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314 Church St. | P.O. Box 12
Stevensville, Montana, 59870
Phone 406-777-5711 | Fax 406-777-0181
Email: whitesittfh@gmail.com

Gwendolyn Lee "Gwen" (West) Anderson

Born: Tue., May 2, 1944
Died: Fri., Dec. 4, 2020

Family to do services at later date

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Missoula - Gwendolyn “Gwen” L. Anderson, age 76, passed away December 4th, 2020 at St. Patrick Hospital after a three year battle with cancer. Gwen was born on May 2nd, 1944 in Brewton New York to Henry “Hank” and Marjorie “Molly” West. When Gwen was in second grade, her parents had decided to buy an old school bus and convert it to a travel bus, pack up the family of five and go west until they found a place they liked. They ended up in Maxville Montana, which back then had a population of 100 people or less I am guessing. (Today’s population shows 214 people). They moved into a small house there, and Gwen and her two siblings attended the one room schoolhouse. One of Gwen’s favorite things to do in Maxville was to walk down the road a ways to a large apple tree by the railroad tracks to pick apples to bring home for her mom to make all kinds of apple treats. When she had gotten a little older she would always be the first one in the family to go out in the surrounding woods and bring the Christmas tree home. She was an excellent tree climber, so she would pack a small hand saw and climb a tree as high as she could and would saw off the top portion of the tree…she felt that she would get the best Christmas tree that way, as the top part of it is pretty much undisturbed. If you drive through that portion of the highway through Maxville, you can still see a few of the topless trees still standing today. When the kids started reaching high school age the family moved a few miles down the road to Philipsburg, where Gwen and her two siblings attended and graduated from Granite County High School. After her graduation from high school in 1962, Gwen attended a two year business college in Butte Montana. Upon Graduation she joined the Women’s Army Corps and specialized in finance. Gwen also earned herself a marksmanship metal, thus obtaining the nickname of Calamity Jane. While she was stationed in Arizona she met Gary Anderson, whom was also in the Army. They eventually married and Gwen gave birth to two children. After she was honorably discharged the family moved to Texas, then on to New Mexico. After living in New Mexico for a few years that marriage fell apart and Gwen had taken her two children and what she could fit of their belongings and drove back to Montana in 1974 to raise her two children as a single mother. Gwen found work in Missoula as a waitress at Stockman’s Bar and Café, and later worked at the Oxford as a waitress. She took her kids on many many adventures, some their favorite things included going on camping trips as much as humanly possible, long day drives out in the wilderness, and visiting her parents in Philipsburg. She absolutely adored and loved her two children dearly and always made them her top priority. There were many times where money was short and she went without so her children could have what they needed, which even carried on into their adulthood. She always gave them lots of love, they never felt unloved even once. Gwen would give love to anyone who needed it, no matter who they were…she never judged anyone. If anyone needed a safe place to be or to just hang out for a bit to get away from things, her home and love was always available to them. Her house became a popular place amongst kids, and she loved every minute of it. Her two children, Russell and Vicki grew up with her teachings of good moral values, how to be confident and loving, and how to have a giving heart, which they both carried on into their adulthood. Gwen’s hobbies included camping, fishing, exploring the wilderness, playing pinochle, and motorcycles. She even rode all the way to Sturgis a couple times on her Suziki Savage “thumper” motorcycle. She was an active member of A.B.A.T.E., which is American Bikers Aiming Towards Education. They taught people how to ride safely, and helped them to get their motorcycle endorsements. Her motorcycle club also did many toy runs for Toys For Tots, and poker runs to raise money for various charities. Gwen is preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Marjorie West, and her brother Wayne. She is survived by her children Russell, Vicki (Jay), her sister Beatrice, nieces, a nephew, and a few grandchildren. Funeral services are pending, and are planned for early spring. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in her name to either The American Cancer Society or the Wounded Warrior Project.

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