MARTINSDALE — Louise R. Galt died peacefully at her home near Martinsdale on Nov. 21. A private family graveside service was held. A memorial service for extended family and friends will be May 24 at the Lennep church, followed by a gathering at the 71 Ranch.
Louise was born Sept. 7, 1923, in Lewistown. She was the oldest of six children born to WWI war hero and attorney Bert Replogle and his wife, Edith.
After graduating from Fergus County High School, Louise went on to study law at the University of Montana in Missoula. In college she was president of the Associated Women Students, president of the Forensic Tau Kappa Alpha, a member of the band and orchestra, vice president of the Alpha Phi sorority, secretary of the law school’s association and an editor of the Montana Law Review.
Upon graduation, she was elected Fergus County attorney, defeating two men in the Republican primary and a third in the general election. At 23, Louise was the third woman in U.S. history to be selected as a prosecutor. While serving as County Prosecutor, Louise was elected Montana State Young Republican Chairman. She was then elected as an Alternate-Delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1948. In 1949, Louise won a national GOP office when she was elected co-chairman of the National Young Republicans. As part of that office, Louise traveled all around the country, speaking on behalf of the GOP. She received plenty of political coverage and was nationally recognized as a Young Woman of the Year by Mademoiselle Magazine. Look Magazine also did a feature profile on her.
While active in state and national GOP politics, she took care of business in Fergus County. She had 168 convictions during her first two year term. Her biggest victory came in 1949 when the Montana Supreme Court decided in her favor in the State vs. Joyland Club. That victory shut down slot machines across the state and earned her the reputation as an outstanding prosecutor. When she left office in 1951, Wellington Rankin hired her to his firm in Helena. A few years later they were married and her skill as a rider and love of horses complemented ranching as an addition to her resume.
Wellington died in June of 1966, leaving Louise with ranches and a law practice to run.
On July 22, 1967, Louise married Jack Galt, a rancher who brought management skills and seven children to the marriage. Louise added working mother to her titles of attorney, businesswoman and rancher. Louise and Jack spent their 40 years of marriage enjoying family, ranching, politics and traveling.
Her interest in politics never waned and she was active in GOP circles throughout her life. Louise served as chairwoman of the 1980 Montana Reagan for President Campaign and as the Chairman of the Montana delegation to the Republican National Convention where Montana’s vote put Ronald Reagan over the top as the GOP nominee. She rarely missed a meeting of the Last Chance Pachyderm Club and Helena Republican Women and was extremely proud when her grandson, Wylie Galt, was elected to the House, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and great grandfathers.
After Jack died Sept. 8, 2007, Louise continued living on the ranch and at their home in Helena.
She is survived by her sister, Ramona (Ola) Bang of Deland, Fla.; nieces and nephews, Lisa, Mickael and Chris Bang, Rick and Ernie Johnson, Mary Anna and Albert Replogle and two special relationships with her niece, Candace Johnson Kruger of Columbia Falls and friend, Adine Cyr Cox.
She is also survived by seven Galt children, Mary Ann (Don) Hill of Thayne, Wyo., Bill Galt of White Sulphur Springs, Jackie (Dan) Rice of Great Falls, Errol (Sharrie) Galt of Martinsdale, Ben Galt of White Sulphur Springs, Kate Galt of Great Falls and John (Kelly) Galt of Helena; 16 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren, the youngest of whom, baby Gunnar Galt, lives nearby and was Louise’s favorite visitor.
The family would like to thank the kind caregivers from Serenity Home Health in White Sulphur Springs. Without Tressa, Susan, Rhonda and Brandi, Louise would not have been able to stay in the home she loved.
Memorials are suggested to the Mountainview Medical Center, PO Box Q, White Sulphur Springs, MT. Please visit www.stevensonwilke.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Louise.