A memorial service honoring Lois’s life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 1108 24th St. West, with a lunch to follow in the basement of the church.
Lois Esther Mattson was born on May 4, 1929. She grew up on a homestead near Outlook, living in a small farmhouse with her parents, Henry (1886-1962) and Dagny (1891-1969); her grandmother, Berntine (1854-1945); and her older siblings Walter (1923-2012), Robert (1925-2000), and Doris (1927-2008). Lois never knew her oldest sister, Helen, who developed rheumatic fever, a complication of strep throat before penicillin, and died before Lois was born.
The Great Depression started the year Lois was born. Life on the farm was hard during the Dust Bowl. They had no money, but their lives were rich in love and faith, and they never thought of themselves as poor. Lois thought she caused the Depression and felt bad about it because her father told people he hadn’t had a crop since Lois was born.
She dearly loved the prairie, but during her later high school years she lived there only during the summers. There wasn’t an opportunity for a good education near the farm, so her parents sent Lois to complete high school in Billings. Her sister, Doris, was attending college there, and they lived together in a basement apartment while Lois attended Billings Senior High School.
Lois graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, in 1951. After teaching for one year, she went back to school in St. Louis to get a degree in dietetics, and worked at the Swedish Hospital in Minneapolis from 1954-1956.
Lois met George Dalthorp at her sister Doris’ wedding in 1950. They ended up getting married in 1956 and raising four children in Billings. David (1958-) now lives in Helena; Kris (1959-) in Kodiak, Alaska; Beth (1960-) in Minneapolis; and Dan (1964-) in Albany, Oregon. Lois took about 20 years off from working as a dietitian to raise her children.
Lois and George began attending Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in 1958. They remained active in the church throughout their lives, making many dear friends and great memories along the way.
Lois always needed something to do. After their kids were out of the house, she and George traveled with Friendship Force, which gave them the opportunity to stay at people’s homes with them in other countries and to host visitors from all over the world. Among numerous other activities, Lois helped others at church make approximately 5,000 quilts to send to people who needed them. She kept healthy by walking/running 10,000 steps a day until she was 87. Except for a setback for a few months a year ago, she was able to live independently up until the last six months of her life. When her children were moving her into a nursing home cottage in May, she remarked she needed to figure out what to do with the rest of her life. When asked what she meant, she replied: “I can’t just exist. I need something to do.”
Lois had a great capacity for love and was always generous with her time and her money. In her last years, she particularly liked working with African Children Today. She had developed a love and connection to a Ugandan boy whom she began sponsoring as a young child and is now a high school student and will begin law school in two years. She was hoping to sponsor him through law school to help him attain his dream of becoming a lawyer. Memorials may be sent to African Children Today, Inc., PO Box 390123, Edina, MN 55439 (memo section should read “Support of Patrick”). She also gave generously to her church in Billings. Memorials may be sent to Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 1108 24th St. West, Billings, MT 59102.
Lois loved and enjoyed her grandchildren as much as they loved and enjoyed her. She did not get to meet her two great-grandchildren, who are due in the coming weeks.