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Verna Madge Howe

Posted: Wednesday, Feb 13th, 2013

Madge was born March 6, 1924, in Hayden, N.M., to homesteaders Hugh and Una (Combs) Stevenson. She was the sixth in a family of eight children. These hardworking farmers raised their family on a dry land farm through the Dust Bowl years and the Great Depression. Madge went to Hayden School and finished her senior year at Clayton High School. While in school, she enjoyed basketball and loved playing the piano, completely by ear. After graduation, she worked at the courthouse in Clayton.

While working in Clayton she met Elbert Howe and they were married on Aug. 27, 1944, at her parentsí home east of Clayton. Madge joined Elbert on his ranch near Rosebud, N.M. Elbert was soon drafted into the Army and served during World War II in the Pacific Theater of the Philippines to prepare for the invasion of Japan. While her husband was overseas, Madge stayed in Panhandle, Texas with her in-laws, Johnny and Agnes Howe. Here, their first of five boys was born.

After the war, they returned to Rosebud to develop the ranch. In 1957, they sold the ranch in Rosebud and bought the Two Bar Ranch near Wheatland. They sold the Two Bar Ranch in 1968 and moved to Casper to run a Gibson store and other businesses. They could not stay away from ranching so Elbert bought the Buffalo Creek Ranch, 70 miles northwest of Casper.

Madge was always very hospitable welcoming many visitors, including ranch hands, at her table. She was a gifted cook who was known for her chicken fried steak, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits, sugar syrup, rolls, chocolate and pecan pies, Elbertís favorite chocolate cake and the list goes on.

Madge attended the Hayden Baptist Church from childhood, but most importantly she had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She always took her family to church, was a faithful wife and mother and was dearly loved by her grandchildren. In the face of death during these last years, her faith gave her great peace.

Madgeís life was turned upside down when Elbert was electrocuted on the Buffalo Creek Ranch on July 8, 1972. She never got over this loss and her life became like a ship without a sail. Her next great battle was with Alzheimerís disease, diagnosed in early 2000. In Godís mercy, she forgot some of those difficult years following Elbertís death. For the past 13 years, Madge has lived in memory care: Meadow Wind in Casper, Highgate Senior Livin; and presently Canyon Creek in Billings, Mont. These facilities have given excellent care to her during these challenging years. The family expresses their gratitude to the many who extended so many acts of kindness to Madge during these years.

Madge was preceded in death by her husband, Elbert; her parents, Hugh and Una Stevenson; her sisters, Ruby Eikner, Dorothy Bray and Louetta Beasly; brothers Odie and Thomas.

She is survived by a sister, Faye Brannon; and a brother, Wilbur Stevenson; five sons, Lynn (Peggy) Howe of Billings, Vern (Judy) Howe of Lake Havasu, Ariz., Steve Howe of Denver, Colo., Phillip (Svetlana) Howe of Ft. Collins, Colo., Todd (Kristina) Howe of Ft. Collins; and daughter-in-law Jeri Howe of Ft. Collins; 17 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild.

Madge entered the presence of her Savior, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, from the Canyon Creek Memory Care in Billings.

There was be a viewing Sunday, Feb. 10, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Bustardís Funeral Home, 600 CY Ave., Casper, and the memorial service was Monday at 11 a.m. at Liberty Baptist Church, 1203 S. Oak St., Casper, WY.

Memorials may be sent to West Side Baptist Church Missions, 323 S. 32nd St. W., Billings, MT 59102, or the Alzheimerís Association.

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