Kathleen E. Schendel (1923 - 2010)

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Kathleen Eunice Schendel of Three Forks left her family and friends on Aug. 29, 2010, at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.

Kitty was born Sept. 28, 1923, in Missoula to Raymond and Irene Knapp. She graduated from Hellgate High School in 1940 and attended The University of Montana that fall.

She married Don Robertson on Sept. 2, 1943, in Los Angeles, Calif. Don was reported missing in action in the South Pacific in 1944. Her son, James Robertson, was born in March 1944 in Missoula.

Kitty returned to college and graduated in 1946 with a degree in home economics, then taught home economics in Hamilton for the 1946-1947 school year.

She married Chester Schendel on Sept. 14, 1947, in Missoula. They moved to Valier, where Chet taught and coached in the school from 1947 through 1949. Their son, Joe, was born in August 1949 in Missoula. Kitty and Chet then moved to Bozeman, where Chet completed a master's degree at Montana State University. In 1950 they moved to Three Forks, where Chet taught and coached in the schools. Kitty then began a long membership in the Three Forks Federated Church, now the Methodist church. They remained married and living in Three Forks for 63 years.

Kitty and Chet's third son, Bruce, was born on June 1, 1954, in Bozeman. All three of their sons attended school in Three Forks and graduated in due time from Three Forks High School.

Kitty was a lifelong supporter of music, so each of her sons were active in the school music program as well as enjoying many trips to Bozeman for private trombone and cornet lessons at the university. Kitty continued to support her sons and grandchildren by attending innumerable band and orchestra concerts in Bozeman, Missoula, Helena and Billings. She also taught piano lessons for her grandchildren.

Kitty's long association with the Methodist church included teaching Sunday school, singing in the church choir and generally assisting with many of the church's works. She also worked for the Methodist district administration as an outreach educator for youth for many years. Her work took her to churches throughout Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. She also traveled to cities such as Nashville and Minneapolis for national conventions for the church. Kitty was chairperson of the Methodist Yellowstone Conference's youth work task force and served on the local youth education committee for 35 years.

One of Kitty and Chet's life works was their family cabin at Wade Lake. They started building the cabin in 1960 and spent many summers gradually finishing the cabin and its surroundings. Among Kitty's favorite pastimes there were fishing evenings on Wade Lake, watching wildlife, playing card games by lantern light and cooking in the old manner over a woodstove. She also collected wildflower blossoms with which she created pressed flower pictures, many of which were given to family members and friends or sold via Bud Lilly's fly shop in West Yellowstone. She and Chet have given the cabin to their sons and the traditions there continue.

Kitty was active in the Gallatin County library system's efforts to maintain the health of the Three Forks Library and was a member of the county library board for many years. She also served as a substitute teacher in the Three Forks schools for many years. Kitty will never be forgotten by the Three Forks school children and served as a "substitute grandmother" for many. Children were one of her greatest loves.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Ray and Irene Knapp; her first husband, Don Robertson; and her sister, Ruth.

Kitty leaves her sons, Bruce (Janice) Schendel of Three Forks, Joe (Paula) Schendel of Helena, and Jim (Mary) Robertson of Billings; nieces, Kim (Dave) Sheesley and their daughter Ruth (Brett) Reneau, and Kris (Otto) Smith and their children Johnny and Anna; nephew, Dick (Mary) Schendel and their children, Brian and Jennifer; her grandchildren, Jemmie (Christine) Robertson, Aaron Schendel, Angie Schendel, Jennifer (Brent) Erickson, Monica (Will) Sampson, Roni (Peter) Schmeideskamp, Becky (Chad) Jackson; great-grandchildren, James Robertson, Jordan Rice, Alec Erickson, Cameron Rice, Robert Sampson, Natalie Sampson, Meagan Schendel, James Schendel, Lillian Jackson, Violet Jackson, Julia Keedy and Sam Keedy.

A memorial service for Kitty will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 3, at the Three Forks Methodist Church, followed by a reception in the church annex.

Memorials may be given in her name to the Three Forks Library or to the Three Forks Methodist Church.
Funeral Home
K & L Mortuaries
103 1st Ave E
Three Forks, MT 59752
(406) 285-3341
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Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Sept. 1, 2010
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