STEVENSVILLE ~ Margaret Mary Lechner, 96, passed away Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at The Living Centre in Stevensville, of natural causes.
She was born July 23, 1924 in Floresville, Texas, the second of six children to Felix and Annie Lange. She grew up on the family farm, experiencing difficult times during the Great Depression and learning the value of hard work.
Upon graduating high school, she began working as a telephone operator at Southwest Bell in San Antonio, Texas. She had fond memories of her job, of exploring downtown San Antonio during work breaks, and she looked forward to being promoted to supervisor. Her career plans changed when her brother, on leave from the Army in WWII brought home a handsome fellow soldier, Nicholas Lechner. Margaret and Nick married in 1944, and when the war ended, they left Margaret’s beloved Texas and moved to Nick’s home state of South Dakota, where their first daughter Nikki was born. In 1948, they returned to Texas, where their daughter Wanda was born. They then headed for Seattle, where Nick was to attend technical school. On their way, they stopped in Victor, Montana to visit Nick’s brother. They never left Montana.
Margaret and Nick lived in Hamilton until Nick started working for the Northern Pacific Railroad. They lived in the lower Rattlesnake when their son Jan was born. They built a home on Reserve Street, then a quiet country road. During summers, Margaret could usually be seen in her oversized white shirt and straw hat, tending her beautiful flowers and prolific garden and fruit trees. Her family appreciated the results of her late nights spent canning and freezing the products of her harvest.
In 1980, when Reserve Street had become unbearably busy, they moved again to the lower Rattlesnake, enjoying the quiet and beauty of the area.
Her husband Nick died in 2014. Margaret stayed in their home until 2019, when, after a fall, she moved to assisted living at The Living Centre in Stevensville. She loved her view of the beautiful Bitterroot Mountains, and her family appreciated the loving and professional care she received there.
Survivors include her three children; Nikki (Jim), Wanda (Raymond) and Jan (Joyce); five grandchildren, Travis, John, Adrienne, Nicholas and Kevin; and four great-grandchildren, Ciaran, Eva, Marcus and Isaac.
Margaret will rest beside her husband at the Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery in Missoula. A graveside service for family will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to Meals on Wheels or St. Paul Lutheran Church in Missoula where she had been a long time member.
Arrangements are under the care of Garden City Funeral Home in Missoula.