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Ted Hogeland.....Lewistown, Montana

(From rural ranch life to serving the elderly and developmentally disabled)

I'm about to turn 70 and it turns out that I'm living in a condo in what is the old St. Joseph's Hospital just 200 yards from the maternity ward in which I was born! This is because the hospital where my parents told me I was born in 1941 has been converted into Fountain Terrace Condominiums where I own a unit and now live in my retirement years.

I enjoy visiting the Carnegie Library on Main St. in Lewistown, Montana

(I often bring my own books and read them as I sit in the stacks)

I grew up on a ranch in Fergus County along Montana's Judith River, which had been homesteaded by my grandfather, Abraham Hogeland, in the 1880's, and then passed to my father, Theo Hogeland, who was born there in 1889. We lived on that property until the mid 1960's when my parents bought a smaller acreage near Lewistown, where my dad raised registered Quarter horses and enjoyed a large garden. He planted quite a few evergreen trees on two sides of the house we built and although advanced in age, he could be seen often sitting next to the "twigs" as the hose delivered water and eventually shade and a windbreak via the 30 to 40 foot trees to whomever came after him. This is the way he was.


The Hogeland homestead map created for Mary Clearman Blew's book All but the Waltz, A Memoir of Five Generations in the life of a Montana Family, Penguin Books, 1991

My Dad's (Small Theo) ranch is 1/3 from the bottom of the photo in the center left to right

Jack and Doris Hogeland lived across the Judith River on land that later became part of Small Theo's ranch. This is where Mary Clearman Blew and her sisters grew up. The ranch buildings are in the unlabelled white area on the east side of the Judith River across from Small Theo's ranch buildings. Jack's father was Albert Hogeland, my Dad's brother, and Albert also homesteaded as you can see on the map. Albert was Mary Clearman Blew's grandfather. Well-known, he died early after several accidents which had cumulative effects.

Mary Clearman Blew and I in clown costumes. She went to the Warm Spring or Duck Creek School, not to the Ware school I attended. We lived on opposite sides of the Judith River less than a quarter of a mile apart.

My grandfather, Abraham Hogeland, with his catch, probably from the Judith River or Spring Creek

(Abraham Hogeland, a surveyor for Fergus County, was dividing land into homesteads. He quit his job to homestead for himself the most beautiful and productive spot he had ever seen! Abraham Hogeland's homestead was part of my Dad's ranch when I was young until the ranch was sold in 1963.)

I attended a one-room country school at Ware, Montana (amazingly, Ware is on the Weather Channel weather map on channel 14 on cable), from first through 8th grade. There were 3 to 10 fellow students spread throughout those 8 grade levels taught by just one teacher who lived next to the schoolhouse. Our house was about 2 miles from the school and I walked, rode a horse or was driven to and from school over a dirt road (no gravel) in all kinds of weather. There were no days on which school was not held as the teacher lived right there, however, not all students could make it during or after a blizzard. We shared our road with 2-3 other ranches. The last part of our road went down steeply into the bottomland where our house and barn were.

I walked, rode, or was driven to and from school on a dirt road to Ware shared by several ranches.

Our house and barn were in the "bottom." The Judith River flowed past along a huge cut bank where some of our wheat fields were high above the bottom.

During this time at home I belonged to the 4-H Club that my parents organized for the community. We had mainly livestock projects common to all 4-H Clubs. One needed to be 9 years old to join 4-H and the picture below shows my 3 heifers, which I raised from calves when I was 11 or 12. I cared for them for 4 or 5 years as they were used for breeding ranch stock.

Three of my heifers with the dairy and hay barn in the background. The Judith River flowed parallel to the barn from the front of the barn to back (northward then later westward at the cut bank just beyond).

4-Hers tend to become pals with their animals as I did.

Starting with the 9th grade I moved to town to attend high school. Fergus County High School in Lewistown was 25 miles via the Brooks - Denton highway past Warm Springs to the turn-off onto the dirt road through wheat fields to arrive on the opposite side of the Judith River from our house. Walking the remainder of the distance required walking on planks atop a 12-inch irrigation pipe from Spring Creek across the swirling waters of the Judith River. Many of my relatives coming from back east had to work up their courage to walk across this flume. We were a multiple car family by necessity. The other way to Lewistown via Ware was entirely graveled past our ranch road and was not always traversable. My dad took milk from our milk cows for delivery into Lewistown. When the weather permitted, I came home every day. When not, I stayed with my sibling and her husband (Tobe and Ken Herfert) in town. At that time the legal driving age was 15. I was the new kid among many students who had been together for 8 years, and I drove a Nash Metropolitan so I was quite distinctive and appeared privileged.

The ways to cross the Judith River which was about 3 feet deep where we crossed were to walk, ride horse back, or ride on the truck we called the River Rat. The flume was a few hundred feet to the south (right). As you can see, people in rural areas know how to get together! Swimming lessons were given in the strong current in the summer months!

I started out in college in journalism, switching to English in my sophomore year. I graduated from the University of Montana at Missoula (275 miles from Lewistown) with BA degree in English in 1964. I took additional work at Eastern Montana College in Billings (130 miles from Lewistown) to get my teaching certificate (1966). I taught 2 grades at small community schools which were in the same building as the high school in Rapelje and Geraldine. I returned to Lewistown to teach remedial reading and do individual tutoring. I heard more than once since then that "I was the one who taught them to read." This was very gratifying that they would remember that and also tell me.

