A celebration of Verna Brastrup’s life was held on Oct 20 at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Great Falls. Verna Ilene Lannoye Brastrup of Great Falls, passed away Oct. 18, 2013. This amazing woman was just shy of turning 92. She was born Nov. 18, 1921 in Churches Ferry, N.D. to George and Lilly (Siverson) Lannoye. She was raised there along with her three younger brothers on a dry land farm. She attended Churches Ferry High School and went on to graduate from beauty school. Verna met the love of her life, Robert Brastrup and they eloped in 1943 shortly before he was deployed overseas in WWII. Verna and Bob lived in North Dakota until 1951. They moved to a small irrigated farm in Joliet, where they raised their eleven children.
They raised and grew everything needed to feed a large family. Verna butchered chickens, churned butter and canned all the fruits and vegetables she grew in the gardens. At times, she had baby pigs, lambs, and even a pony in the kitchen by the stove to try to keep them warm in the winter. She washed clothes with a wringer washer and hung them out to dry on clothes lines that seemed to be a mile long. She sewed her children’s clothing for many years. But Verna did not complain; she had too much to do and she loved her husband and family. In 1966, Bob worked toward his master’s degree and he and Verna moved their large family into married student housing at Montana State University in Bozeman. Two houses were rented in order to accommodate the large family as featured in the Montana Extension publication. In 1967, the family moved to Great Falls for Bob’s new job with the Montana Wheat Committee. Verna was excited to live in a home with modern comforts such as carpet and a dishwasher. She adjusted well to her new city life but continued to bake for her family almost every day and grow a garden. While Bob convinced trade teams from Japan, Taiwan and Korea that Montana had the best wheat in the world, Verna welcomed them into her home for some true Montana hospitality. In addition to raising her rambunctious children, Verna was a 4-H leader for many years.
She was involved with Eastern Star and was named DeMolay Mother of the Year. She was also an active member of her church. Verna was a modest woman of extraordinary talents. She was so proud of her Scandinavian heritage. She was quite fond of lutefisk and lefsa. Her family and friends can attest to what a tremendous cook she was. Her kids came home from school every day to the aroma of freshly baked bread and all sorts of sweet treats. Everyone especially loved her Berlinerkranz cookies. Verna was immensely proud of all of her children. She taught them good work ethics and strong family values tempered with love and kindness. They also learned the value of loyalty, unity and family traditions. She gathered her family together over and over for celebrations that cemented their family bond. The Brastrup clan is a force to be reckoned with, as the Lannoye side of the family can attest. Verna is preceded in death by her husband, Bob; her parents, and her brother, Merlin (Bud) Lannoye.
She is survived by many people who loved her dearly. Her 11 children: Bob, Townsend; Rick (Ramona), Sheridan, Wyo.; Sandra (Charles) Hull, Laurel; Ruth (Dennis) Fladstol, Conrad; Roger (Debbie), Andover, Minn.; Elaine (Bill) Ryan, Great Falls; David, Miles City; Linda (Steven) Johnson, Lisbon, N.D.; Gary (Frances) Hayden Lake, Idaho; Marilyn (Jonel) Ricker, La Grande, Ore.; Debbie Mahn, Missoula. She also leaves behind 27 grandchildren and 33 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brothers: Glenn (Donna) Lannoye, Devils Lake, N.D.; Donald Lannoye, Minot, N.D. Verna’s children wish to express their sincere appreciation for the kindness extended to her while she resided at Pondera Medical Center Extended Care. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Pondera Medical Center – Extended Care.