Viola, 91, passed away peacefully on Oct. 7, 2019, at St. John’s Nursing Home in Billings. Vi was born on Sept. 8, 1928, in Rugby, North Dakota. She was always proud to say she was third of 13 children born to Joseph and Margaret (Jundt) Schiff. Vi attended grade school and high school in Rugby and then Minot State Teacher’s College in Minot, North Dakota where she earned her teacher’s certificate. From there, she moved to Big Sandy, Montana, becoming the youngest teacher ever contracted by the Big Sandy school district. It was in Big Sandy that she met the love of her life, Roy, when he inadvertently slammed a door in her face. It was love at first sight. They were married June 30, 1948 in Velva, North Dakota in a double ceremony with her sister Phyllis and John Selzler. After Roy broke his foot while baling hay for his new father-in-law, the newlyweds went off to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon. The couple returned to Big Sandy where Vi taught third grade for 5 years, after which she dedicated her life to taking care of her family. In 1960, Roy’s employment with the Great Northern Railroad took them to Culbertson, where they raised their 9 children. After most of the children had graduated high school, Vi started her new career as, what Roy always fondly called, the ‘Athletic’ (aka Activities) Director at the Culbertson Nursing Home. She stayed in this role for 7 years, leaving shortly before Roy’s retirement from the railroad, in 1989, and the start of their lives as snowbirds.
Vi was a devoted, lifelong member of the Catholic church and was active in the Altar Society of each parish she attended. Other activities and interests included researching the genealogy of the both her and Roy’s ancestries and being a lifetime member of both the Good Sam camping club and the American Legion Auxiliary. She also enjoyed her involvement in the Red Hat Society and was proud of her work for the 1972 Montana Constitutional Convention. Not least, Vi was known for hosting annual 'first day of school' coffee parties for friends and neighbors.
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Vi was preceded in death by Roy, her husband of 50 years; daughter, Loretta Lynn; son, Michael Allen; son-in-law, Louie; both her parents; siblings, Robert, Phyllis, Dan, Joe Jr., and Jerome. She is survived by her children, Jacques (Jan), Rodney (Donna), Marge, Lance, Richard (Juanita), Linda, Robin, and daughter-in-law Irene; 13 grandchildren — Sarah, Cody, Alisha, BJ, Jon, Jessyka, Nathan, Erin, Renee, Eleni, Keri, DJ, and Madi; 14 great-grandchildren — Samuel, Andrew, Julius, Josie, Jenna, Jessica, Logan, Faolan, Snowy, Bailey, Grayson, Elle, Quinn, and Drew; siblings, Beatrice, Judy, Delores, George, Jim, Sally, and Leroy; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family extends heartfelt appreciation to the staff of Canyon Creek Memory Care and St. John’s Nursing Home for their loving care of Vi. Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel. Cremation has already taken place. Services and internment of the cremains will be held at a later date. Memories may be shared at www.dahlfuneralchapel.com. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at ALZ.org or a charity of your choice.