Linda Fink Roginske, 79

 

October 14, 2020



Linda Fink Roginske passed away on Monday, September 21, 2020 at Highgate Senior Living in Bozeman, Montana from complications of Alzheimer's.

Linda was born to parents Charles "Red" and Nellie Fink at her maternal grandparent's home in Rankin, Illinois on October 15, 1940.

The oldest of six children (3 girls, 3 boys), she grew up in Lafayette, Indiana. Linda had a happy childhood and dearly loved her large family of siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and numerous cousins who lived in the vicinity.

At age 10, Linda was bedridden at home for months with rheumatic fever leaving her with a heart murmur, which after convalescence, only minimally affected her life. She would tell the story that when she went back to grade school after her long absence, she got teased by her classmates that she had "Romantic" fever.

While attending Lafayette's Jefferson High School, she was on the school newspaper staff; actively participated in business club and Junior Achievement, and served as president of her sorority - learning leadership skills she would use the rest of her life. Linda graduated in 1958.


After graduation she worked full time at Loeb's Department Store in downtown Lafayette, where she had worked part-time since age 14. While still in high school she would attend classes' part of the day and then go to work. Working enabled her to buy stylish clothes her parents could not afford with their large family. Linda started on the retail floor and soon advanced to the office billing department, an important job in the days before credit cards.

After high school Linda discovered horses, took riding lessons, showed jumper horses, and won several jumping awards. During this time she bought and sold several jumper horses. She was at ease on a horse and a natural rider. Occasionally Linda and friends would ride their horses to a nearby drive-in movie theater, sit in the back on their horses, and watch the movie. She loved everything about horses except the stable fees and vet bills which kept her broke.

While vacationing with her family in the popular Minocqua-Woodruff resort area of Northwood's Wisconsin, Linda met the love of her life, Ron Roginske, whose parents were also vacationing at the same resort. It was instant chemistry between them. Before the week was out, they kissed, expressed their love for one another, and vowed to keep in touch even though Ron lived in Milwaukee and Linda lived 250 miles distant in Indiana. Both were just 15. Keep in touch they did, even after Ron went off to Forestry School in Montana. They saw each other only a couple of times a year, but wrote 300 letters to each other over five years. They married in 1961 and recently celebrated 59 years of marriage.


The day after their wedding the newlyweds headed to Missoula, Montana for Ron's senior year of college. Linda got a job at the Missoula Mercantile Department Store (later renamed Bon Marche, then Macy's) in the billing office doing the same job she did in Indiana. In Missoula she became a Montana outdoor girl, learning to snowshoe and helping select and cut their first Christmas tree from the forest.

After Ron's graduation they moved to West Yellowstone, Montana for Ron's new U.S. Forest Service job. Here Linda lived for a time like a pioneer woman in a log cabin ten miles from town - no neighbors, no electricity, no running water, dipping and hauling water out of a spring with a pail, cooking and heating with a wood burning stove, using an outdoor toilet located in the horse pasture some distance from the cabin, and being seven months pregnant. She was one tough pioneer lady! Later she and Ron moved to town for the winter where she saw the temperature drop to minus 60 degrees below zero. Her first son, Mark, was born in Bozeman after a three-hour drive from West Yellowstone during the first snowstorm of the season.

Two years later, the family moved to Bozeman where she really enjoyed the conveniences of city life. It was here that her twins, a boy, Scott, and a girl, Lucinda, were born. This came as a complete surprise as she did not know she was having twins. No ultrasound in those days!


Linda's next western adventure was her family moving to a backwoods ranger station along the Clearwater River in central Idaho. The ranger station had no phone, radio, TV, or newspaper delivery, and was two hours from the nearest town on dangerous logging roads. A grub truck delivered groceries and mail once a week. This time Linda did have electricity, running water, indoor plumbing, and neighbors. Her three preschool children played barefoot outside most of the time with their friends. For the winter Linda, Ron, and family moved into Orofino, Idaho, and then back to the woods in spring. They did this for four years.

