Gently, softly did the Angels come......for Teresa Mae (Scalese) Ward who on Sunday, November 23, 2014 was granted passage to her eternal rest, at the Teton Medical Center in Choteau. Cremation was at the direction of the Gorder-Jensen Funeral Home and burial of ashes will take place at the Homestead where she was born, when the family gathers there in the summer of 2015. There will be a rosary at 7.p.m Monday night and then funeral services for Teresa are set for 2 p.m. Tuesday, December 2nd at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Fairfield, Montana,
A reception will follow the Mass at the church reception hall. Friends and extended family are invited to both.
Teresa is survived by nine of her 11 children, Sally Evans of Cut Bank, Dorothy Rennick of Missoula, John Ward of Peru, New York, Margo Hendrix (Ron) of Seeley Lake and Yuma, Arizona , Caroline Forseth (Orville) of Fairfield, Lawrence (Pete) Ward (Nancy) of Pollock Pines, California, Rita Ward of Missoula, Karen Forseth (Steve)of Fairfield, and Kathy Hammer (Robert) of Seattle. She is preceded in death by her husband of 72 years, Walter Ward, her daughter Lenora Smith of Peru, New York, a son Joseph (Suzanne) of Louisville, Kentucky, as well as five grandchildren (Randy Gehrke, Lila Evans, Ronald Rennick, Tony Evans and Lucas Hendrix). Two of her great-grandchildren, Jessica Rocque and Graydon Pittman, also pre-deceased her.
Teresa was born on the family homestead north of Galata, (then Grandview) Montana, to Frank and Dell T. Scalese on February 11,1915. She was the second of four children. Her older brother, Frank Anthony, died of appendicitis in June of 1921. Her brothers, Thomas J. Scalese of Shelby and Hales Angelo Scalese of Galata mourn her passing, as do nieces, Karen Sloan, Dorothy Ann Lang & Shirley Wilson and nephews Harold (Sonny), Steven and Robert Scalese and grand nieces and nephews.
Teresa started school early at five years of age to accompany her brother, Frank, on their two mile walk to the Eide school house. That was a pattern through Galata High School, when she graduated at age 15. She played high school basketball, loved it, and was a very good player. She went on to Western Montana College, got her teaching certificate and started teaching at age 16, teaching for over 20 years, with a fondness for teaching young children to read.
She met her husband-to-be, Walter, where she boarded with the Les Ward family and they were married December 29, 1932. They were to rear 11 children, see the birth of 32 grandchildren, 66 great grandchildren and 22 great-great grandchildren; a total of 131 direct descendants. They were married 72 years.
Teresa had a love of the land, fostered by her mother Dell and she was true to her heritage, herding the milk cows on horseback and driving a team of half broke horses to bring in the hay on the homestead all of her summers there.
She had a fondness for flowers, yellow roses, hollyhocks at the Chester house and a raised bed of pansies at her daughter and son-in-law's winter home in Yuma. In a memoir, she mentioned that she had at one time thought of raising flower seeds commercially.
She was very religious, a devotee of the Blessed Mother, and practiced her faith in Catholicism throughout her lifetime. She described the challenge of getting 11 children ready for Sunday Mass, hoping to have the first still clean and presentable by the time she got to the last. She had some help, thus creating this recorded philosophy of "if you must have 11 children, have three girls first." Some summers were spent at a mountain fire lookout, and as an absolute testament to her conviction, she would walk 10 miles down the mountain trail every Sunday, so as to not miss Sunday Mass.
Every one of her children and grandchildren received her best attention. All have a cherished memories of receiving birthday cards with a crisp $1 bill inside and a nice handwritten note.
Her greatest happiness was as she gently held a new grandbaby for the first time. Her joy could not be contained. As noted, there were many, many new babies to hold over the years. She enjoyed stamp-collecting, hiking, gardening, her strawberries, collecting postcards and was somewhat of a rock hound. As a child and later at a farm in Victor she got great satisfaction bottle feeding the bum lambs. As she raised the 11 youngsters, she worked steadily on her bachelor's degree and graduated from the College of Great Falls in 1968.
Neighbors who got to know her when she and Walter started to spend winters in Yuma speak of their beloved friend and want you to forget that she may have bent a few of the rules in their Phase 10 card games.
She was an early adopter of computer mail on a Ward family network before email was common. When she could no longer continue, her daughter Caroline would bring in an iPad so she could read letters and see new family photos. Nurses who worked at the extended care home also spoke fondly of her and the family who came to visit her.
On long life, living to an old age she said, "enjoy it, as it is not a privilege afforded all".
Asked what do you think people will remember most about you, her response was "Well, I suspect most people will remember me as that Ward woman with all those children."
Asked what do you hope most people will remember about you, she replied, "I hope my children will think of me as a kind mother."
By every measure, Teresa Mae Scalese Ward's was the life well lived.
Online condolences may be left at www.gorderjensenfuneralhome.com