SHEPHERD — Katherine died on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, at the age of 94.5 years.
Katherine was born Jan. 21, 1920, the fourth child to Joseph and Catherine Lechner, in their homestead shack on Fly Creek, south of Pompeys Pillar. She attended Fly Creek and Anita grade schools and High School in Worden. She graduated from Huntley Project High School in 1937, and entered Eastern Montana College (MSUB), graduating with a teaching degree in 1939.
Her first teaching position was at Cheery Creek, a one-room school, 18 miles northeast of Shawmut. She also taught one-room schools at Allendale, near Laurel, and Pineview, northeast of Shepherd. It was while teaching at Pineview she met Earling Haaland. They were married on June 9, 1945, at the American Lutheran Church in Billings.
Katherine and Earling joined Emmanuel Lutheran church in Shepherd in 1953. Service at Emmanuel involved Sunday School Superintendent for 20 years, Parish Board of Education, Council, Luther League Advisor, and ELCW. Katherine was a charter member of the Pineview Home Demonstration Club, joining in 1945. From time to time, in later years, she worked as a substitute teacher in the Scandia School north of Shepherd.
Katherine is preceded in death by her husband of 51 years, Earling; brothers, Marc, Frank, Herman, John, Karl, and Jim; sisters, Mary and RosEllen; and an infant granddaughter, Krista Haaland.
She is survived by her sons, Clifford (Dorothy) of Madison, Wis., Michael (Lea) of Billings, and Robin of Laurel; grandchildren Erik Haaland (Daniel Holmgren) of St. Paul, Minn., Kirsten Heggeseth (Mike) of Madison, Wis., and Lucas Haaland of McCarthy, Alaska; great-granddaughter, Emma Heggeseth of Madison, Wis.; brothers, Glen Lechner of Harlowton, Charles Lechner and Ted Lechner of Billings; along with her extended family of sisters-in-law, and many nieces and nephews.
Katherine was always a gracious and welcoming host to visitors; quickly getting the coffee pot on and some snacks ready. She loved all of her family very much and will be lovingly remembered by many. She felt so richly blessed, as are we for having felt her love for us.
Visitation will be noon to 9 p.m., Friday at Smith Downtown Chapel, and one hour before service at the church. Services will be held on Saturday, July 26, at 2 p.m. at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Shepherd. Interment will be in the Shepherd Cemetery. The family extends their gratitude to the staff of St. John's Vista and Wing 4, for all of their loving care given to Katherine in her last years. We ask that memorials be directed to Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Shepherd and to St. John’s Lutheran Ministries, Billings.