Edith Alice (Spoon) VanHee

Edith was born January 12, 1912 near Hobson, Judith Basin Co., Montana. She was the third daughter of Johanna Matilda (Tillie) Larson and David Peter ‘Dave’ Spoon, both born in Albert Lea, Minnesota.

The Hobson property was 160 acres purchased from the federal government by Dave and deeded to him on June 15, 1911. Their one room cabin had few of the amenities left behind in Albert Lea. It must have been quite a challenge to use the outdoor facilities when temperatures dropped  to 30 below zero.

Dave’s parents were of German descent, originally from New York state. His (Spoon) ancestors were Protestants who came to New York about 1710 from the Palatinate area of Germany. They were the first permanent non-Indian settlers in the Mohawk Valley near the present town of Herkimer. Several books have been written about the Palatine migration and the hardships they endured.

Tillie’s parents were both born in Denmark.

By 1920, Dave moved his family to a homestead near Winifred, Fergus Co., Montana. At a later date they gave up farming altogether and moved to Lewistown where Dave made his living hauling things for other people.

Based on her early photos, Edith was a happy child. In those days folks didn’t smile much for photos, but Edith always had a smile on her face. This became Edith’s enduring characteristic, she always made the best of her situation, and continued to smile.
Edith met and married Louis ‘Louie’ VanHee in northeastern Montana, a marriage that was to last for 62 years. Edith, Louie and two sons moved to Lewistown in 1936.

Louie was rejected for military service on medical grounds at the beginning of WWII and the family moved to Spokane, where he worked as a city bus driver. Edith worked as a cook at a Service Center for military personnel.

After the war, Edith and family moved back to Lewistown, where they lived until her parents died in 1952. They then moved to Missoula, Montana where they remained until their retirement.

Edith worked to create a second income throughout her adult life. In Missoula she finally found a job she loved, running a school lunch program.

Edith’s faith in god was very important to her. Church activity was always a top priority. She was a busy lady, but she made time to sing in the choir, teach Sunday school, and cook at summer camp.

Edith loved to travel and visit with people. On May 23, 2003 her spirit began the trip she had been wanting to take for some time, the one that’s unencumbered by a body that can’t keep up.