Marjorie Maurie "Mick" Zander, 84, passed peacefully into her eternal life with Jesus on Nov. 20, 2001, after 9 years of living with various mutations of breast cancer.
She was born July 6, 1917, at the family home in Arapahoe, Neb., to Ralph and Vesper Hill. Early on, Marjorie's siblings nick-named her "Mickey" after "the Terrible Mickey McGuire", a comic strip character of the era known for his hot temper. That name followed her throughout her life. The family was fond of serious board game competition, and Mickey retained her appreciation of a worthy opponent right to the end.
The thirties brought hardship as the family weathered not only the Great Depression, but also the devastating Republican River flood, which completely washed away their homestead. They rebuilt, only to lose Mick's dad to a farm accident.
At age 18, after attending a year at McCook Junior College, Marge was enlisted by her community to teach for a year in their one-room country school. This experience affirmed that she'd found her life's calling in the classroom. She attended another year at McCook Junior College, then went on to Arizona State Teachers' College and the University of Nebraska to earn her bachelor of science degree in education. She taught a total of eight years in the Nebraska school system, during which time she also met Victor Zander, who farmed on the Republican River between McCook and Culbertson. They were married on March 31, 1943, while Vic was on leave from the Navy. Following the war, they lived a short time in Detroit, then settled on Vic's farm on the Republican River.
In 1959, they moved with their five children to live east of Whitefish, Mont., where they farmed for a number of years. In 1965, Mick returned enthusiastically to the classroom, first in Whitefish High School, then in Whitefish Junior High, where she taught Literature, English, Civics and Montana History. She master-minded the "Whitefish Eighth Grade History Tour" and, along with Ken Doxtater, et al, conducted the trips that have become a tradition of 30 years' standing.
Mick regretfully retired from her teaching position in 1982 to care for Vic as he battled lung cancer. After his death, she returned to Whitefish Schools as a guest teacher. She also served with literacy volunteers as long as her health allowed. In her retirement, she took up bowling, which gave her many treasured friendships and years of entertainment.
Mick lived her life with courage, humor, intelligence, and a keen sense of ethics. She was bolstered by a deep and abiding faith in Christ's salvation. Throughout her 84 years, she inspired many people to higher achievement, and remained a positive force in the lives of those who knew her, right to the end of her days.
Mick was preceded in death by her husband, Victor, and her brother, Ralph Hill, Jr. She is survived by her sisters and their husbands, Helen and Stan Oglesby of Centerville, Iowa; June and Maurice Johnson of Gretna, Neb.; Jane and Jim Dunlap of Norfolk, Neb.; her sister-in-law, Charlotte Hill of Arapahoe, Neb.; three daughters, Vicki Zander of Edmonton, Alberta; Ruth and her husband, Gil Harrison of Whitefish, Mont., and Thea Zander of Portland, Ore.; two sons, Karl and his wife, Angela of Oristano, Italy, and Kelly Zander of Portland, Ore.; granddaughter, Shaunna and husband, Andre LeClair and great-grandsons, Dylan and Tyler LeClair all of Onoway, Alberta; grandchildren, Alessandro and Melissa Zander of Oristano, Italy, grandsons, David and Michael Harrison of Whitefish, Mont., and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were Nov. 27, 2001, at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Whitefish, with burial following at Glacier Memorial Gardens near Kalispell, Mont.