Nancy “Nan” Ann Miller Garnett Klehm, just shy of her 88th birthday, passed from this life Saturday, September 23, 2017. She was born September 29, 1929, in Butte to Harry and Leonine(Williams) Miller and then adopted by Lucile (Williams) and Dick Garnett four months later. She grew up in Helena and Couer d’Alene, Idaho. Being the baby of both families she was doted on by all.
While playing piano at a dance, she met Dave Klehm. Six months later they wed in her parent’s home in Couer d’Alene. Then it was off to the University of Idaho for Dave to attend forestry school. After graduation, they moved briefly to Kalispell, and then Dave enlisted in the U.S. Army, so it was off to Ft. Belvoir, VA for him to attend OCS. He went to Korea as a 2nd Lt. Through all of this Nan worked in a variety of offices; from each job she came away with a unique skill that she would later use to make her more effective in her next endeavor.
When Dave returned from Korea, they decided Kalispell was where they wanted to settle. They started their family with Kari in 1954, and Kris followed along in 1957. The family grew up in the bedroom community of Evergreen. The home on Meadowlark Dr. was pretty rough when they put down roots there, but over their lives there they built a lovely and welcoming nest-Nan continued to tend her beloved yard into her 87th year.
Nan became a legal secretary to SY Larrick in the ‘60s, and worked with him for 34+ years. She studied while working there, eventually becoming a credentialed Paralegal. While working in that office she mentored many young women, helping them hone not only secretarial skills, but life skills. After retirement, Nan embraced volunteering, first with RSVP and until last year, she was working with the Backpack Program in Evergreen Jr. High-she was very generous with time and resources.
Music was integral to Nan; she wore out two organs, and then her ukulele got plunked on regularly, after the last organ gave out. She loved going to the music at Snappy’s and during her time with Hospice, she looked forward to her Music Therapist’s weekly visits, she would play along, and she always felt better after these visits. For her grandson, Zach’s birthday in August, she played her uke and sang Happy Birthday to him.
At the time of Nan’s death she was living in the “Mother-in-Law” apartment of the home she’d lived in for 62 years. When company came she would take great pride in her lovely surroundings, and especially the view of the Flag that the Harmons fly. From this apartment she would watch Kari do the mowing of her “little piece of heaven”. She often reminisced about hitting golf balls across the “hole” and how she would be ecstatic if she got the ball all the way into the neighbor’s back yard!
Nan was preceded in death by both sets of parents-Harry and Leonine Miller & Lucile and Dick Garnett, her siblings: Jamie, Billy, Charles, Leo, Mona, Jean and Aique, her beloved son Kris and husband Dave. The loss of a child can be very hard on a marriage, but Nan and Dave endured and became stronger as a team. Nan is survived by daughter Kari Klehm and her husband Mike Collins, and her dear grandson Zachri Klehm. There are many nieces and nephews (and greats and great-greats) who will miss her, as well.
A life celebration for Nan will be held at the Red Lion, October 7, from 1p.m. until 4. Please join us with a story to share.
Special thanks to Sharalon (hospice nurse), Kirsten Wells (music therapist) and Peggy and Gary Grafe who made a musical house call!
Contributions in Nan’s name may be made to Home Options Hospice(Music Therapy Scholarship), 275 Corporate Dr. #600, Kalispell, MT 59901 or Montana Hope Project, P.O. Box 5927, Helena, MT 59604 or NW MT Veteran’s Food Pantry, 1349 Hwy 2 E., Kalispell, MT 59901.