Sigrid Mae Haugstad Woodward Thornby

2014-03-30T00:00:00Z Sigrid Mae Haugstad Woodward Thornby The Billings Gazette
March 30, 2014 12:00 am

BIG TIMBER — Sigrid Thornby passed away March 25, 2014, at the Pioneer Medical Center, in the company of her son, E James Woodward. Sigrid Mae Haugstad was born in 1916 at Gibson, Mont., the oldest of three children of Kolben and Kristine Leland Haugstad, who had both come to America from Norway.

Sigrid attended grades 1–6 at Lucky Center School. After skipping 7th grade, she attended grades 8–12 in Big Timber and graduated from Sweet Grass County High School in 1933. She attended Montana State Normal College at Dillon and got a two-year teaching certificate in August 1935.

Sigrid began her teaching career at Deer Creek Rural School and taught grades 1–8 from 1935–1938. She taught three additional years in other Sweet Grass County rural schools and then taught 8th grade at Big Timber Grade School for three years.

In February 1945, Sigrid married A. James Woodward, who was working as a Brakeman for the Northern Pacific Railway in Livingston. After one year in Livingston, they moved to Lahood Park, Mont., where Jim had taken a job as Chief Guide at nearby Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park.

Their son, E James Woodward, was born in September 1946, and they moved to Whitehall, Mont. in December 1946.

In the fall of 1950, Sigrid resumed her teaching career, teaching 5th grade at Whitehall Grade School every year except one until the spring of 1968 – she taught 6th grade the year her son was a 5th grader.

After several years of summer school and correspondence courses, Sigrid earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Western Montana College in Dillon in 1967

A. James Woodward succumbed to Multiple Sclerosis in 1968. Sigrid moved to Helena that summer and started teaching 5th grade at Ray Bjork Elementary School.

In 1974, Sigrid earned a Masters degree in Elementary School Administration from Montana State University in Bozeman. In 1975, she was named Principal of the C. R. Anderson School in Helena, the first female Principal in Helena in over 20 years. She held that position until her retirement in 1979.

In 1980, Sigrid married William O Thornby and returned to Big Timber, where she was active in the Lutheran Church, Hospitality House, and Legacy Legislature. She campaigned tirelessly for the construction of the Boulder Meadows Assisted Living facility. Bill passed away in 1993.

Sigrid was an accomplished pianist and organist and played for many years with the Big Timber Kitchen Band. She also enjoyed reading and travel, taking trips to Seattle in 1955 and again in 1962 for the World’s Fair, to Alaska in 1971, and to Hawaii in 1972.

Sigrid’s brother Kenneth Haugstad died in 2006. Her sister Lucille Anderson resides at The Vista in Billings. Her son E James Woodward and his wife Carol reside in Minnesota and her grandson Jay Woodward resides in Maryland.

Cremation has taken place. A celebration of Sigrid’s Life will be held in Big Timber in late July 2014. Exact date will be announced prior to the celebration. Condolences for the family may left at

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