Edgar “Eddie” Orval Garwood of Nashua, Montana, 94, died Thursday, September 24, 2015 of natural causes at his home on the family farm south of Nashua.
Edgar was the only child of Marion and Gertrude (Bailey) Garwood. Edgar was born April 23, 1921 in Jackson County, Kentucky, near the small community of Gray Hawk. When Edgar was a month old, the family traveled to Montana and homesteaded four miles south of Nashua, near the confluence of the Milk and Missouri Rivers.
Edgar spent much of his childhood shadowing first his mother and later his father in their daily farming life. As well as farming, the family ran a dairy for many years on the farm. Edgar started school in Nashua at the age of 7.When he first started school, his mother took work in town so she could take him to school and back; later he traveled on his own. Edgar remembered walking the 4 miles to school and also riding his horse, and sometimes cross country skiing to town.
After he finished the 8th grade, the family sold the dairy and moved to Lewisburg, Ohio, where Marion’s family was from, and purchased a farm there. In Ohio, Edgar decided he needed to work to help the family instead of going to school. Even though Edgar never went to high school, he was very well read and self-educated himself on many issues. During his time back east, Edgar worked many jobs in several states, including mechanical and construction jobs. He was offered a foreman’s job with an iron company, but he said he felt the pull of farming and Montana never left his thoughts.
After the start of WWII, the family moved back to Montana. Edgar farmed alongside his parents for several years. On February 7, 1945, Edgar married Theona “Toni” Moum, and they began their life together on the farm. In June of 1945, Edgar was drafted into the Army and went to California for his training. In November he received a medical discharge from the service.
He arrived home about a month before his eldest child, Ronald, was born. Two daughters later joined the family, Karen in 1947 and Diane in 1957. Edgar and Toni were blessed with grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and were always happy to have them at the farm.
The farm house was originally an old railroad bridge that was turned into a cabin, which was purchased by the Garwood’s, who took it apart piece by piece and moved it several miles and reassembled it at its current location, sometime in the late 20’s. The bridge timber walls can still be seen from the front porch. Over the years, many additions were made to that bridge timber house as the family grew, including the front porch that many family and friends sat it and enjoyed the lovely views to the south. The basement of the house, Edgar actually dug out by hand. Electricity came in the 40’s and indoor plumbing finally came to the farm house when Theona was expecting their third child and she was determined not to raise another baby without running water. Edgar was very proud of his home and its history and all the memories that were made there.
The Garwood family farm started with the original homestead but as the years passed, the farm grew to include both dry wheat land as well as irrigated hay land. Edgar put in many long, hard hours farming the land, but he never complained about the hard work. He would often say that “every day is a good day”.
Even though Edgar did not have any siblings, he was very close with his cousins on both sides of his family, particularly his cousin Bud Garwood. He also felt particularly blessed in his marriage to Toni, because he not only gained a wonderful partner, but he gained a large and loving family of Moum relations.
As with many farmers and ranchers, Edgar never really retired, although he did slow down some. He and Toni spent much time in the winter months traveling, and put many miles on cars as well as their prized motor home. They traveled in all directions visiting family and friends, and wintered many years in Arizona. They made several trips to Nashville and visiting the Grand Old Opry was a particularly wonderful memory for them both. Edgar loved music and could play the guitar pretty well, as well as the banjo and mandolin. In his later years, after Toni had passed, Edgar was content to spend his winters in Montana, sitting near his prized wood burning stove while listening to classic country music.
Edgar started almost every day of his adult life eating home-made whole-wheat pancakes that his wife perfected over the years. Family and friends alike have enjoyed pancakes at the Garwood farm. After Toni passed, Edgar became a pretty good pancake chef in his own right, and was always happy to share a cup of coffee and story with company.
Edgar was a member of the Valley County Conservation District, and had strong beliefs on protecting the land for farming, wildlife and future generations. Edgar was a member of the Nashua School Board for many years. He was also on the Valley County TV Board, and was instrumental with bringing TV to this area of rural Montana. He set up many TV antennas at farms across Valley and McCone counties, and many people will remember him as the man who brought TV to their house.
Edgar was preceded in death by his parents Marion and Gertrude Garwood, and his wife of 61 years, Theona Garwood.
He is survived by his children, Ronald and wife Patricia (Wesen) of Nashua, and his daughters Karen Stearns and husband Gary, of Harlem and Diane Forbes and husband Scott, of Apache Junction, AZ. Grandsons Steve Stearns and Tami Casady of Harlem, Scott Stearns and Amber of Butte, Seth Garwood of Nashua, and Shawn Garwood of Glasgow. Granddaughters Stacy Garwood of Nashua and Shari Stearns of Harlem, and great-grandchildren Shenia, Sade, Lacey and Trinity of Harlem and Kellen of Butte.