Anna (Dollie) Mendenhall (Devlin) passed away February 6, 2018 at the Brendan House in Kalispell with her daughters by her side. Dollie was born September 9, 1915 in Sherbrook, North Dakota, during the second year of World War I. Dollie was the fourth child of fourteen siblings. As a teenager, she moved to Montana to work in Yellowstone National Park, and later to Cut Bank to work in her brother-in-law’s café. While working in Cut Bank, she met Charles Paul “Chuck” Mendenhall and got married on November 1, 1941, the same year the United States entered World War II. They were married for 63 years, until his passing in 2004.
Chuck and Dollie raised 4 children, Dianna, Charlotte, John, and Charles. Dollie was preceded in death by her youngest, Charles, who died in a commercial fishing accident in Alaska. During the War, they travelled with Chuck taking jobs in Washington, California, Colorado and Alaska, but they would always return to the state they loved the most - Montana. They moved around Montana as Chuck worked as an outfitter in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, owned and managed the Graves Cabins in East Glacier, and finally returned to Cut Bank where Chuck took a job in the oilfields and Dollie ran a boarding house. Ultimately, they retired to their family homestead cabin at Blacktail, on the border of Glacier National Park, which everyone in the family just referred to as the Ranch. At the Ranch they hosted friends and family often - for vacations, holidays and always hunting season.
At 4’10” and a little light to be a jockey, Dollie was a true Montana spirit. While travelling with Chuck in his Ford pickup Dollie always brought along the Billings phonebook, which some found odd, until they discovered she sat on it so she could see out the window at the beautiful Montana scenery. During stays at the Ranch, her children and grand-children remember fondly the early morning and late evening Rosaries by oil lamp and robust meals for all. She always kept a pack of firecrackers handy so she could scare off bears when Chuck was away, which was days or weeks at a time during hunting season. Dollie lived her life without ever having a driver’s license or driving a car, and after a fire at the courthouse where the records were held, no real identification whatsoever. She kept her true age a mystery for decades until one curious family member decided to check her voter registration.
Preceding her in death was her husband, Chuck, son, Charles, granddaughter, Lisa Kennedy Baier and son-in-law, Chuck Hartung. She is survived by her daughters Dianna Hartung, Charlotte Kennedy and husband Ed, her son John and wife Wendy; grandchildren Shelly Kennedy and fiancé Eddy Fox, John (Tre’) Kennedy and wife Leann, Ronnie Hartung and wife Georgeanne, Ricky Hartung and fiancé Estela Sledge; great-grandchildren Dillon and Rueger Baier, Sarah, Norah, Nouf and Rayan Rashoodi, Eddy and C.J. Kennedy, Kelsie Baier, Valerie Benkelman and husband Brent, and great-great-grandchildren Kaven and Kamden Benkelman.
While at the Brendan House, Dollie enjoyed feeding all the squirrels and birds that would stop by frequently. She enjoyed her caretakers and they were delighted by her playful and witty personality. She remained devout to the very end, and her family knows she said one final Rosary just before relocating to heaven.
A Rosary will be held at Risen Christ Catholic Church on Monday evening, February 12, at 7:00 PM. Mass will be at Risen Christ Catholic Church Tuesday, February 13, at 11:00 AM.