Hot Springs - Rosie Mae Swisher King passed away April 16, 2022, four days before her 97th birthday. She was born April 20, 1925, in Kalispell to Emery and Myrtle Swisher, the oldest of five children.
Rosie grew up on the family homestead at Niarada, Montana, and attended the one-room Sullivan Creek School. She graduated from Lonepine High School in 1941 at age 16. Later in life, Rosie served as the Lonepine School Alumni Secretary where she kept detailed records of former students and their addresses. She was an integral part of organizing many alumni banquets.
Rosie valued hard work her entire life. She began working as a 12-year-old at the Niarada Store and went on to diverse jobs ranging from apple picker to waitress to working the Tool Room at Boeing’s Seattle factory during World War II. She was known to send money home to help her family and even paid for her sister Ruth’s prom dress. Like the other “Rosies,” she received a pink slip when the war ended, but was always rightfully proud of this work.
Rosie married Tom King in Polson on August 16, 1947, after selling a pig in town. The pair honeymooned in the romantic Yaak where they visited her Aunt Gladys and Uncle Jack Coup. The couple set up housekeeping on Tom’s Lonepine ranch in a two-room house. From this union, five children were born - redefining work. Tom and Rosie worked together at irrigating, haying and all things ranching. Rosie had a deep appreciation for cattle and enjoyed looking at a field of them grazing. After her children were raised, Rosie worked at the Sanders County Hospital in Hot Springs and the Hot Springs Schools.
While work was a dominant part of her life, Rosie found time to enjoy other activities. Rosie was active in Saddle Club and Home Extension Club for many years. It was in Saddle Club where she learned to square dance on horseback. Tom and Rosie loved community dances at Garcon Gulch, the Niarada Hall, and Boisverts among others. Rosie’s favorite way to relax was by reading. She made time for it every day and especially enjoyed reading her way through the local library.
After Tom’s passing in 1980, Rosie maintained the ranch for several years then moved into Hot Springs in 1986. At this home, Rosie dedicated countless hours, bent at the waist, working in her garden. She grew fabulous tomatoes, beans, corn, cucumbers, zucchini and more. Her spectacular irises are well remembered. She shared her abundant crops freely and canned garden produce prolifically. Life in town also grew many treasured friendships and sprouted memorable conversations. She will be remembered mostly for her ambition, generosity, loyalty, and sharp wit.
Rosie was preceded in death by her parents, four siblings, daughter Linda and grandson Larry. She is loved and survived by her daughter Betty (Wayne) Stickel of Lonepine, son Mike (Deb) King of Lonepine, son Leo King of Hot Springs, and son Clancy (Katharine) King of Kalispell, her dear cousin Coral Cummings of Libby; 10 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, her extended family. and countless numbers of “good ol’ friends.”
A memorial will be held at the Lonepine Community Hall at noon on Saturday, April 30, 2022. Internment will be at Lonepine Cemetery and a potluck reception will follow. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Lonepine Community Hall and the Ronald McDonald House.
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