Laura A. Kolman, known in Bozeman as the longtime cook at the Bungalow Drug, died June 7, 2011. She was 91 years old.
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She worked hard to be a good neighbor, wife, mother, grandmother and friend. Laura fed her family and the people of Bozeman, kept a tidy house, and banished snow from her sidewalks. She scowled and wrinkled her nose at the notion that she should relax a bit.
Now, she can rest. She spent her last days in her North Bozeman home of 63 years being cared for by her children, nieces Pat Bauer and Sharon Hogg, and friends. The lawn was freshly mowed and there was plenty of food.
Laura was born in Bozeman June 24, 1919, to Daniel Woirhaye and Kathryn Manlove. Her father died when she was 8. Kathryn married Frank Bonn in 1930.
Laura spent most of her life in the Gallatin Valley. Sometimes, she derided the changes - condos now sit where once she sold ice for Bonn Ice Co. But she preferred her electric refrigerator to hand-made cooling.
Laura attended Bozeman schools. She married Elmer Kolman in 1936 and over the next three years she gave birth to Anita, Duane, and Karen. Elmer died in 1966.
While Elmer worked nights as a custodian at Montana State University, Laura spent days at the Bungalow Drug on Main Street. She made pies, a lunch special, and whatever else was - or wasn't - on the menu for 42 years, retiring in 1984. It may not be a coincidence that the Bungalow no longer exists. She believed in good, simple food. When she dined out, no matter the style of restaurant, she would often snap the menu shut and say, "I'll have a hamburger." She came to like Burger Bob's, though she thought it a bit spendy.
When not in the kitchen, Laura liked to be outside. Her yard and garden were big, but well mannered. As the birthdays piled up behind her, she still did her work. For several winters, she frustrated a Chronicle photographer trying to capture the petite, white-haired lady shoveling snow. Laura was too wily. They reached a truce - the paper ran a photo of the family poodle helping with the task.
Laura read the newspaper daily. She wrote detailed letters, never failing to describe current weather conditions. She overcame broken hips and other pains. She looked after neighbors, visited ailing friends and attended too many funerals.
Laura's visited Artistic Images Hair Salon weekly and looked forward to Halloween parties hosted by Cheryl, Bonnie and Bob. Adorned with a cardboard box, she was a cereal killer. Another year, with foliage hanging down in front of her face, she was a leaf blower.
As a grandmother, she played baseball and took her grandson swimming when he was a boy. She mailed cookies weekly while he was in college and later gave him money to help buy a house. She understood his humor; rewarding his sarcasm by declaring him a brat. To her, he was never too old to need a nap.
The love people had for her could be measured in monkeys. At some point, she said she thought monkeys were cute. From then on, every occasion brought a new monkey. She leaves behind scores of primates in every shape, color and temperament.
Though she protested, Laura had a 90th birthday party. She said it was the best 90th birthday she ever had; so she had one the next year too.
Daughters Anita and Karen of Bozeman survive Laura. Other survivors include son, Duane Kolman and friend, Audrey Snow of Harlowton; grandson, Joe Kolman and wife, Kris Fedro of Helena; brother, Frank Bonn Jr. of Colorado Springs, Colo.; sister, Marjorie Ann Kennedy of Phillipsburg; special nieces, Pat Bauer and husband, Ed of Texas and Bozeman, and Sharon Hogg and husband, Tom of Kentucky; nephews Jeff Logan, Frank and Mark Woirhaye, Frankie Bonn, and Gradon Kennedy, and nieces Susan Zacher, Jody Moody, Linda Cyr, Debbie Purfurst, Kim Bradshaw and Francee Cote.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Dan (Sonny) Woirhaye; sister, Kathryn (Babe) Logan; and nephew, Danny Woirhaye.
Vigil service is at 6 p.m. June 13 at Dahl Funeral & Cremation Service. Laura was a member of Holy Rosary Catholic Church, and a Funeral Mass is at 10 a.m. June 14 at the Bozeman Catholic Community Center, 210 S. Grand Ave. Interment follows in Sunset Hills Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the
, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011; or to Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 11390, Bozeman, MT 59719.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on June 12, 2011