The kindest and most gracious person we know passed away on Saturday, May 25, 2013. We are thankful for the gift of her life and for all that she shared with us.
Tiny was born Sept. 3, 1926, to Nora (Jackson) and Mathias H. Rapstad, the fifth of nine siblings. Her early years were spent in Ingomar where she started first grade, moving to the Pompey’s Pillar area in 1934. She attended Huntley Project School, graduating in 1944. Upon graduating, she moved to Custer. She worked at the local grocery store where she met her future husband William (Bill) Gunn. They were married Aug. 4, 1946, and lived in Custer where they farmed and ranched. To this marriage two children were born, Ron and Connie.
In 1963 Bill began working for the PCA in Hardin and Tiny took on the responsibilities at home, including calving, feeding and caring for their children. Despite her busy farming and ranching life, Tiny was able to study and pass the exam to obtain her investment license.
There wasn’t a recipe she couldn’t master. She was known for her chicken and homemade noodles, her mother’s whip cream cake, and her grandchildren’s favorite mashed potato patties. Neighbors, family and friends were always welcomed to their home and greeted with an assortment of homemade goodies.
She never passed up an opportunity to volunteer. Tiny was active in the Order of Eastern Star Jephthah #116 Chapter, where she was a Past Worthy Matron. She was also a Peg-A-Way 4-H leader, Sunday School teacher and Billings Deaconess Hospital volunteer. She was a member of the Custer Congregational Church, Custer Friendly Circle, North Side Do-Better Homemaker Club, Montana Cattlewomen’s Association, Yellowstone County Cowbelles, Shiloh United Methodist Church, United Methodist Women and American Legion Auxiliary.
Tiny and Bill moved to Billings in 1978. After moving she worked at several retail businesses including Rocky’s Bootery, Cole’s Department Store and Le Boutique.
Being part of a large family helped to develop her nurturing spirit and strong commitment to family. Always the caregiver, her primary concern was for others. She cared for her husband for more than six years during his illness. In recent years, Tiny and her devoted sister, Thelma, were able to share comfort, support and companionship during their daily visits.
In the past year and a half, she allowed others at Jensen Cottage located on St. John’s Lutheran Ministries campus to care for her. Even though she was no longer at her home, she remained the hostess and never missed an opportunity to share her chocolates with visitors and staff. The family would like to thank all those who cared for her and made her time at Jensen Cottage comfortable.
Tiny is survived by her son Ron (Fran) Gunn; daughter Connie (Ed) Grammens; grandchildren Lori (Todd) Westby, Nellie Gunn, Marsha Gunn, Billie Gunn, Brad Grammens and Ryan Grammens; great-grandchildren Brooke, Blaire and Ty Westby; sisters Thelma Kratochvil and Connie (Fritz) Durfee; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
She is preceded in death by her husband Bill; her parents Nora and Mathias; brothers Harold, Art, Lewis (Bud), Ted, David and sister Pat.
WE LOVE YOU TOO, more than words can say.
Memorial services will be held Friday, May 31, at 11 a.m. at Shiloh United Methodist Church, 1810 Shiloh Road in Billings. Interment will be at the Custer Cemetery at 3 p.m. In Tiny’s honor, the family would encourage memorials to be made to the Ronald McDonald House of Billings, 1144 N. 30th, Billings, MT 59101.
Remembrances may be shared with the family by visiting www.michelottisawyers.com.