Clara Cundiff, 93, Sidney, MT

Funeral services for Clara Cundiff, 93, Sidney, MT, were at 2 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, at the People's Congregational Church, Sidney, with Pastor Richard Evans officiating. Interment will be in the Sidney Cemetery, Sidney, MT. Visitation was on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, from 10 a.m-4 p.m. at the funeral home and one hour before services at the church. Fulkerson Stevenson Funeral Home, Sidney, MT, assisted the family. Remembrances, condolences, and pictures were shared with the family at http://www.fulkersons.com.

Clara Grace (Putnam) Cundiff was born Dec. 20, 1930, to Lester and Lucy (Coon) Putnam in Sidney MT. She was raised in the Girard area and educated at Brorson School.

On May 22, 1948, she was united in marriage to William James Cundiff, Sr. They farmed and ranched only a few miles from where she was brought up. It was there that they raised three rambunctious children, and she stayed busy as a homemaker and dedicated wife. As many farm wives are, she was a ready "farmhand", doing chores, plowing fields, and driving tractors. Clara was a 4-H leader for all three of her kids and a few of her grandkids. During that time, she taught sewing, cooking, and helped kids keep track of the beef records. She made sure each Sunday the kids made it to Sunday School and afterwards there would be a family gathering to share a meal, often with the Brose or Wick family. We have heard mention that she had sewn matching "outfits" for herself, Bill Sr., and all three of the kids for the Montana Centennial celebration.

During her time on the farm there are many memories of her cooking for large gatherings including brandings, moving cattle, and large family functions. Her famous hobo stew and Spanish rice could not be replicated. Many in the family tried. There had to be a secret that she didn't share with anyone. She reassured each of us that it was very simple but somehow it wouldn't turn out anywhere close to hers. She also enjoyed hosting many card games and taught a lot of the younger kids how to play pinochle.

On March 28, 1991, her beloved husband passed away. Her love and dedication to him carried on and, in fact, the symbol of their marriage could still be seen on her left ring finger right up to the day she was called home. This love is inspiring and something most of us will never forget. After Bill passed away, she sold the house and leased the land. She then made the big adventure into city life and moved into Sidney. Many more memories were made in that home. In 2014, she was moved into the Extended Care facility in Sidney. She was cared for by some wonderful people and made many friends while she was there. Somehow, she managed to carry on sewing activities and hosted the cousin's luncheon each month. The highlight of her stay was becoming "resident of the year" in 2017 where they proudly crowned her and threw her a big party.

Her greatest joy was loving on her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Each grandkid and great grandkid were gifted a quilt, stitched with love and patience and an occasional pin she missed. Her love of sewing wasn't strictly in her quilting. She also sewed vests, western shirts, dresses, stuffed animals, quillows, pillowcases, table runners, and a variety of other items. Stories have been told of boxes and suitcases of cereal, fruit snacks and other favorite food items given to the great grandkids when she stopped for a visit. She also attended as many sporting and academic events as possible.

On Jan. 18, 2024, Clara was called home to heaven. The memories we carry with us and the legacy of love that was left behind are similar to the quilts she has made. They are all beautiful scraps of color but by the tender stitch of her hand have become something that will keep us warm for many years to come.

Clara is survived by her children Mary (Bob) Williams, Weatherford TX; Bill (Pat) Cundiff, and Frank (Sharyl) Cundiff both of Sidney, MT; sister Nancy Obergfell, Sidney, MT; 6 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents Lester and Lucy Putnam; husband Bill Cundiff, Sr .; brother-in-law Jerry Obergfell; and nephew John Obergfell.

 

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