Viola Dagne Linden Mitchell died peacefully March 13, 2011, at Powell County Memorial Hospital in Deer Lodge.
Her life began August 27, 1914, in Rockford, IL. Her birth parents were Cecilia and William Carlson; she was adopted in infancy by Cecilia’s aunt and uncle, Ellen and John Linden. Vi never knew her biological father, but both her mothers were significant influences in her life. Her Swedish heritage was always honored. English was her second language as a child, and she often recounted amusing stories of her bilingual mishaps.
The Lindens moved often when Vi was young, eventually settling in Kenosha, WI where she graduated from high school in 1933. Vi was an office worker for many years in the course of her life. She lived as far west as Santa Barbara, CA and Seattle and as far east as Silver Spring, MD, but most of her life was spent in the Midwest. She traveled to many countries in Europe and Asia, as well as throughout the United States. She moved to Deer Lodge in 1989 to be near family.
On March 29, 1941, Viola married John Ralston Mitchell in Chicago. Jack was drafted into the Army the following month, returning to Chicago only after the end of World War II. Their three children were born there and raised primarily in Kankakee, IL. Jack, a railroader for almost 30 years, died October 6, 1971 in Maryland. Vi had a great capacity for happiness and contentment, but she always mourned the too early loss of her dear husband.
Family and friends were Vi’s chief interest — and everyone was a potential friend. She collected lifelong acquaintances and correspondents from grade school onward. For decades she wrote at least one note or letter daily. She loved being a homemaker and hostess: she organized parties and card showers innumerable times for neighbors, friends and family members. Informal reunions were regular occurrences. Looking after people in emotional or material need was central to her existence. She was always a faithful volunteer and active community member. In Deer Lodge, she assisted at Colonial Manor and the New to You store, and was a member of the Presbyterian Church, Woman’s Club, and the hospital and Veterans of Foreign Wars auxiliaries. Her Christian faith was lived fully and she bloomed wherever she was planted.
Viola was preceded in death by her parents and brothers, Sigurd Russell, Charles O., and Edwin Linden.
She is survived by daughters and sons-in-law, Nancy and Eugene Lee Silliman of Deer Lodge, Marjorie and Andrew Marek of Virginia, and Marion and Richard Fecher of Virginia. She was “Grandma” to Amy and Rebecca Silliman, Andrew, Peter, and Kathryn Marek, and Susan and Richard Fecher. Her great-grandchildren, Abriana Hoosier and Mathieu de Bergh, and her grandson-in-law, Guillaume de Bergh, will remember her as “Gigi.”
The family is deeply grateful to the stellar staff at Beyond Home for four years of truly exceptional love and attention, and to the devoted and knowledgeable nurses and doctors at Powell County Memorial Hospital and Highlands Hospice in her last days. Anyone wishing to honor her life with a donation is asked to please consider the many fine community organizations and institutions in Deer Lodge.
A memorial serve was held on March 19, 2011 at First Presbyterian Church of Deer Lodge. Interment followed at Oak Hill Cemetery, Lake Geneva, WI.