Louise Popp, age 89 of Broadus, Montana passed away on Monday, September 22, 2008 at the Powder River Manor in Broadus.
Louise was born May 10, 1919 at the family home at Belle Creek, Mt., now owned by the Giacometto family. She was the daughter of John Starley and Priscilla Ellen (Bay) Gatlin. She had four brothers, Grant, William (Dubby), Don and Wesley Gatlin.
She attended grade school at Belle Creek, high school at Newell and Belle Fourche, SD, and graduated from P.R.C.D.H.S. of Broadus in 1937. She attended Billings Business College. She was employed by Aaron Macy through the W.P.A. program in 1936-37 after school and on Saturdays. She was also employed by Ashton Jones as his secretary and bookkeeper for several years. He owned the Broadus Power Plant and also the Powder River Examiner.
She married Verlin Popp on July 2, 1938. They worked for Bruce Orcutt on the Beaver Slide Ranch. During WW II they lived in California where Verlin served in the Navy. In 1946 they moved to Valdez, Alaska, where Verlin worked as a Ford mechanic. In the late 40’s she worked as a deputy for the clerk and recorder at the court house. In 1952 they moved to the Biddle area where they ranched on Wright Creek for 24 years.
Louise spent lots of time on horseback, working cattle and training horses. She liked her horses and rodeoed a lot, winning many awards as a barrel racer. She won 52 buckles and several saddles. She also showed horses in horse shows. She won a side saddle award in 1976 and 1989. She was chosen P.R. Grandmother Queen at some time. She was P.R. Queen in 1948. In 1989 she was awarded a plaque signifying her cowboy abilities, signed by the State of Mt. and the Latigo Corp. in Billings. She went on three wagon train trips. In 1997 she was chosen cowgirl of the year by the Steven Held Foundation. She helped organize the P.R. Barrel Racers group, and participated in her last rodeo at the age of 77. In the early 80’s she qualified for the National Old Timers Rodeo three times. She volunteered at the P.R. Museum for two summers. She was a member of the P.R. Manor Nursing Home Committee, which was instrumental in getting it started.
During her lifetime she took many trips. She and Verlin went to the Bahamas in 1967 and were the first paying customers on a British island there. She also went to Australia, Ireland, and an east coast fall tour. In 1975 they bought some acreage near Broadus where they had a nice home and pasture for the horses.
Verlin passed away in 1983. She moved closer to town and was there 20 some years before moving to an apartment. She enjoyed her horses, rodeos, gardening, sewing, crafts, bowling, playing cards with family and friends, and dancing.
She is survived by her children, Sonia (Lee) Fruit, of Broadus, MT and William “Bill” (Dorothy) Popp of Mustang, OK, four grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and one brother, Don (Bonnie) Gatlin. She derived much joy from all her grandchildren and lived a full rewarding life. She will be missed by all who knew her. She was preceded in death by her parents and three brothers; Grant, William (Dubby) and Wesley.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, September 28, 2008 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Broadus. Funeral services will be held on Monday, September 29, 2008 at 2 p.m. at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Broadus. Interment will follow in the family lot of the Valley View Cemetery in Broadus. Should friends wish, condolences may be sent to the family by visiting http://www.stevensonandsons.com.