Linda was happy when they moved back to Montana, to Deer Lodge, where the children could start school. The family stayed there for three years.

In 1972, the family moved to Whitehall, Montana where Linda lived until she moved into a memory care facility in Bozeman nine years ago. Her husband Ron still lives in Whitehall.

Linda worked for the Town of Whitehall for 20 years eventually becoming Town Clerk/Treasurer, responsible for the Town's administrative business. In 1997 she was awarded Montana Bookkeeper of the Year by the Montana Rural Water Systems association for her excellent work as project administrator of the Whitehall water improvement project.

Linda later started her own consulting business; specializing in helping people with land development, easements, land exchanges, and government permitting processes.

Linda was always civic and community-minded. With others she helped establish the Whitehall Community Library, served six years on the school board, some as chairperson - where she championed for the establishment of computers (a new technology then) in schools, served on the county planning board, and was Jefferson County's coordinator for the Nation's 1976 Bicentennial Celebration.

Linda was an excellent leader and manager, well organized, hard working, detail oriented, persistent, and determined. If anyone needed a job well done in the community, they would seek out Linda.

Linda loved being outdoors learning about nature and God's creation. One of her favorite things was to gather natural objects from the land such as bark, leaves, rocks, bones, feathers, and unique shaped pieces of wood; using them artfully to decorate her yard and house.

In the spring and summer, Linda was happiest gathering wildflowers, making some into bouquets and pressing and drying the rest to create cards to send to people needing some cheering up. She also enjoyed watching and feeding songbirds in her yard.

Linda liked to hike mountain trails, mountain bike, cross country ski, and explore the mountains and desert with her family. She enjoyed beachcombing on the Oregon coast and sailed twice on the Pacific Ocean.

In later years Linda looked forward to her and Ron's annual spring trip to Moab, Utah, exploring the beautiful red rock southwest dessert, where the weather was warm while Montana was still cold and snow covered. She enjoyed visiting different national parks and historic sites with Yellowstone National Park being her favorite.

Linda enjoyed reading, journaling, doing cross stitch and sewing - becoming quite the seamstress making clothes, costumes, and even drapes. She enjoyed listening to a variety of music and dancing to live music. She liked Louis Armstrong, George Winston, gospel music, and her favorite Johnny Mathis. Linda liked to learn and continued her education by taking college classes at Montana Tech and correspondent courses from Idaho.

Linda was a deep and heartfelt Christian. Greatly influenced by her Free Methodist minister grandfather, she was a role model for loving her family, caring for those in need, and standing for justice and equality. She was always an advocate for the underdog and less-fortunate in life. She taught bible studies and church school, did premarital counseling along with her husband, and helped establish with her husband and others, Young Life (an international nondenominational Christian high school ministry) in Whitehall. Linda became a Young Life leader, helping put on weekly kid's worship meetings and often taking them to camps. She was active in Methodist and Presbyterian churches in the various towns where she lived.


Linda is survived by her husband Ron of Whitehall; Sons, Mark of Salt Lake City, UT, Scott (Nancy) of Joliet, MT; Daughter Lucinda Kultgen (Rob) of Butte, MT; and four grandchildren; Forrest Kultgen (Afton) of Ogden, UT, Anna Kultgen, Butte, MT, Truanne Roginske (fiancé Jared) Bozeman, MT, and Maya Roginske, Joliet, MT; Sisters Jane Bennett (Ron) of WI and Cathy Goodpaster (Tim) of IN; Brothers Charles (Sue) of FL and Steve of IN; and Sister-in-law Lynn Roginske, of WI.

She was preceded in death by her parents, grandparents, and brother Bill Fink.

In keeping with Linda's passion for helping people, memorial donations in her honor can be made to any of the following or a charity of your choice:

Trinity United Methodist Church Samaritan Fund

PO Box 455

Whitehall, MT 59759

Whitehall Community Library

PO Box 659

Whitehall, MT 59759

Linda's wish for cremation has taken place. Due to COVID-19, a celebration of Linda's life will be held at a later time.

 

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