In the quiet early morning hours of August 22, 2020 surrounded by her family, Claire LaVerna (Biegler) Workman, 83, headed up the trail one last time from her home on Pinkham Creek. No snow, rain or hail storms, no blistering heat, no bees or flies, no boulders or fallen snags in the trail, no rushing rivers or boggy, rocky hill sides….a final ride to paradise and Heavenly rest. She was born on the first day of spring, to Art and Lucille Biegler, March 20, 1937 in Kalispell, Montana. Her growing up years were spent in Libby, Seattle, Warland and the Kila area. She loved going to dances with her family and many a Saturday evening was spent at the Grange Hall wearing out her dancing slippers.
A young teenage Claire met a quiet handsome cowboy at one of those Saturday night dances, and 3 years later, the week after Claire graduated from Flathead County High School she married Harry T. Workman of Pinkham Creek on June 4, 1955, at Trinity Lutheran Church. For the next 65 plus years, they blazed a broad, unique and beautiful trail through life together. First in a little cabin out by Trego, then to Germany and California while Harry served in the US Army, a while on the family homestead at Pinkham, then down on the Kootenai River below Douglas Hill and in 1965 moved back up Pinkham Creek to build their ranch and raise their five kids as well as many others that needed some upbringing or just wanted to stay. Claire and Harry were/are lifelong members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Eureka, and were instrumental in the actual building, but also the introduction of the church to the Eureka area. She loved teaching Sunday school, helping with Confirmation and youth group. She could remember every kid, and probably their birthdays, who were in her class, came through her lunch line at the school cafeteria or rode her school bus. Claire drove bus and worked for the Eureka public schools for 11 years. After their youngest son finished high school Claire joined Harry up at Silvertip, running Buckhorn Ranch Outfitters together in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and from their home, providing that once in a life time trip hunting, roving, fishing, sightseeing and caving to people from all over the globe. Claire was an artist, poet, seamstress and knew more about flowers and trees, birds and rocks than most. She was a cowboy, a lady, an adventurer, a friend, a teacher and a darn good cook. She especially loved Christmas and the celebration of the birth of our Saviour….then also when all the kids gathered again on the 12th day of Christmas to celebrate the Epiphany and open their stockings.
Most of all Claire was our Mother, the loving Wife and companion to our Dad, she was our Grandmother and Great Grandmother. Once while on a stay at the hospital, the nurses commented on all of her beautiful flowers that lined the window ledge in her room, and Mom replied, ”I am always surrounded by beautiful flowers, they are my children..!”
If you knew our Mom, I don’t have to tell you she loved butterflies, humming birds and anything purple! Mom was also a lover of wild country and wild places. She loved wildflowers and wild strawberries. She loved wild sunsets and wild weather. She loved wild animals, wild chickens and the wild trails of the wild mountains and wild rivers that she spent so much time on. She loved wild horses, well….half wild anyway. She loved wild shirts and wild rags, especially on some of her favorite wild cowboys and cowgirls. Of course she loved at least 5 wild kids…I guess you could say Mom was a lover of all things wild. Except cows , she didn’t like wild cows!”
She is predeceased by her parents, a brother Chuck Biegler and sister Betty Wilson.
Claire is survived by her husband, Harry; brothers Artie, Eddie (Dee), and Hobart (Robin) Biegler; her children Bill (Gail) Workman, Darla (Marty) Kaarre, Alta (Tom) Phillips, Randall Workman (Kelli) and Larry (Rae) Workman; grandchildren, Jesse (Caroline); Raina (George); Lucas (MaKayla); Nikki (Jeremy); Erika (Aaron); Randy, Carrie Rose, Krista, Elly, Chelsea (Zach), Micah, Malina, Harry, Elizabeth & Benjamin, and her great grandchildren Tarn, William, Orrin, Caleb, Clarence, Vivian, Sage, Ryane and Baby Boy Phillips (due January 2021).
Though our trails will be a rough go without Mom, we learned and were loved well. When you take a walk among the wildflowers, breath the clear mountain air, lay in the grass and watch the clouds to see all that they make themselves out to be, listen to the birds song, cast a line for that rainbow, climb aboard that pony and ride or kneel in Prayer and feel the brush of angel wings, think of Claire.
Memorials or donations can be made in Claire’s name, to the Holy Cross Lutheran Church Youth programs. A memorial in Celebration of her life will be held September 13, at 3:30 pm at the Pinkham Schoolhouse. A meal will be provided. Please bring a chair, feel free to wear bright colors and bring a handful of wildflowers. General pandemic protocols will be practiced. Arrangements are by Schnackenberg Funeral Home in Eureka. Online condolences and memories may be shared at www.schnackenbergfh.com.
To send flowers to CLAIRE's family, please visit our floral store.