Gladys “Louise” Ripley Paulsen Wagner
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Gladys “Louise” Ripley Paulsen Wagner, 93, passed away peacefully on May 20, 2019, in Billings, Montana.
On June 16, 1925, in Melstone, Montana, Louise arrived as the third of eight children born into the ranching family of Gladys (Edwards) and Martin Ripley. Growing up in tough times and even tougher places around the state of Montana, Louise learned early on to make the best of what she had and to find the good in every person and every circumstance. As a child she learned to ride, ranch, cook, sew, keep house, and care for children, skills she would refine throughout her entire life. She attended high school at Lodge Grass and went to work for the neighbors, where she was swept off her feet by one of the ranch’s cowboys. She married Ira Martin “Art” Paulsen in Hardin on May 31, 1944, and they began a life of working on ranches, training horses, and raising three children, mostly without running water or electricity. In 1963 they settled in Ryegate, Montana, where they bought a place south of town and trained horses. Art passed away in 1979, and in 1981 Louise married Dave Wagner. They enjoyed RV traveling, snowmobiling, and most of all dancing to old-time fiddle music.
Louise always had a well-stocked cookie jar, hot coffee, and a cup of dice and a deck of cards on the table for the company that regularly stopped by. She was well known for her handmade gifts, homemade bread, strawberry jam, and pies so delicious they defied description. She was happiest when her large extended family gathered in her home for a meal made from scratch by her own hands.
After Dave’s passing in 2005, Louise lived in Ryegate until moving to The Crossings in Laurel, Montana, where she loved visits from friends and family, reminiscing about good times and good horses.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Gladys and Martin Ripley; husbands, Art Paulsen and Dave Wagner; sisters Gin Scott and Eva Messing; brothers Kip, Bill, and Bob Ripley; stepson Larry Wagner; and grandchildren Michael Paulsen, David Reeves, and Ellie Tuck.
Those left behind to miss her songs, her stories, and the sparkle in her eye include her sisters Elva Bussey and Donna Ripley; sister-in-law Faye Ripley; children, Jay (Krys) Paulsen, Peggy (Buzz) Tuck, and Patty (Bob) Rogers; stepchildren Donna Wagner and Dianne (Rick) Lenhardt; grandchildren Shawn (Brenda) Paulsen, Keri Lander, Doug Reeves, Colleen (Glenn) Beckett, Jim (Laura) Robertson, Erin (Shane) Slivka, Summer and Will (Anna) Tuck, Barb (Scott) Waters, RJ (Caroline) Rogers, David, Andrea, and Ryan Lenhardt, and Brant Wagner; great-grandchildren Kayla (Jaramie) Miller, TJ (Cooper) Paulsen, Karissa (Paden) Boulden, Austyn (Loretta) Paulsen, Kolter and Walker Ciesinski, Sophie Reeves, Morgan (Hannah), Brenna, and Callie Beckett, Donny and Dacey Robertson, Riley, Anna, Matthew, and Emma Lou Slivka, Kayla (Lyndon) Johnson, Darien and Leanna Broom, Emily Tuck, Jaylan Walton, Nya Norris, Ashley Pankratz, Bo and Madison Waters, Austin, Chesney, and Darrah Rogers; great-great-grandchildren Christian, Aidan, Lyndi, Rial, Asa, Camryn, Emmett, Marshall, Danny, and Burke; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Services for Louise Wagner will be at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, June 1, 2019, at the Ryegate School Gymnasium with viewing prior to the service at 10:00 a.m. A luncheon will be held at the Catholic Church Hall following interment at the Ryegate Cemetery. Should friends desire, memorials may be made to the Ryegate Volunteer Fire Department or the Golden Valley Ambulance Service. Condolences may be shared online at www.smithfuneralchapels.com.