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Hope Cox Stockstad passed away from natural causes on Monday, October 26, 2020 in Missoula. She was born April 19, 1927, to Dorothy and Clifford Cox in Gordon, Nebraska.
The Cox’s had six children; three boys and Hope the eldest of three girls. She spent her formative years on a ranch near Cody, NE, later, moving to South Dakota. Confident and outgoing as a teenager, Hope’s volunteer efforts ranged from leading a troop of Brownie Scouts to offering religious services to foreign prisoners of war being held at Fort Meade, SD.
After graduating from Sturgis High School, Hope moved to Rapid City, to take secretarial training, and there she met her future husband, Dwight (Stocky) Stockstad. They were married in 1950, and moved to Missoula where Stocky attended the University of Montana. In Missoula, Hope held several administrative positions, including some years at the Missoula Mercantile. She had wonderful memories and stories to tell about her years at the famed department store.
From Missoula, the couple moved to Bigfork, later settling in the Mission Valley where they built a lovely home near the Ninepipe Reservoir. Wherever Hope lived, she was active in the community, involved in several service and social organizations including Missoula Credit Women, P.E.O., DAR, Charlo Garden Club, Ninepipe Arts Group, and served on the board of the Ninepipes Museum. She was also a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Ronan.
Hope and Stocky were deeply committed to land and wildlife conservation causes. It is largely through their efforts that public access to land adjacent to the Ninepipe Wildlife Refuge was expanded, and the Owl Research Institute Field Station was established.
Hope was loved and admired for her lively personality, sense of humor and boundless generosity. She enjoyed entertaining and hosting gatherings in her home, always making guests feel welcome. Over the years, she collected hundreds of pieces for a miniature Christmas Village that she loved to show friends, and took with her when she moved to Grizzly Peak to share with the residents, staff and guests. Hope and her village were featured in a December 2013, Missoulian newspaper article. She donated the village to Grizzly Peak for future residents to enjoy.
Hope and Stocky loved dogs, raising a series of black Labradors that were lucky enough to be a part of their household. Several years ago, a scraggly black kitten showed up on Hope’s step at the Charlo house.
He became her faithful companion, relocating with her to Grizzly Peak, and then to Bee Hive Homes. Mr. Purr was asleep at the end of her bed when she left us.
Hope was preceded in death by her parents, her husband in 2002, three brothers and one sister. She is survived by a sister, Valorie Kelley (CA), four nieces, three great nieces, one great nephew and one great-great nephew; also, sisters-in-law, Traudel Stockstad in Missoula and Norma Harer (SD).
Hope was cared for by Shrider-Thompson Funeral home in Ronan, MT. The family and friends of Hope would like to thank the staffs at Bee Hive Homes and Grizzly Peak, care giver Wendy Linden, and Hospice of Missoula for their kindness and the gentle care given to Hope. To honor her memory, donations can be sent to Faith Lutheran Church, 406 5th Ave SW, Ronan, MT 59864 and Mission Valley Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 1644, Polson, MT 59860.
A celebration of Hope’s life is tentatively planned for mid-April 2021. However, this will depend on the COVID-19 pandemic status. An announcement will be made during mid-winter 2021.
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