Lucile Bates Hanford Trott, 85, died of natural causes Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at the Fort Benton, Montana, home of Ross and Laurie Rettig, where she had been residing. A memorial service is 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, at United Methodist Church, Fort Benton. Interment will be at the Fort Benton Cemetery. Snacks and fellowship will follow in the church fellowship hall. She spent her last day laughing and talking with some of those who loved her.
The youngest of six children, Lucile was born to Arthur and Louise Hanford in Spokane on Feb. 10, 1927. She lived, and later worked, on the family farm near Highwood, where she proudly remembered fixing a rod weeder in the field by herself. She also took her turn cooking, cleaning, and baby-sitting for her older sister Marian. She attended Fort Benton High School, where she served as two-time class president, cheerleader, editor of her senior year annual, and class valedictorian. Her valedictory speech, on the subject of intolerance and prejudice, was titled, "Don't Fence Me In."
After graduation, she attended Antioch College in Ohio. In the summer of 1946, while serving as an intern at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, she met museum artisan James E. Trott, a Harvard graduate and WWII veteran from Massachusetts. He later said that his first sight of her was like being "struck between the eyes by a two-by-four." They were married on Sept. 6, 1947. In 1949, they moved to Fort Benton where Lucile's brother, Norris Hanford, taught Jim the fine art of dry-land farming.
Lucile bore six children from 1949 to 1959: James Howard, Peter Clark, Andrew Hanford, Laurie Louise, Jonathan Brooks and Matthew Sherwood. Lucile raised African violets indoors while nurturing ever-expanding flower gardens both in Fort Benton and on the family farm near Shonkin. She was an active member of the Republican Women's Club and attended the 1984 Republican National Convention as an alternate delegate.
She and Jim were lifelong members of the Fort Benton United Methodist Church. She possessed a deep love of music, which she imparted to her children. In addition to her singing, playing piano and clarinet, she loved listening to opera. She also had a great love of poetry, often reciting long passages of verse from memory. She and Jim often sat together, each reading in his own chair, offering quotes aloud to one another from poets or novelists or historians.
Lucille and Jim described themselves as "two halves of a walnut"" In their retirement, they self-published a book with that title containing their correspondence, which they gave to their children. Their daily walks to the post office were a familiar and welcome sight to many Fort Benton residents.
Lucile was preceded in death by her husband, James; her brother Howard (lost at sea in WWII); and her sisters, Florence (Robinson), Marian (Long) and Jean (Dyrland). She is survived by her brother Norris Hanford of Rancho Bernardo, Calif., and her six children, James (Roseann) of Philadelphia, Peter (Suzanne) of Coos Bay, Ore., Drew (Jennifer) of Loma Mar, Calif., Laurie (Ross) of Fort Benton, Jonathan (Carol) of Chicago and Matthew (Carrie) of Power. In addition, she leaves nearly two dozen grandchildren, an ever-growing number of great-grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and cousins.