One Nation, Under God

Sarah Marie Ostlund

Sarah Marie Ostlund escaped her earthly struggles on May 3, 2022, in Billings.

Sarah was born in 1931, in Malta, Montana, the second of Albert and Olga Solberg's 10 children. Her beautiful red hair matched her beautiful disposition. Growing up on her father's homestead north of Dodson, she began working at a very young age, helping with household chores and the care of her younger siblings. She walked with several neighboring cousins three miles to attend Longview School until she finished eighth grade. While attending high school 11 miles away in Dodson, she lived in a boarding house during the week.

After graduating from high school in 1949, Sarah attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, for a year before moving back to Malta and taking a job as a telephone operator. She married Don Williams in 1954 and they had one son, David.

Later, as a single mom, Sarah worked the night shift at the telephone company in Malta while a friend watched David. They returned to the home farm whenever they could. Her younger brothers looked forward to her visits as she usually brought a small treat for them. She often carried a Brownie camera and was likely responsible for many of our family's collection of old black and white photos.

In 1965, she married Edward Ostlund in Havre. They lived at the Port of Wild Horse on the border northwest of Havre, where Edward was a U.S. Customs officer. In that marriage, David gained sisters Becky and Melissa and, within a few years, another brother and sister, Dale and Ann Marie.

Sarah thrived as a wife, mother, and homemaker, and selflessly supported her family's activities and interests. Fortunately, our interest in sweets matched her interest in baking. Besides the pies, bars, and cakes, the cookie jar was always full (with more in the freezer). She routinely made a dozen or more loaves of bread at a time plus buns, which would be frozen so that we never ran out. Cinnamon roll day was extra special. Anyone who stopped by would be offered a cup of coffee and a plate of homemade baked goods, and every church potluck included at least one of her desserts. Her grown children and grandchildren got a new supply of cookies with every visit.

Sarah taught herself to sew and made clothing, zippered bags, and even insulated jackets. She later focused on scrap quilts and pieced together numerous unique designs. Some of these quilts were donated through the church, but many went to her children, grandchildren, and other family members. She always said they were "for to use," and the now-tattered blankets show that we took her word for it.

In 1979, Sarah and her mom spent six weeks visiting her parents' home in Norway. She continued to exchange letters with her Norwegian relatives for many years.

When Ed retired in 1989, they "temporarily" moved to the Solberg house in Dodson. Eleven years later, they moved to Sand Coulee, just over the hill from Sarah's brother Sid and his family. They became active members of Peace Lutheran Church in Great Falls. Although she enjoyed attending church activities, Sarah was very happy to stay at home most of the time, baking, sewing, reading, and writing letters. She loved watching the wildlife move through her yard and coulee behind the house.

For many years Sarah kept a daily journal, recording the day's events and weather. She also kept a guest book by the front door and enjoyed reviewing the many years' worth of signatures and notes left by visitors young and old. She wrote hundreds of cards and letters to friends and family for birthdays, Christmas, and just because. Until she was in her mid-80s, she would routinely walk the two-mile round trip from the house to the mailbox, eager to pick up the day's mail. For nearly 20 straight years, Sarah walked with her daughter, granddaughters and other family members in the annual Montana Women's Run held every Mother's Day weekend in Billings.

In their retirement, Sarah and Ed traveled many miles across the U.S. and Alaska with their travel trailer. They loved Montana but preferred the warmer southern climate in the winter. Sarah sent many postcards and letters along the way.

Sarah and Ed lived in Sand Coulee until 2019 when a medical condition brought them to Billings. Again, it was meant to be temporary, but declining health said otherwise. Her family in Billings will be forever grateful to have had her so close in her final years.

Throughout her life, Sarah embodied the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. She was a genuinely kind and gentle soul, and her health struggles did nothing to diminish that. Even as it became more difficult for her to talk, she was consistently interested in and concerned about others. "How are you? How are the kids? Have you eaten?" We never heard her complain, even when she had good reason. Until the very end, her sweet nature had an impact on everyone she encountered. Sarah loved being at home, and now she's forever safe in her eternal, heavenly home.

Thank you to the staff at Butterfly Homes and Highgate for the excellent care she received.

Sarah was preceded in death by her parents, Albert and Olga Solberg; brothers Ingwald Solberg, Norman Solberg, Harold Solberg, and Edward Solberg; sister Selma Miller; sisters-in-law Alice Solberg, Eva Solberg, and Gladys Jacobson; and brothers-in-law Frank Miller, Robert Ostlund, and Russell Jacobson. She is survived by her husband, Ed, of 56 years; sons David (Rosie) Williams and Dale (Jana) Ostlund; daughters Becky (Bob) McDiarmid, Melissa (Paul) Pierson; and Ann Marie (Troy) Boucher; grandchildren Darren Lundstrom, Cory Lundstrom, Kaitlyn Williams, Sean Williams, James Pierson, Katie Pierson, Sonja Ostlund, Wes Ostlund, Jessica Ostlund, Nicolena Boucher, Sarah Boucher, and Buddy Boucher; and great-granddaughter Megan (Jon) Knehans; brothers Art (Sue) Solberg; Sid (Merrimae) Solberg; Carl (Jan) Solberg; and Ralph (Shari) Solberg; sisters-in-law Virginia Solberg, Polly Solberg, and Gen Horne; and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave. Services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 19, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 537 Grand Ave.

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