MISSOULA — Edith Linnea Smith passed away on Feb. 13, 2020. Edie was born on April 14, 1932 to Erick and Clara Ranstrom in Missoula. She grew up with her older sister Ina on the banks of the Blackfoot river in Milltown until the family moved to Orchard Homes, in 1944. She grew up babysitting, helping on the farm, working picking beets and packaging butter and became active in 4-H. Edie attended the National 4H Congress in 1950 with sister Ina and Laurel Seaward as the Katoonah Trio where they sang. They had been selected in a nationwide talent search sponsored by the U.S. Rubber Co. Edie attended Missoula County High School graduating in 1950. After graduation she was employed at Intermountain Lumber as a bookkeeper.
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She met L. Kelsey Smith through friends on a double date and they were married on Sept. 17, 1955. Kelsey was a Forestry student at the University and spent the summers in the woods. Son Lewis was born in 1956 and the family spent the next summer at the Lochsa Ranger Station. Daughter Peggy was born in 1957, son Eric in 1960 and daughter Ruth in 1963. The young couple moved 17 times in the first ten years of their marriage as Kelsey moved up through the Forest Service.
Kelsey became the District Ranger in Trout Creek in 1963 and the family lived at the Ranger Station. Edie was involved as a 4H leader, in the PTA and followed all the children’s activities and sporting events. She loved her garden and sewing clothes for her growing brood. She and Kelsey attended Eastern Star in Thompson Falls, carpooling with the Taylors and served as Worthy Matron and Patron together in 1971. The Forest Service moved the family to the Wallace Ranger District in 1973 and they bought their first home in Osburn. There they raised their family and a large garden with a fabulous raspberry patch. The move also allowed Edie to return to work bookkeeping outside the home, first with Tabors, Fonks and then at the bowling alley/realty office in Smelterville. That lead to getting her realtor license and in 1983 she opened Sterling Realty in Osburn. Edie had a great run until retiring and closing the business in 1998.
Retirement brought time to garden, travel and visit with friends, relatives and most importantly grandchildren. She was active in Sweet Adelines, Red Hats, and played piano and sang in the church choir. Kelsey passed away in 2001 and Edie kept up the garden and enjoyed riding in the hills with friends in his truck and picking huckleberries. Trips to the Swanson or O’Neil cabins and playing cards were always a highlight. She moved to Missoula to the Village in 2009 and made many friends there, enjoying the activities and trips. As her illness progressed, she moved to the Beehive in 2014.
She now rejoins her parents, Erick and Clara Ranstrom, husband Kelsey Smith and many cousins and relatives. The pinochle cards are flying. She leaves behind her sister Ina Swanson, children Lewis Smith, Margaret “Peggy” (Doug) O’Neil, Eric (Nicki) Smith, and Ruth (Eric) Brinton; grandchildren, Mike (Kiera), Trevor (Beth), Megan O’Neil and Gunnar O’Neil; Halden Smith, Kelsey “KC” Smith, Chase Brinton, Cody (Leslie) Larson and Kate (Lyle) Loftus; and great grandchildren Teagan, Kellen, Brady, Seamus, Elena, Bridger and Roman.
Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held in Missoula in the spring and her ashes will be scattered with Kelsey’s this summer.