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On February 18, Glenn Mueller celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends. After a marvelous party he said, “I made 100. I can go now.” Two weeks later, on March 2, he passed away peacefully,
Glenn was born on Feb. 18, 1918 in Lewistown, Montana to Josephine Cook Mueller and Oscar O. Mueller. He grew up exploring the beautiful countryside around Lewistown where he developed a lifelong love for the natural world. As a boy, he played on Little Casino Creek and Spring Creek. As he grew older his adventures expanded to the Judiths, the Snowies and the Little Belts. He was a Boy Scout and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He attended the University of Montana in Missoula, where he majored in forestry. During college, he spent three summers working as a lookout in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. He served with the army in Europe during World War II. After the war he worked for the U.S. Soil Conservation Services, first in Snyder, Texas and then in Malta, Montana.
While living in Malta, he met Helen Weinmeister, who was teaching home economics at Malta High School. The two were married in 1952 in Nashua, Montana, Helen’s home town. Glenn and Helen’s first two daughters, Glenda and Sally, were born in Malta. In 1956 Glenn accepted a position as assistant ranger with the U.S. Forest Service in White Sulphur Springs. The following year he was appointed as a district ranger, and the young family was stationed at the Meyer’s Creek Ranger Station in the Beartooth Mountains of southcentral Montana, where their third daughter, Ruth, was born. In 1962 he became the lands and recreation staffer for the Kootenai National Forest in Libby, Montana where he and Helen lived for the next 50 years. Glenn made many contributions to his community there through his work and volunteer service. He served on the school board, the library board, the hospital board, and on the church council of Christ Lutheran Church in Libby. The community honored Glenn by electing him to two terms in the Montana House of Representatives. He gave generously of his time in roles large and small and performed countless acts of kindness to friends, neighbors, and those in need.
Glenn was 93 years old when he went on his last backpacking trip. On that adventure, he returned to Kootenai Lake in Glacier Park, where he had camped many years earlier. An account of his many years of hiking in Glacier National Park is included in the book, Glacier from the Inside Out.
When camping or backpacking with Glenn, you could count on him getting up early to build the fire, heat the water, and cook breakfast. No matter how early you arose, he was already up and ready to greet you with a friendly “Good afternoon.”
Glenn’s favorite places included the high mountain meadows in the Little Belt Mountains, the Beartooth Plateau, and Swiftcurrent Pass in Glacier National Park. He loved to drink cold spring water, especially from a spring at the base of Mount Baldy in the Little Belts. He knew the places on the Kootenai National Forest where the yellow lady slippers grew and, in his eighties, was seen sprinting across a meadow for a closer look at green gentian in bloom.
In his later years, Glenn and Helen moved from Libby to Buffalo Hills Terrace (BHT) in Kalispell. He served two terms as the Vice Chair of the Buffalo Hills Residents Association and as the chair of the Appreciation Committee, which raises funds for yearly bonuses for the hourly staff of BHT. As Helen’s health deteriorated from Alzheimer’s disease, he cared for her. When she needed nursing home care, he visited every day.
Glenn’s family would like to thank the staff of Buffalo Hill Terrace and the Immanuel Lutheran Home who provided a loving community for Dad in Kalispell, as well as those at the Kalispell Regional Hospital, Home Options Hospice and the Retreat, all of whom provided support to him and the family during his last week. Special thanks to Jim Pettis who became a loyal friend in Glenn’s last years.
Glenn was preceded in death by his parents, Josephine and Oscar Mueller, a great-granddaughter, Libby Kosterlitzky, his wife Helen, and his brother, George Mueller. He is survived by three daughters, Glenda Mueller Christenson (Tim Christenson) of Springfield, Virginia, Sally Mueller (Richard Opper) of Missoula, Montana, Ruth Mueller (Daniel Poli) of Albuquerque, New Mexico; ten grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews and their families.
A memorial service will be held March 23 at 1 :00 p.m at Buffalo Hill Terrace. Donations can be made to the Buffalo Hills Employee Appreciation Fund, the White Bark Pine Ecosystem Foundation, or Christ Lutheran Church in Libby, Montana. Friends are encouraged to visit our website at www.buffalohillfh.com to leave notes of condolences for the family. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home and Crematory caring for the family.