Twyla "Sandy" Ler, 93, Savage, MT
September 6, 2023
Twyla "Sandy" Elaine Ler, 93, passed away at the Extended Care Facility on August 30, 2023, of complications from pneumonia. Cremation has taken place, and a memorial service will be held September 16th at 2:00 pm at the First Congregational Church, Savage MT with Pastor Tim Tharp officiating. A lunch will immediately follow the service in the church basement. Fulkerson Stevenson Funeral Home of Sidney, MT is assisting the family. Remembrances, condolences, and pictures may be shared with the family at http://www.fulkersons.com.
Our mother was born on the Albertson family farm four miles south of Foxhome, Minnesota on January 30, 1930. Her parents were Lawrence and Elizabeth (Lipovsky) Albertson.
This was the beginning of the depression; times were hard, and the family lived with her grandparents. The old farmhouse was full to the brim with parents, grandparents, a single uncle, a married uncle with his wife and new baby, and Mom's 15-year-old twin aunts.
Eventually her dad found work off the farm and the family moved, living in several places around Fergus Falls and Breckenridge, Minnesota over the years. The family grew and she became the oldest of seven children.
Mom graduated from Breckenridge High School in 1947 and enrolled in teacher's college in Valley City, North Dakota. It was during her time in Valley City while working part time to help with school expenses, that she was given the nickname "Sandy" by an employer, Ralph Pomeroy (Earl Pomeroy's father). This was the moniker that stuck with her the rest of her life.
North Dakota had an "earn as you learn" program that allowed her to start teaching that fall while earning her normal school certificate. Mom was only 17 when she began teaching at the Dexter country school in eastern North Dakota.
After hearing that teachers were paid higher wages in Montana, Mom applied to schools there. At the age of 18 she took a train traveling west, and in Williston boarded the "Galloping Goose" headed for Sidney and the start of a new life.
She was picked up in Sidney by a neighbor, Chris Sorenson, and taken around the community to meet some of the students and their families. Their last stop was at the Ler farm. Although this family had no kids in school, the coffee pot was always on. This is where she met her future husband. Harold was sitting on a pile of gravel, where they had been making cement, and emptying the dirt out of his shoes.
Never one to let grass grow under her feet, Mom got a summer job with Farmers' Union as their educational director. That fall she began teaching at the Larsen School northwest of Savage. Two of her cousins (Chloe Houchen and Rita Wilson) soon joined her in teaching at rural schools in Richland County. The three cousins remained close for the rest of their lives.
Mom had always wanted to live on a farm and was eager to participate in farm life. Before they were married, Harold asked her to come with him to look at a horse that she described as very large. After the deal was done, the question of getting the horse home was raised and Dad revealed his plan. Mom would ride it home bareback, because it would "do them both some good."
Mom and Dad were married on September 18, 1949, in Fergus Falls, and then moved into an apartment in Sidney. Mom worked at J.C, Penney and Harold worked at the sugar factory. After the sugar campaign was over, they moved to the farm to start a long career in crops, cows, chickens and kids.
Mom became a homemaker, substitute teacher, 4-H leader, Sunday and Bible school teacher, and farmer's helper. A creative writer, she came up with poems, skits, and stories for a wide variety of occasions. She loved to read and did everything with a book in one hand.
It seemed that Mom was always busy and active. Her numerous hobbies included raising fancy chickens, baking cakes for weddings and special occasions, crocheting, sewing, making quilts, recovering and refinishing furniture, embroidery, gardening and dabbling in rosemaling and decorative painting. She loved to entertain and engage with people. When her kids were grown, she volunteered with Friends of the Library, Council on Aging, Trails and Rails, and the MonDak Heritage Center, was active in Senior Citizens and her church, and tested and trained census workers.
Her faith was very important to her. She called her doilies her worry strings; crocheting kept her hands busy, and she prayed as her fingers moved. As she read, she would often memorize Bible verses and hymns; she was adamant about singing all the verses in church.
Mom loved her role as Gramma Sandy. She had seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren; each and every one was her favorite and felt completely loved and accepted.
Mother was always a bright spot in our lives, and we will be forever grateful for her cheerful presence, her dedication, the sacrifices she made for us, and the good example she set. She will be deeply missed.
Mom is survived by her children: Christina (Leland) Blazer, Helena, MT, Donna (Craig) Seeve, Savage, MT, Holly (Byron) Sunwall, Savage MT, Bonnie Ler, Minot ND, Harold "Matt" (Vicky) Ler, Savage, MT, and David Ler, Savage, MT; grandchildren: Corwyn (Amanda) Blazer, Missoula MT, Christopher (Tracy) Seeve, Bozeman MT, Dr. Candace Seeve (spouse Aaron Mutnick, Esq.), St. Louis MO, Dr. Lane (Christina) Sunwall, Mequon WI, Lauren Sunwall, Minot, ND, Eric (Kylie) Ler, Billings, MT, and Casie (Levi) Vollmer, Willow City, ND; and great-grandchildren Delilah Blazer, Lucy and Aksel Seeve, Hannah, Benson, and Even Sunwall, and Esten Mutnick; one brother, Gary (Susan) Albertson; sister-in-law Betsy Albertson, along with numerous cousins, nephews, and nieces. She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold, parents, sisters Connie Siebold, JoAnn Meyer, and Maxine Miller; and brothers Loren Albertson and Richard Albertson.
We are very grateful for the kind care Mom received at the Extended Care Facility.