A life spanning from the year 1919 in a small town in Yugoslavia through Ellis Island, Chicago, Wyoming, and Montana to this year, 2022 has ceased and the contributions of another member of the Greatest Generation are complete.
Katherine Elizabeth Burghardt Feiter Schnase, reaching her way into a second century at the age of 102, passed away Monday evening, April 5, 2022 at St. Joseph Hospital in Polson, Mt.
Katherine was born to Philip and Elizabeth Burghardt on December 30, 1919 in Yugoslavia. She, her brother Joseph and her parents immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island December 19, 1923. From there they traveled to Chicago where they made their home. Philip was a bricklayer by trade and Elizabeth a seamstress. In Chicago a second brother Jacob (Jack) was born and raised with Joe and sister Kate. Kate graduated from Park High School and secured a job at the Spiegel Store. She married Jack Feiter in 1940 and they had a daughter Jacqueline before Jack was drafted and sent to Italy during WWII. Jack died in 1944 in Italy serving our country, leaving Kate and Jackie at home. Traveling on vacation to Wyoming with her brother Jack she met Orville Schnase (Sniz), an army buddy of her brother. Later Orville would travel to Chicago to ask her hand in marriage, Kate and Jackie then moved to the “wilderness” of Wyoming on Horseshoe Creek near Glendo to begin a new life. It was there that Carol, John and Ken were born. In 1954 Orville and Kate bought a farm/ranch west of Charlo, Montana. Kate learned about milk cows, hogs, horses, herefords, chickens, apple orchards, rattlesnakes and driving tractors. Those things along with meals, clothes, chores and getting the kids to the school bus on time were routine for Kate. The family loved the homemade bread and rolls after school as well as the memorable Sunday dinners.
After the children grew and moved on, Kate and Orville moved to a 40-acre farm adjacent to the original which had been sold. There they kept the horses and raised a few cattle and Kate took a job as a cook and waitress at a local restaurant. She worked there until Orville became ill. He passed away in 1991. Kate continued to live on the farm until 1994 when she moved to Ronan where she stayed for over 20 years. In Ronan she continued to be a part of the Senior Citizens, American Legion Auxiliary and Council on Aging. She also worked at the Breadbasket. In 2016 Kate moved to St. Joseph Assisted Living in Polson where she developed a love and friendship with the residents and staff and lived there until her passing.
She was preceded in death by her husband Orville, brothers Joseph and Jacob, daughter Jacqueline, son Ken, granddaughter Sheena and a great grandson Clayton. She leaves behind sister-in-law Ann Burghardt and children Betsy and Peter, daughter Carol Samson (Barry), son John Schnase (Barb), grandchildren Mike Winn (Theresa), Greg Winn (Sonya), David Ortiz (Lisa), Jennifer Lively (Todd), Charlotte Schnase, Nate Schnase (Leslie), Lee Schnase (Carlee), 14 great grandchildren and 10 great great grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to the donor’s choice or to the Montana Community Foundation for the Katherine Schnase Permanent Endowment Fund of the Boys and Girls Club of the Flathead Reservation and Lake County.
A funeral service will be at the Shrider-Thompson Funeral Home on Monday, April 11, 2022 at 11 a.m., Interment at Mountain View Cemetery, Ronan. A reception will be held after the burial and will be catered by Stella’s at the Ronan VFW Hall.
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