Edna R. (Holum) Begg, longtime resident of Kalispell, passed away at Brendan House, October 20, 2017, surrounded by her loving family. Edna spent the last year of her life there, longing to return to her home of 61 years. She has now made her final move to her heavenly home where she will dwell forever in the presence of Jesus. She missed achieving her 100th birthday by a matter of months.
Edna was born to Clarence and Elma (Lien) Holum in Twin Valley, Minnesota March 8, 1918 and raised on the plains of North Eastern Montana in the Madoc Community, the second in a family of six children. The siblings remained very close to one another throughout their lives.
Edna’s character was shaped and polished like a diamond during the Great Depression. Christmas sometimes consisted of a single orange split amongst six kids or a small bag of candy, but she never complained.
Her formal education was cut short by economic necessity. After graduating from the eighth grade, she worked at the school as a teacher’s aide. By the age of sixteen, she worked as a nanny with various families in the town of Scobey. She eventually became a waitress in Nashua, Wolf Point and Glasgow, Montana where her nicknames were “Sunshine” and “Deer Legs”. She met the love of her life George (Bud) Begg in 1941 while working at Johnny’s Café in Glasgow and they married in 1944. Previous to their marriage, George enlisted in the Army Air Corps and became a pilot and flight instructor. Edna joined the war effort in 1943 by moving to Santa Monica, California along with her sister Edith and friends. Edna worked at Douglas Aircraft on the C47’s and became one of the many World War II “Rosie the Riveters”. While in Santa Monica, their daughter Linda was born.
Following the war they moved to the Flathead, where they purchased the Kalispell Laundry and Dry Cleaners in January 1946 continuing ownership for forty years. They lived in the laundry for the first five years and worked relentlessly seven days a week. Their son Gerald (Jerry) was born in 1949.
Edna became a mother, homemaker and business partner with George and became the office manager and bookkeeper for their varied business interests. Her fine penmanship and keen wit for numbers enabled her to produce hundreds of statements each month, adding columns of numbers in her head with exquisite accuracy.
Edna and George purchased the Vogue Cleaners on Idaho Street and built one of the first laundromats in Montana on Second Avenue West. Part of their goal was to create North West Linen and Uniform Systems, serving the needs of hundreds of businesses from Lake McDonald to Blue Bay on Flathead Lake. They built the Imperial Fabric Care Center in the B & B Shopping Center and later added the Kalispell Car Wash next to the Laundry, which was one of the first power hand washes in the city. They purchased the Maverick Gas and Car Wash on South Main, which at the time was the city's largest retail gas outlet and operated the Bulldog Pub in two downtown Kalispell locations.
Edna and George started the development of South Meadows on Airport Road and donated 17 acres to the City for “Begg Park”, which now encompasses Kalispell Lakers Ball Field, the Begg Dog Park and playground area, for which Edna was presented the Community Spirit Award by the City of Kalispell.
She was a proud, independent, strong-willed (some might say stubborn) Norwegian. She survived the Great Depression and all her life lived humbly and modestly, never wanting to waste anything and never wanting to owe anyone. Her house was always clean and orderly and everything had its place. Her huge yard was immaculate, due to her loving care. It kept her busy through the years and she worked in it well into her nineties. Edna loved making lefse for her family, which she did until the age of 95. She was a collector of family history and photos, which her family greatly appreciates. She loved fishing, hunting, bowling and traveling, but most of all she loved dancing with George. She was his devoted caregiver for many years while he battled Alzheimer’s.
During her years in Kalispell, Edna enjoyed worship and fellowship at Bethlehem Lutheran Church and Trinity Lutheran, where she is a member.
Edna was preceded in death by her parents, husband George, infant son Gary, infant grandson Jeraemy and four siblings.
Edna is survived by her daughter Linda (Bernie) Mengwasser and their family; granddaughter Cammy (B.C.) Corpron and children; Brittany (Ty) Burns, Kyle Todd, Bailey (Preston) Mota, Alecia (Alex) Creighton; granddaughter Reni (Dan) Anderson and children, Jaden, Janae and Jarrett; five great-great grandchildren; Kendalyn and Hudson Burns; Sawyer, Charlie and Thomas Creighton all of Kalispell; one sister, Erma (Pete) Beckers and their family of Ozark, Missouri; extended family, Lisa (Dan) Bexten, their children and grandchildren of Kalispell and numerous other nieces and nephews.
Edna is also survived by her son Jerry of Kalispell and grandson Kabyn (Alyssa) Vikesland and their daughters Alaythia and Cosette of St. Louis, Missouri.
A celebration of her life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, October 27th at Trinity Lutheran Church with a luncheon to follow.
The family wishes to thank God’s earthly angels dressed in blue and purple at the Brendan House, who lovingly took care of her during her last year with hugs, kisses and compassion; and John Erickson, FNP-C, who guided us through this difficult journey.
For those who wish, the family suggests donations be made to the National Alzheimer’s Association, Brendan House, March of Dimes or a charity of their choice.
Johnson-Gloschat funeral home is caring for Edna’s family.