide scholarship support for talented students around the greater Philadelphia area, and especially girls living in the ghettos.

Her families are contemplating establishing a special fund at AIS to encourage research into and studies of America’s War for Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the foundations of our Constitutional Republic, in memory of both Polly, and her mother who was Class of 1928, and in honor of her sister, Martha Hoopes Parke Schneider Gibian, Class of 1952, and Tony‘s sister Martha, Class of 1959.

Nine of Polly’s and Tony’s ancestors served in the American Revolution and War For America’s Independence and are listed in the Daughters of The American Revolution “Patriot Indexes”. Four of them died during that war. Two of them ( Col. Thomas Robinson and Col. Joseph McClellan ) played key roles in preventing a British rout of the Continental Army and Militias at the Battle of the Brandywine, near Chadds Ford, PA. A memorial monument to Col. McClellan may be seen today in the north end of the Birmingham Friends Meeting Burial Ground near the spot where he moved his Militia unit to stop and repel a Redcoat flanking attempt.

Col. Thomas Robinson’s family was related by marriage to that of Gen. Anthony Wayne, and so his Militia Company ( known as the “Flying Camp” ) was detailed as camp security and personal bodyguard for Wayne, and therefore other officers in camp. At the Brandywine Battlefield, Gen. George Washington, Gen. Nathaniel Greene, and Gen. Lafayette were present, and some quick thinking and action by Robinson and his men not only saved the flag when some Redcoats appeared to have captured it, but also Gen. Lafayette’s life shortly after he was shot in the leg.

Today, our Constitutional Republic is being slowly destroyed for lack of knowledge of our history and guiding principles. Perhaps it may be restored through schools such as Agnes Irwin if faculty will return to the tried and true texts in American History and students apply their computer skills in learning valued principles.

Polly’s vitality was slowed and then disrupted by the alienating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease which finally overcame her after a 16 year struggle. She quietly encouraged Tony and her Nurse-companion of 10+ years, Phyllis Nowlen, RN, to research into the pharmaceutical and genetic ways to control and perhaps cure some forms of “AD”. She and her family hoped she’d live long enough to benefit from a “skin cells to brain cells” transplant using stem cell technology. Sadly, that was not to be. However, it may be possible that some AIS student will learn from research being done at Scripps, Stanford, Gladstone, Salk-Kavli KIBM, and make advances possible so others will not become handicapped as Polly was. By using a person’s own skin cells and “morphing” them into brain cells, the ethical problems of using embryonic stem cells, the logistical problems of gathering and transporting living cells over great distances, and the rejection problems and medications necessary when someone else’s cells are transplanted can all be avoided. Therefore, Polly’s families contemplate a 2nd use for the memorial fund bearing her name, specifically for basic and advanced science studies at AIS, in hopes that students and faculty will someday play some part in brain cell and synapse regeneration using stem cell technologies, thereby treating and perhaps preventing major neurological diseases such as AD, Parkinson’s Disease or PD, MS, and even perhaps ALS.

The Ostheimer Family 11/11/11
Myra Moss, Age 91!

An obituary in the Lake County Leader or Missoulian or Char-Koosta News by Howard Moss noted the passing of his mother Elmyra “Myra” E. Moss on 19 February 2003 at the age of 91. I worked for Myra & Reub Moss before we Ostheimers bought the ranch from them in 1974. The Moss family resided for many years in the Molesworth Montana Institute “Old Lodge,” and built the main machine shed and rodeo arena (seepix #17 of structures) here. They played an important part in preserving this farm and ranch for the future.

Tony O. 2/26/03
Gene Allard, Age 97!

