Katherine Elizabeth Madsen Robbins passed away on February 19, 2020, just months away from her one-hundredth birthday. Kate was born on December 3, 1920 to Niels and Helen Madsen in Omaha, NE. She grew up with brother Tom and sisters Frances and Evelyn on their homestead on the south eastern edge of McCone County. Kate graduated from the Brockway School, attended Billings Normal School, began teaching school, and married Stanley Robbins on August 28, 1942. The two made their home on his family homestead west of Circle. Together they raised their three children Helen, Tom, and Phyllis. In a time when women’s voices and opinions were not valued, Kate never shied from sharing hers.
Kate spent her days working on the farm while raising her family and finding pleasure in all things of beauty. Her work ethic was second to none because she was not going to be outworked by her husband or anyone else for that matter. She was an avid reader, writer, seamstress and artist. Kate loved creating oil paintings, Christmas decorations, jewelry, and never- ending arts and crafts almost as much as seeing what others had created.
As her children grew and left home, Kate could no longer ignore her calling to teach. The requirements to teach now included a college degree, so as the day her youngest child graduated from Eastern Montana College so did Kate. Kate immediately went back to teaching in Circle, a position that she held until she retired. Years later, Kate was still looking at random objects and stating that this would make a great addition to a lesson.
Although Kate was a wonderful mother and grandmother, she took her position as Great Grandma to the highest degree. It was not uncommon to find Kate, even in her nineties, hidden under a bed or in a closet for a game of hide and seek. Kate was always up for a trip across the road to Red Water to fish or look for special rocks. Ice cream was often enjoyed before dinner on a hot day. Kate spent hours pointing out the beauty in flowers, rocks, and the clouds to whichever child was available. She was not above dragging them out of bed to marvel at a moonflower blooming. Cards filled with some crafty goody were always in the mail. No one could cuddle and read a story like Gr8 Grandma. Kate leaves behind her great-grandchildren Jazmyn, Colter, Reice, Michael, Wyatt, Shaylar, Jaydan, Skylar, Cayson, Addison, Mathew, Maya, and Bruno.
After losing Stanley in 2006, Kate spent her retirement years active in Eastern Star, stuffing envelopes at Mid-Rivers, traveling to visit family, and visiting with friends at the Senior Center in Circle. She valued family history and kept busy tracing her genealogy and writing letters to distant cousins that she had never met, always yearning to learn more about her family roots. There was always a puzzle book or a novel, as well as her camera, stuffed in her purse. There was no reason to sit idle.
Kate especially enjoyed her weekly visits with her home care nurse Sharon. At the age of 97, it was obvious that Kate could no longer live alone. Reluctantly, she left her beloved Circle to move to Sunflower Gardens in Roundup to be closer to family.
Kate is preceded in death by her parents, siblings, husband Stanley, daughter Phyllis, niece Linda Jensen, and nephews Mark Jensen and Ray McCloy. She is survived by children Helen (Bruno) Rodeghiero and Tom (Deanna) Robbins, son-n-law Ross (Shelia) Massar, sister-n-law Mary Lou Gebhardt, brother-n-law Earl Jensen, grandchildren Sherry (Brooke) MacGillivray, Brenda (Mike) McHenry, Shawn (April) Robbins, Jody (Lance) Barney, Brian (Stacey) Rodeghiero, and Chad Massar. She leaves behind her Arthur, Daykin, Gebhardt, Jensen, Madsen, McCloy, and Robbins nieces and nephews, who she appreciated and relied on greatly over the years.
Memorial services will be held in Circle this summer.