Gertrude (Gert) Hemphill completed her journey Feb. 13, 2018, after a short illness. She was born on July 18, 1930, in Big Timber, Mont., to Harry and Mary Wagner. She was one of seven children, the second oldest. She lived her entire life in Montana, with the exception of a short time in Aberdeen, S. D., where she attended nursing school on a full scholarship, and a short time in Seattle, Wash., where she and Don lived briefly. Gert always said that she had been to all 50 states but Montana was always her favorite.
Gert taught in one-room school houses in Lower Dry Fork, Kent Lake and Lower Dry Creek. Her father would occasionally have to take her to work on horseback because of severe winter and road conditions.
Gert married Don Hemphill on Oct. 21,1950. They lived in Rapelje, Mont., from March 1951 until August 1969. Their five children were born while they lived there, and she worked at the Rapelje Mercantile Store, the Rapelje Post Office, and the Rapelje School. She also sold Avon products.
After moving to Columbus in 1969, Gert and Don owned and operated Don’s Market for five years. She then began working at the Treasurer’s Office in the Stillwater County Courthouse, retiring in July 1992.
Gert and Don enjoyed their retirement years, taking three cruises and travelling extensively with Gert’s brother and wife, Joe and Rose Wagner.
Gert was an excellent cook and many in the Rapelje and Columbus communities benefitted from her generosity. She was an excellent housekeeper, but her favorite hours were spent outside tending to her flowers and her garden.
Gert was deeply saddened when her life partner, Don, died unexpectedly in March 2012. She eventually moved to Meadowlark Assisted Living where she made many friends with the residents and staff.
Gert is survived by her five children Becky Hemphill and Mona Griffin of Spokane, Wash.; Bob Hemphill (Maureen) of Columbus, Mont.; Russ Hemphill (Keith Paulsen) of Denver, Colo., and Rita Hemphill of Columbus, Mont.
She is also survived by five grandchildren; Ryan Hemphill, Cara Hemphill Graney (Jeremy), Eric Hemphill (Bree), Megan Griffin (Terry Holbrook) and Erin Griffin; and two great-grand-children Katie and Maggie.
Her surviving siblings are Maggi Wagner, Joe Wagner (Rose) and Eileen Briggs (Ron), and her sisters-in-law Joan Wagner, Julie Wagner and Marj Hemphill. Gert was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Viola, and her brothers, Walt and Sam. She is also survived by many extended family members and friends.
The family is grateful for the care she received while living at Meadowlark Assisted Living, in addition to the care provided by Riverstone Hospice and the staff at the Stillwater Billings Clinic and Hospital especially, Dr. David Kane and Cheryl. Memorials can be sent to Project Hope, Riverstone Hospice, or a charity of your choice. Services are pending.