Wyoma Dee Freeman, 89, of Augusta, passed away March 6, 2020 in Choteau, Montana. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Gorder-Jensen Funeral Home and a Celebration of Life will take place Friday, March 13, 2020 at 3:00 pm at the Augusta Community Church with interment to follow at Augusta Cemetery.
Wyoma was born in Hastings, Nebraska on August 24, 1930. She was the daughter of Clyde and Mildred Preston. At the age of two she lost her mom, leaving her dad to raise her brother, sister and her. The move to Montana, a few years later not only brought a new home on a small farm near Sun River but also a new mom, Winona. As a cattle and horse buyer, her dad often left her with the chores. He knew he could depend on “Dee” to do what needed to be done. She attended school in Sun River through fourth grade.
Another ranch was purchased at Riebling, Montana between Augusta and Simms; meaning Dee now attended school in Augusta until her sophomore year of high school was completed. During these years she learned how to work and run a ranch as well as complete the education in the classroom. She attended her last two years of high school at Great Falls High graduating in 1948. Her responsibility for the ranch on the Sun River didn’t stop even though she was in school, as her dad often had her spending time on the ranch whenever possible.
Working in Great Falls for an insurance adjuster, she met David D. Freeman who was stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base, and on June 20, 1949 they were married, beginning seventy years of an unwavering partnership. Following a brief time in Connecticut where Dave was raised, Dee’s dad asked them to come back home and run the ranch. Their older son, Dan was born in December of 1950 followed by Doug in April of 1953. Dee taught Dave so much about ranch life in these early years. The hard work included working the land and feeding the cattle with a team of horses. Modernization was encouraged by Dave and soon a tractor and bailer took over the horse-drawn rake and over-shot, loose hay stacker. Dee met modernization with the same determination she met everything in life. She learned how to use the equipment as well as she managed the livestock and was as equally skilled in the house with cooking and sewing as she was outside with fencing, haying and working cattle. Dee was a true pioneer woman who loved the land and the ranching lifestyle.
The summer place was ten miles south of the home place on the Sun River; trailing cattle between the two places was always a high point for Dee. She was so good on a horse along with sorting and counting cattle. Dee and Dave lived in the same house on the home place for sixty-seven years. This was one of the oldest homes in the valley, built in 1872. In 1988 they retired from the ranch, but the partnership continued with buying cattle, mostly bulls for the Broken O and others for the next twenty years. Winters were spent in Arizona.
Dee Freeman is survived by her husband, Dave; sons Dan(Tina) and Doug(Nyleen); five grandchildren and nine great grandchildren; three half-sisters, Janet, Pat and Bunny; and a whole herd of nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Speed; her sister, June and her half-sister, Marilyn.
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