On Jan. 19, 2009, the Life slipped out of Mom's Parkinson's ravaged body and moved on to the next dimension. While her children, grandchildren, husband and all who loved her are sad beyond words, we celebrate that she was able to share that Life with us to her very last hours on this earth.
Gretchen was born on Oct. 31, 1921, to Mary and Guy Van Cleve, the second of three children, and grew up on the family farm/ranch near Custer. Growing up during the Depression instilled in her the virtues of frugality and of hard work. She graduated from the University of Montana in 1943 with a BS in business education.
On Feb. 16, 1945, she married George Rogers. They continued to farm her family farm. Three children, Bill, Joyce and Jean, were born to them. She was active in the farming community life and was a founding member of the Sunshine Club, a group of North Valley women, who met just to have fun and fellowship. After a 1964 farm accident tragically took George's life, she leased out the ranch and farm and returned to teaching.
In 1969-70, she went back to MSU Bozeman, rooming with her sophomore daughter Jean, and received a master's degree in business education. After a four-year stint at Dawson Community College teaching business, she worked at the State Department of Revenue as the Bureau Chief of Accounting. Government accounting did not agree with her. She was a very black and white kind of accountant and had difficulty with some of the fuzzy rules and the waste she saw in the state government. She then moved to Ballantine and taught business class at Huntley Project High School until her retirement in 1982.
On May 27, 1978, she married childhood friend Emery "Bum" Haynie. After her retirement from teaching, they moved back to the ranch and raised cattle, fixed fence, replanted pasture and fought knapweed. She was thrilled to be named Weed Fighter of the Year for Big Horn County one year. She and Bum had many wonderful trips in the early retirement years, traveling to Australia, Europe, Alaska, Canada and many places in the U.S. As an avid follower of the Iditarod race, she had especially fond memories of her trip to see the 1999 Iditarod sendoff in Anchorage and Wasilla. She was a volunteer tax preparer for the VISTA program from its inception and knitted sacks full of mitten, caps and mufflers for the senior gifting program. They moved from the ranch to Billings in 2002 and she stayed involved in the senior community to her best ability.
She is survived by her husband, Emery; sister, Annabel (Olaf) Olsen; son Bill (Michela) Rogers; daughters Joyce (Larry) Romine and Jean (Jack) Allbright and stepdaughter Cindy (Jim) Culp. Also surviving are grandchildren Brenda (Ed) Coates, Leslie Romine, Bobbie (Tony) Beehler, Matt (Savannah) Rogers, Mike (Nicole) Rogers, Christy (Brad) Culp, Shane Culp and eight great-grandchildren.
Gretchen's family would like to thank the nursing staff at Billings Clinic for the excellent care she received with a special thanks to Matt, Jeremiah, Annette, Kathleen and Michelle, whose care and concern for us all was over the top.
Memorial services will be held to honor her life 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 23, in the Bullis Funeral Chapel in Hardin. Private inurnment will be held at a later date. Bullis Mortuary of Hardin has been entrusted with the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donation be sent to the Big Horn County Historical Museum or charity of one's choice.