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Gwen Bolstad

Gwen Eileen (Knudsen) Bolstad of Homestead, Mont., was born July 11, 1963, in Williston, N.D., to Wayne and Janice Knudsen of Bainville, Mont. She passed early Saturday morning, Feb. 3, 2024, surrounded by family. She was 60 years old.

Fiercely independent and determined, she was the third of four children. Gwen was diagnosed with diabetes at age five but never let it define her. She attended Bainville Public Schools from kindergarten through 12th grade and was active in sports, band and choir. Her opponents on the basketball court often described her as a fierce competitor with sharp elbows, not unlike her eventual daughter. As a teen, she was crowned Miss Montana Angus Queen.

She attended Eastern Montana College (MSU-B) in Billings, where she received her teaching degree and met her eventual husband Jon — whose attempt at a first date to a Merle Haggard concert proved fruitful, somehow. They were married in June 1985 and moved to a farm and ranch east of Homestead, where they would raise their two children — Jenna, born in 1988, and Jackson, born in 1991.

A passionate, ruler-wielding educator to her many students, Gwen taught in several schools before settling at Culbertson Public Schools. She taught physical education for a while before moving to junior high math and science, where she thrived helping her young students master the order of operations and correctly read/pronounce organism. Never one to sit idle, Gwen earned her master's degree in education, coached basketball and track, enjoyed stamping cards, helped with the cows and farming and maintained a healthy garden and meticulous yard. No one was ever allowed to mow HER lawn or touch HER garden, especially after she put her husband in charge of the garden once while at Mayo Clinic. When asked about her garden, he responded, “best

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