SAN DIEGO — Verda Rosecellia Hoffarth Stewart, born Dec. 26, 1923, in Dagmar, Mont., passed peacefully on Oct. 19, 2013, just short of her 90th birthday in San Diego, Calif.
Verda was born the second daughter of eight children to Martin and Agnes Torgerson on their farm near Dagmar. She grew up on the northern plains and lived through the Great Depression, an experience that was forever etched in her memory. Verda graduated from Medicine Lake High School in 1941 as valedictorian of her class and received a college scholarship but did not continue on to college.
Verda met her beloved husband, Roy P. Hoffarth, at a Saturday night dance. They were married in 1942 and farmed east of Raymond, Mont., later moving to Plentywood. Roy served in the Army from 1942 to 1945. Verda lived with Roy’s mother, Rosa, during that time and maintained a deep abiding love for her. Roy preceded Verda in death in 1961 after a long illness.
Verda and her family moved to Glasgow in 1962; she worked for the J.C. Penney Co. from 1962 through 1979 in the business office and as catalog supervisor. She transferred to the Pacific Beach, Calif., store as the catalog supervisor in 1979 and then to the Fashion Valley store where she worked until her retirement in 1983.
Verda appreciated the sunny climate of San Diego and while she missed family and friends in Montana, she did not miss the cold and snowy winters. She loved to drive to Montana in the summers to visit family and friends and cherished the beauty of the Big Sky state.
Verda was an exceptional and avid dancer and danced ballroom as long as she was able. She was an accomplished seamstress and crafter. She loved to garden and had a prolific “green thumb.” Verda was always a storyteller and several years ago discovered she had a gift for writing. She left an amazing compilation of her life’s stories.
Her love of family was always the most important thing to Verda, not only the members that were closest to her, but all of her extended family. She imparted her belief in the importance of family, curious nature and love of learning to her children and grandchildren. Verda loved people and could visit with anyone, and typically did. She had a quick and easy smile and usually a twinkle in her eye.
Verda was a member of the St. Catherine Laboure Catholic Church, Santa Teresa Guild, American Legion Auxiliary #41 and Ladies Auxiliary VFW.
Verda was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Roy Hoffarth; baby boy Hoffarth; twin boys Hoffarth; and brothers, Marvin, Maynard and Art Torgerson; and sisters, Verna Torgerson and Flora Mae Smith.
Verda is survived by her son, Garry Hoffarth, Fort Meyers, Fla.; daughters, Shannon Hoffarth, San Diego, Vernita Ares, Santa Cruz, Calif., and Jeanine (Jack) Markle, Glasgow, Mont.; grandchildren, Lei (John) Ellingson, Wade (Dana) Hoffarth-Johansen, Matthew Hoffarth, Eric Hoffarth, Jackson Hoffarth, Ryan Hudson, Dominic Ares, Amanda Ares, Drew Markle and Dirk (Bonnie) Markle. She is also survived by a brother, Victor Torgerson; sister, Violet Sorensen; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Verda will be deeply missed by her family, friends, and people whose lives she touched. She would want to give each and every one of you a hug and sit down for a chat. She was special!
Verda was briefly married to Ray L. Thompson and later, to James A. Stewart.
Verda’s wishes were to be cremated and laid to rest at the Plentywood Memorial Cemetery in Plentywood, Mont., with her beloved husband, Roy. Date and time are pending. Mass for the Repose of Verda’s Soul will be held at 11 a.m. Nov. 10, at St. Catherine Laboure Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers donations may be sent in the memory of “Verda R. Stewart” to Glasgow High School Educational Trust, c/o Jeanine Markle, 904 Wedum Drive, Glasgow, MT 59230, or to a charity of your choice.