POLSON — Roberta Grace Erickson, 85, passed away at home in Polson from natural causes on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. Roberta was born on Sept. 7, 1932, to Ross and Bessie Ruth Erickson. She grew up in Lewistown, with her older brother, Paul, and younger sister, Mary Lou. Roberta graduated from Fergus High School.
Early in her career, Roberta was a legal secretary. She moved to Polson in 1959, where she worked many years for the Flathead Irrigation Project, later known as Mission Valley Power. After retiring from the power company at age 65, she put in five more years as a legal secretary for the Rosscup and Kragh Law Firm.
Roberta, or “Berta,” was a much loved aunt who played a pivotal role in her family. She was a force to be reckoned with, and she knew it. She was proud, determined and fiercely independent. She also was a lot of fun. Her nieces and nephews remember the sleep-overs at Berta's house, where they would make candles with milk cartons and ice cubes, play the "Grass Game," peruse the Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs and try on her lotions and potions. There were bike rides, hikes, dance lessons and picnics, Christmas Eve clam chowder fests and ornament-making sessions. She hosted the "Thyme-time Fish Fry," gave shaves, haircuts and permanents, and taught her nieces and nephews 101 uses for water chestnuts. The great-nieces and nephews benefited from the same kinds of wonderful adventures with Berta. For them, there were late-night talk sessions, blanket forts, water fights, marble mazes, big dolls, hundreds of Hot Wheels, the very important hand, wrist, ankle and foot flexion exercises, and, not-to-be-forgotten, individual digit conditioning. And brownies. Big ones.
Berta loved babies, even when they grew up. She also enjoyed gardening, and her neighbors admired the results of her hours of work on the treacherous bank out back. She cherished her friendship with Francis and Amilou Kis. David Kis and Melody Anderson were her two favorite neighborhood kids. Through the years, Berta was close to several other young Polson families, especially Kelly and Tami Morrison, Jacie, Makauly and Hopie.
Berta was preceded in death by her parents, brother and sister, brother-in-law Paul Fugleberg and a nephew, Jimmy Fugleberg. She is survived by her nieces, Ruth Fugleberg Hinther (Lance), Laurie McHugh (Pat), her nephews Alan Fugleberg (Jacki Elam), Mark Fugleberg (Teresa), and Tom Fugleberg (Christine). Survivors also include six great-nieces: Amy (Matt Ewing), Alana (Scott Bloomdahl), Andrea, Claire, Gia and Ila; six great-nephews: Austin, Marcus, Matt, Drew, Ryan and Braxton; two great-great-nephews, Ayden and Zachary; and great-great-nieces Alyssa and on-the-way Elara.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations be made to Polson High School for the purpose of the Paul & Mary Lou Fugleberg Memorial Scholarship, or a charity of their choice. At Berta's request, no services are planned, but a private family gathering will be held on a sunny, flower-filled day in the spring.
Memories of Berta and messages of condolence may be shared with the family online at lakefuneralhomeandcremation.com. Arrangements have been entrusted to The Lake Funeral Home and Crematory, Polson.