Thelma Gackle, age 85, went home to be with the Lord on September 2, 2018. Her children were all able to be by her side, which meant a great deal to her and to them.
She was born Thelma Jean Dillon to Vernon and Marian (Bryan) Dillon on September 11, 1932. She was the second of three daughters born to Vernon and Marian. She grew up on the family farm southwest of Lindsay, Montana. Thelma remembers riding double with her older sister, Dorothy, three and a quarter mile to Union School. They rode bareback because Vernon was afraid of them getting hung up in a stirrup and dragged. She said they did fall off several times, but that was mostly because they got to fighting and smacking each other and the horse would spook!
When she was in the lower grades in school, the family visited someone who had an accordion, which fascinated her. She was sure that if she had an accordion, she could play it. The year she turned 14, her parents got her an accordion and she literally picked it up and started playing it with no lessons! Music was a very enjoyable part of her life from an early age.
Thelma graduated from Dawson County High School in 1950. Six months later, on November 24, 1950, she and Erwin Gackle were married in Circle, Montana. Erwin and Thelma moved to Brockway, Montana to live at Erwin’s parents’ farm, where they lived the rest of their lives. They had three children: Connie Jean, Cathy Jo and Wade Erwin. If you knew Thelma, then you knew that her family was the center of her life-second only to God. One of her greatest joys was when all of her family was together at holidays or other events.
Thelma was very artistic and loved quilting and doing crafts. She made each of her grandchildren quilts and always an ornament every Christmas. Erwin also loved music and played the guitar and sang, so together they played for dances and other events from 1953 to 1983. After that, they continued to play for folks in nursing homes and at family events.
Thelma is survived by her daughter, Connie Phalen (Bob), daughter Cathy Grist (Bill), son Wade Gackle (Georgia), five grandchildren, four step grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her sisters, Dorothy Chouinard (Steve) and Margery Ingraham (Tom), as well as numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Vernon and Marian Dillon, her husband, Erwin, her brother-in-law, Steve Chouinard, her son-in-law, Bill Grist and grandson Cory Grist.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at the Breakforth Bible Church in Glendive. Interment will follow in the Dawson Memorial Cemetery in Glendive. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.stevensonandsons.com.