Over the years I have held varied positions in Lewistown including radio announcer (KXLO) and vocational aide at Snowy Mountain Industries (a training center for the mentally handicapped). The longest job was 19 fulltime years at the Montana Center for the Aged (a residential facility for mentally ill elderly persons) where I worked in the recreation department as a recreation aide. I still work one on one professionally with various residents.

My adult years have consisted of membership in several organizations, including Jaycees, Kiwanis, Gideons, and with the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship during the few years it was active in Lewistown (starting in 1977). I divide my time between Christian and secular organizations.

I and Harry Rauch give out New Testaments at the 2011 Montana Winter Fair on behalf of the Gideons at the booth

My first connection with the Lord was apparently in grade school, as I have a New Testament with a paper taped inside the front cover with my name and address in child-like printing followed by "church: BABTIST" which Art Linkletter (Kids say the Darndest Things!) would have loved. I have no recollection of having been associated with "Babtists," but I wonder if this had any connection with a Baptist missionary who might have done some work with students at our rural school.

My Bible from the Babtists

As we lived so far from Lewistown, I had no opportunity until my college days to attend church. My parents and I lived on an isolated 1400-acre ranch and the nearest Protestant church was 25 miles away. Once I returned home from the week in town at high school there was plenty of work to be done at the ranch aside from homework. We did no extra traveling. My parents lived through the Great Depression on the ranch and I know they made every sacrifice for me materially and they knew the meaning of ethical living and hard work. One of the county commissioners told around town that my dad plowed everyone out after snowstorms. Every worker and sales person stopped by at mealtime because they knew lots of delicious food would be served them just for showing up. Finally, they declared the road to our house to be a county road because they couldn't keep work crews away from my mother's table and they were breaking the law every time they went down to our house. My dad put needy people to work on the ranch so they could live through hard times. The guest workers cooked for themselves in the bunkhouse. I learned to be kind from my parents.

My classmates at the one room schoolhouse in Ware, Montana

(Due to size of Ware and the lack of street names my home address was Ted Hogeland, Ware, Montana.)

I posed on our Allis-Chalmers which my Dad used as a snowplow. Although ranch kids learn to drive at an early age, I did not drive it; I only sat in the driver's seat for the photo to be taken.

I attended the Missoula Presbyterian Church during college and I was baptized there around Thanksgiving of 1960 as well as belonged to the campus Christian fellowship. Baptism to me meant turning from being a church member only to becoming a follower of Christ. I was later involved on campus with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship in Billings. I can truly say life is worthless physically and spiritually without commitment to the person and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Sharing a meal together as the early disciples of Christ did. I am closest to the camera.

During my 2 years of teaching I attended the local community Protestant church in each community. After returning to Lewistown (1968) I became a member of First Presbyterian Church and have been active there ever since (over 40 years). My pastor of many years in Lewistown (Gordon Parke) helped me in my early Christian life. My current pastor, Jed Cauffman, is equally special. I have served on the church board (the Session) at every available opportunity. I am so fortunate to sit under excellent Bible-believing and Bible-preaching pastors through the years of my life.

You can view one of our stained glass windows by clicking on this link

Lowell Lundstrom and his evangelistic team (Message for America) have had 2 crusades here in Lewistown. I went forward during the first crusade and recommitted my life to the Lord. I was a local team member in Lewistown for his second crusade in 1967 (I am checking this date for accuracy with Lowell.) We met with the people who came forward as I had been helped at the earlier crusade. We did our best to follow up with those individuals up to 8 months after the crusade. I found out God had different plans for my life than I had prepared for educationally. I recommitted my life and God took me up on it.

Lowell now pastors a church in Minnesota while still holding crusades. I am thankful that while Lewistown might be too small a town for Billy Graham to visit, it was large enough for Lowell to stop by.

My education was for elementary students. It seems the Lord took my life and associated it with working with developmentally disabled adults and the elderly. The transition was not of my doing. My supervisor at what is now Snowy Mountain Industries (it was Regional Services for the Disabled) informed me of a job offer from the Director of Nursing at the Montana Center for the Aged in Lewistown. My supervisor said he didn't know how he would get along without me but Ruth Viertel offered me the job in the recreation department based on my volunteer work with the developmentally disabled persons in the community. This job lasted 19 full time years and a number of years part time and provided for my retirement. I still meet with individuals as well as serving as the Manager of Fountain Terrace Condominiums in Lewistown where the condos are owned predominantly by older adults. The Lord seems to have taken me from work that many could do to work that perhaps not many might want to do. The Lord overruled my plans when I gave him the opportunity and showed me something tremendously better. I love the work and it has been personally very rewarding to me emotionally and professionally. And I live in the same building where I was born!

A link to the Montana Mental Health Nursing Care Center where I worked full time for 19 years.

My parents, Theo and Thelma Hogeland, are buried north of Lewistown, between the Judith Mountains on the east and the South and North Moccasin Mountains on the west. This would have been on the back way to our ranch which would have been a better drive in the winter and which would have caused us to have to negotiate the flume over the Judith River to get to our house. My niece, Beth Turner, has pointed out that if I live as long as my Dad lived, I have 25 more years to share my faith in Christ. Perhaps something I have said will help you "come to Jesus" as others helped me.

Last Updated: 01/23/2015