Kearns and Sons RS Aesthetics

Alice Kohler celebrates 103rd birthday

Family members stretching over five generations gathered at The Living Centre in Stevensville last Thursday to celebrate Alice Kohler’s 103rd birthday. Pictured from left to right are Verne and Kay Shreve, Barbara and Ron Kohler, Tony Kohler, Michael Skalsky, Gay Kohler, Carol Zeiler, and Justin Skalsky with his wife Emma and baby Marialice. Michael Howell photo.

By Michael Howell

 

Family members stretching over five generations gathered at The Living Centre in Stevensville last Thursday to celebrate Alice Kohler’s 103rd birthday. Alice was born in Polo, Illinois on February 9, 1914 to Richard and Clara Emma Huggans. She moved to Stevensville with her parents and a dozen siblings in 1919 and has lived there ever since.
She was only five years old when the family rode the train from Illinois to the Bitterroot Valley but she remembers the trip. Asked if the kids had a lot of fun running around on the train, she said they didn’t get to run around. She said her parents were very concerned about keeping track of all of the kids and made them all stay in their seats as they were headed out into the wild West. One of her most prominent memories of the Bitterroot after arrival is how many times she stubbed her toes on the rocks.
“I went barefoot a lot and kept stubbing my big toe,” she said.
She attended Bass School at first and then the Stevensville school until the eighth grade and then started working on the farm full time. Her family raised dairy cattle and would haul milk down to the Stevensville Creamery. According to Alice, she wasn’t too good at milking, didn’t have the right touch, but she was a good cook and that was her main chore.
“That was a lot of people to cook for,” she said. She also recalled a bit of squabbling with her older sister over the dish washing, especially after her father purchased a cream separator and they started making their own cream. Someone had to wash all the disks in the separator.
She married Anthony (Tony) Kohler in 1934. Tony passed away in 1990. They had three sons, Leverne, Ron and Tony. The oldest son, Leverne, died in 2008. Ron and Tony were at the birthday party.
Asked if, after living over a century, she had any words of wisdom to share, she said, “Just be good to other people,” and after a pause, she added, “Most all of us do that.”

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