One Nation, Under God

Kathleen Marie "Ree" Simonson (February 5, 1932-February 19, 2024)

On Monday, February 19, 2024, Kathleen Marie "Ree" Simonson, 92, beloved wife, mother and grandmother moved to her heavenly home after spending her final months in the loving care of Tony and Emily Simonsen at River's Bend Assisted Living. Ree was a woman of strong faith who loved the Lord and raising her family. Her life and legacy will continue to impact the ones who were blessed to be part of her life for years to come.

Ree was born on February 5, 1932, in Malta, Mont., to Alexander "Alec" and Agnes Murdock and grew up at the Murdock ranch 10 miles north of Whitewater. She was the middle child of 2 older sisters, Margie and Ev, and 2 younger brothers, Jim and Bill. She said she learned at a young age from her mother how to cook, sew and clean and "has been on the clean-up committee all her life". Ree's mother passed away when she was only 7 years old. Ree and her siblings worked together with their father to run the household and the ranch and were very close. They rode horseback to attend country school at Plainsview and Hokus schools during elementary days, she graduated high school from Whitewater.

Ree married Roger Simonson, whom she called her "dream come true" on June 21, 1948. Roger passed away after giving his bride a kiss the morning of their 60th anniversary. They raised their children, Leroy, Lynn, Danny and JoAnn on the farm/ranch east of Whitewater in the same yard that Roger's parents originally homesteaded. Their life together was an amazing example to their family and community of unconditional love and partnership. In addition to running their farm and ranching business, they also traveled extensively to visit family, including Scotland to visit aunts, uncles and cousins and Mexico and Holland to visit exchange students.

Possessing a true servant's heart, Ree faithfully cared for her family and friends through homemaking and gardening skills of baking, cooking, canning and sewing. She was well known for hosting large family holiday gatherings and cooking for large farm and ranch crews. Very proud of her Scottish Heritage, she enjoyed having kids and grandkids over to teach them how to make shortbread and flatbread before the holidays.

Ree was an accomplished seamstress, sewing everything from clothes for her kids and family, basketball and cheerleading uniforms for the Whitewater Penguins, performing alterations and mending work clothes, to numerous quilts and blankets. Ree was active in Whitewater Homemakers Club, Whitewater Lutheran Ladies Aid, and Cross Country 4H Club. Ree enjoyed supporting her kids, grandkids and extended family's activities and events, hardly ever missing a concert, sporting event, rodeo or special occasion.

She was preceded in death by her homesteading parents, Alexander "Alec" and Agnes (Hunter) Murdock- originally from Huntley, Scotland, her cherished husband of 60 years, Roger Simonson, her son Leroy Simonson, her sister Evelyn Hanson, her two brothers James and William "Bill" Murdock.

Ree leaves behind her loving family including two sons, Lynn (Eunice), Dan (Judy) Simonson, her daughter JoAnn (Howard) Hammond, her daughter-in-law, Gale Simonson, foster son Jim Verhoef, sister Marjorie Olsen, sister-in-law Pat Murdock, 19 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. She will be remembered for her strong commitment to her faith, family and community. Memorials can be made to Whitewater Lutheran Church or River's Bend Assisted Living.

A viewing was held at the Whitewater Lutheran Church on Sunday, February 25, 2024. Funeral Services were held at Malta Lutheran Church on Monday, February 26, 2024.


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