- Your Town
Rosemary Elizabeth Hampton - Colver
Rosemary was born to Ruth and Victor Hampton Oct. 8, 1927 at 12,718 feet elevation in Siglo Veinte (Llallagua), Bolivia. Coming into the world at that elevation must have been the catalyst for her love of the outdoors. She was raised among the native Bolivian populace while her father was operating a tin and silver mine as an Engineer. Her mother was a Baptist missionary and teacher. Rosemary, her sister Marquita and brother Ronnie learned Spanish and English simultaneously at an early age. Rosemary was schooled in Bolivia, Chile, Ontario Canada and New York. By 1940 the family moved back to the US and ended up in Texas where she started college in Dickinson. Circumstances led Rosemary and her siblings to Montana in the early 1950's. Rosemary enrolled at Eastern Montana College and Quita taught school in remote Wilsall, MT. Ronald headed back to Texas by way of college in Salt Lake City.
Rosemary soon met and married Roger B. Larsen, a Petroleum Geologist. They stayed in Billings to raise five children - Bruce, Terry, Karin, Eric and Gretchen. Camping, hiking, fishing, church and summer travels to Roger’s wellsite locations were routine activities. Rosemary discovered abandoned farmsteads and weekly auctions. This led to her interest of collecting antiques which eventually became her principal hobby. Refinishing old cabinets and furniture came next. She could often be found filling the house with fumes of paint stripper, wood dust and paint.
The antique ‘business’ in the basement was moved right along with her from house to house. Then came divorce. With determination she put her life back on track and finally completed her college degree to become a teacher. She started at Lincoln Junior High while raising her children at the same time. She retired from teaching Art and Spanish at Castlerock Junior High School. Somewhere along the way she met Steve Senn, a jovial gentleman, father of five and a talented musician, married and began a new, however brief, family life. Steve and Rosemary went separate ways as their children were growing into young adults.
Once again she was championing her independence as a working mother. After most of her children left the nest she met the Montana cowboy she always wanted. He rode up and introduced himself as Richard “Dick” Colver. By this time Rosemary was residing in Red Lodge buying a few old homes and renovating them. She ultimately recruited Dick to help with the handywork. Together they built Grandma’s Attic and Wildflower Gift Shop, an antique and gift shop on Main Street. Business was good during the summer but the rest of the season she may have been her own best customer. Proud of the fact that she could pull up stakes and head somewhere better on short notice, with Dick right behind her she found a quiet cabin nestled in forty some acres of tall trees on Rock Creek north of town where the bears, moose and occasional mountain lion would stop by and say “hi”. She cherished her variety of animal pet companions. Her children were annoyed at times by the number of critters in camp but she dearly loved them and always had them in and around her household. They all soon moved from the flood prone creek bottom to a drier rocky pasture near Boyd. From there they migrated clear across the state to “paradise” in Plains, Montana. Her post office box was in the town of Paradise six miles east of Plains. The drive to collect her mail was worth the “Paradise” postmark. She and Dick lived high above the river with a view of the most beautiful valley she ever dreamed of. She took hundreds of seasonal and sunset photos from the windows, sunrooms, and decks Dick fabricated on nearly all the compass points.
She was beautiful, stubborn, imaginative, loving, caring, creative, artistic, defiant, intelligent, whimsical, bold and very colorful.
From alpine and cross-country skiing to kayaking and camping, backpacking and hiking, fishing, flying lessons to knitting, quilting and crafting. Traveling in retirement she never idled. She quickly picked up other languages in her travels to Europe, Russia and elsewhere. She was all about exploring and adventure.
Her faith in God was instilled into all her children where it is steadfast to this day. She filled nine decades with a full and rewarding life only to be caught by the confines of something she could not escape. Finally, her wish for freedom was divinely granted. We are convinced of that. Our loving and caring Mother passed away Feb. 4, 2017 peacefully at the age of 89 years and four months following a double stroke last June. She leaves to this world Dick, her husband of 32 years, 5 children, 11 grand children, 8 great grand children, her brother and sister, her step children and their children, her dogs, cats and other species on her way to becoming a most awesome angel. We miss her dearly but we always have her in our hearts. May God bless and keep her soul, forever.
Per her wish a Memorial Celebration of her life will be held in the Beartooth Mountains this summer for family and friends.
Memorials may be sent in her name to Montana Rescue Mission, her preferred charity.