We noted with celebration the long and productive life of Eugene “Gene” Allard, the last of his generation of Allards in Mission Valley MT, as he passed over the Great Divide on 8 December 2002 at the age of 97. Gene was raised along Post Creek MT, hunted and gathered wild apples all over his family’s various allotments here, lived a long and good life, handled his increasing adversities with humor, and now follows his brother Sidney Allard and other family members through the Cloud Veil and into the Mysteries. A full obituary and the story of Gene’s life may be read in the Lake County Leader or Missoulian or Char-Koosta News archives. We add the following notes to that. Gene probably lived his first 7 to 10 years in our MMI double log Allard Homestead, though his memories here on his mother’s Flathead Indian Allotment #771 were more of the “third two-story Allard house” under the giant cottonwoods. That home burned during the Great Depression after the bankers repossessed that 80 acre parcel. We have done some archeology digs around that site and show some of the artifacts recovered from the burned Allard House in pix #26 of furnishings 3, displayed in a Molesworth Frame that once contained mirror glass. Unfortunately we have no photo of the house itself, but hope someday to obtain a good copy of one from the Allard family to display with this artifacts board.

Gene and his siblings were able to hold and maintain most of their family’s Flathead Allotments assembled by their parents, aunts and uncles. The modern result is that the Allard Post Creek Ranch continues today under the stewardship of Martena Allard Savage assisted by her husband of 40+ years Luke Savage, and “Colonel” Doug Allard, auctioneer and owner of Allard’s Flathead Museum, Trading Post, Restaurant, Store, Motel, and Jam Factory. We believe this is a noteworthy family accomplishment because Allard’s Post Creek Ranch was recently recognized as a Montana Centennial Farm and Ranch by Montana Farm Bureau! It has been continuously owned and operated within this family for more than one hundred years! To our knowledge it is the only one of its kind so recognized in Lake County MT and within the Flathead Indian Reservation boundaries. Several other family ranches will become eligible in 2010, such as the Krantz Family Sabine Creek Ranches, the Dupuis Family Mud Creek Ranches, the Cornelius Family Farm & Ranch, the Pablo Family Ranches. Others may contact us at MMI via email for more info about the Montana Centennial Farm & Ranch Program.

Montana Centennial Farms are available online by:

Tony O. 2/22/03
Tribute to Stone Mason Dan Baumgartner

MMI notes the passing of Daniel Bert Baumgartner, age 82, probably the best artistic stone mason ever to live and work in Montana. Dan built both the stone chimneys and “heat-saver” fireplaces at Molesworth Montana Institute in 1937 – ’38. Photos of those are shown elsewhere on this website. Dan was born 2 June 1919 to George and Goldie Pratt Normandeau of Ronan, Montana. He last lived at Polson, and passed over the Great Divide 7 February 2002 at Fort Harrison VA Hospital, near Helena, Montana. Dan leaves 4 children, 13 grandchildren, and many great grandchildren. Dan’s full brother Blaine Normandeau and others who worked alongside him, young and old, said there was no man as strong or as determined for his size (which was Large!) as Dan. Men who played football against Blaine said they hated lining up opposite him as they were sure to get lifted off the ground and dumped, and then thoroughly tromped upon. Blaine would laugh at that and quietly say, “they were lucky they didn’t have to line up against my brother; he weighed 60 pounds more and was strong as a Grizzly Bear!” Dan was still working into his 70′s. There’s a lot of nice stone work around Mission Valley thanks to his strength and artistry. Comparing Dan’s two rockwork chimneys at MMI against two brick chimneys, we are seeing how well his work is lasting. Not a crack. No spalling. No need to point the chimneys, even at the top, even after 64 years! He chose certain stones over others, because he knew they’d last. It seems fitting that the Romer Family selected Dan to be stone mason for their Molesworth-commission Lodge, as Dan’s chimneys are rugged, beautiful, functional, and a necessary part of any Western Lodge where firewood is plentiful in cold country. Like Thomas Molesworth’s furnishings, Dan’s chimneys had style. Hopefully, someday, someone will catalog and photograph all of Dan’s chimneys (see pix #5, 8 of structures). Adios and rest in Peace, Dan!

See also Missoulian obituary.

Tony O. 4/1/02