Senior Photo of the Month features longtime IHS worker, foster parent

Senior Center News
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Loretta Stewart Thomas
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The Senior Photo of the Month for January is Loretta Stewart Thomas of Hardin. She is a beautiful lady who is a caring and loving mother, grandmother, sister and daughter.

Loretta was born in Crow Agency in 1955 to Adelia and David Stewart Sr. She is their third child with four sisters and two brothers.

Her favorite teacher was Mrs. Murphy in second grade in Crow Agency. She attended school in Crow through seventh grade, and then started school in Hardin in eighth grade.

I met Loretta when she was a sophomore and I was a freshman at Hardin High School. We were proud majorettes that marched and twirled our batons in parades, at football games and basketball games, always having fun. Loretta was the highest kicker, being the tallest and having long, slender legs. Loretta graduated HHS in 1973.

Her favorite job she’s had occurred following high school, where she worked at Yellowstone Park at Mammoth in 1976. It was a summer full of fun with people from around the country and around the world, often taking trail rides through the park.

She attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks at the INMED program. She was among the first students that were American Indians studying medicine there. The program is still going at this time.

She spent one year in North Dakota, then went to Eastern Montana College (now MSU-B). She was there for four years and studied business administration and Native American studies.

She has worked for Northwest Bank, the Crow Tribe and at the Indian Health Service in the health department. She retired with 24 years at IHS in Billings. She served as head on the National Federation of Union Employees for 23 years. While in Billings, she was also a foster parent for 20 years.

Loretta has worked at the Little Big Horn Battlefield Visitor Center in the bookstore.

Loretta has served at the Crow Language Symposium for two years through Little Big Horn College and works with Coordinator Janine Pease.

The Crow Language Symposium includes teachers, teachers’ aides, college students and community members Loretta helps teach. The objective is to learn to speak and write in the Crow language. It encourages the speaking of the Crow language in classrooms. This is excellent for students and teachers alike to ensure the language does not get forgotten.

Loretta has loved pets of all kinds throughout her life, not just cats and dogs. She helps at the spay and neuter clinic.

Her five grandchildren are very, very important to her.

Loretta’s way of being the good person was taught to her by her parents. Her mother told her when someone treats you badly, don’t respond in kind. You must respect people. Her father’s important lesson of life is if you start something, finish it.

Her hobbies include reading and walking.

I think a lot of Loretta. She always has been a good friend to me. She never changes. She loves people, and is a great visitor and storyteller.

Activities coming up at the senior center include bingo on Tuesday, decorating the center on Wednesday, March 6, and game day afternoon on Thursday, Feb. 7.

We continue to serve residents in Big Horn County throughout the year. We are open Monday through Friday. If you would like to attend a congregate meal, call us at (406) 665-2581.

Hardin Senior Center menu:

Thursday, Jan. 31 – burger bundles, scalloped potatoes, vegetables, dessert
Friday, Feb. 1 – hamburger gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetables, dessert
Monday, Feb. 4 – Tater Tot casserole, vegetables, salad, dessert
Tuesday, Feb. 5 – vegetable beef soup, sandwich, dessert
Wednesday, Feb. 6 – chicken tetrazzini, salad, vegetables, dessert
Thursday, Feb. 7 – tamale pie, vegetables, sweet salad, dessert

Lodge Grass Senior Center menu:

Friday, Feb. 1 – baked chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, roll, dessert
Monday, Feb. 4 – spaghetti, salad, garlic bread, Jell-O with fruit, dessert
Wednesday, Feb. 6 – pork roast, oven potatoes, green beans, roll, fruit cocktail