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MISSOULA – I was born in a log cabin in the beautiful Blackfoot valley in 1918 into the family of Andrew Winfrey Taggart and Elsie Curran Taggart. I was one of five girls and one boy.

My early schooling was in Potomac, later Bonner and Missoula.

I was a long-distance telephone operator when I attended a dance in Corvallis and met my future husband, Maury. We were married in the summer of 1937. Two girls blessed our marriage: Carole Stockner Gaubinger (husband Werner) and Cathy Stockner Duce (husband Kenneth).

There came the “Grands”: Werner Gaubinger Jr. (Putzi) married Lore; Sonya Gaubinger Elliot and husband Jason; Kirk Duce and his wife Trish; and Kort Duce and his wife Kortny.

Next the “great-grans” joined the family: Charli and her brother Cass, Lexi and her brothers River and Reggie, and Finley and his sister McCall.

I was accompanying Maury to New York, where fur buyers from around the world had gathered to inspect and bid on ranch mink from various places in the U.S. The Montana ranch of Maury Stockner left a lasting impression and the quality and color placed his endeavors at the top of the market.

He was judging live animals in Canada and the U.S. at this time and I was able to watch the process.

The time came to retire. To us it meant other things, not only enjoying our family. I was busy building a miniature three-story Victorian house and furnishing it (one inch to the foot). Maury was busy building a cabin on Flathead Lake. Our lake cabin was an enjoyment for many years, and Maury and I gave the cabin to the family to the delight of all.

Maury wrote and published a book, his memoirs about his fur business. Next we decided to do some sculpture – I was doing miniatures in porcelain and Maury doing western art and having them bronzed.

When we had spare time we learned to play golf, which we both enjoyed.

Our 71 years together was a happy and wonderful life. There will be a private family memorial. Anyone wishing to commemorate my life is encouraged to make a contribution to Junior Diabetes Research Foundation as one of my great-grands suffers from this disease.

A longtime Missoulian, Phyllis C. Stockner died Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, at the age of 97. She was born Aug. 1, 1918, in Missoula. She grew up in the Blackfoot, where she started school at age 4 in Potomac. She graduated from Hellgate High School, then Missoula County High School, at age 16. Upon her marriage, to the love of her life, Maurice Stockner, she gave up her job at “The Phone Company” to become a full-time homemaker and partner in mink ranching. She encouraged him to make ranching his career.

Phyllis was a loving, nurturing and supportive mother, who found great satisfaction in motherhood, which she conveyed to her daughters. As a grandmother, Honey (Phyllis) felt utter delight in all that her grandchildren and great grandchildren did and helped and encouraged them in every way. The great-grands, as she called them, all seven were a wonder in her eyes! She taught every one of them a thing or two about cards! Bridge was her game of choice, and nobody missed that she played with competitiveness and was more often than not a winner, in more ways than bridge.

Phyllis had an eye for detail and excellence; she became an accomplished artist, but what she enjoyed most were her miniatures. Many in Missoula have enjoyed the miniature house she built and furnished.

Much of their later years were spent as snowbirds in the California desert, where they entertained friends and family. She also honed her bridge and golf skills. They returned to their home in Montana for their last years.

Phyllis expressed to one of her daughters in her later years, that she had so enjoyed all her moves and experiences in life, that she hoped she’d enjoy this one, too. Phyllis had a zest for life and its many offerings. Her family will sorely miss her. A private family memorial will be held at a later date. Anyone wishing to commemorate her life can donate to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation of Montana.

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