In Memoriam: Lee Rostad

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Lee (born Ellalee Birkett in Roundup, Montana in 1929) was a driving force behind many of the state’s cultural institutions as well as being an accomplished author. Lee received the Governor’s Humanities Award in 2001, a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Montana in 2004, and an Honorary Doctorate from Rocky Mountain College in 1994. She served on the Humanities Montana and Montana Historical Society boards of directors for years as a governor’s appointee. She also played a leadership role in the Charles Bair Family Trust and the establishment of the Alberta Bair Museum. Her books included Honey Wine and Hunger Root, a biography of Grace Stone Coates, as well as a biography of Charles Bair, and dozens of articles on Montana history and culture.

And all the while she was a tireless rancher, cooking for haying crews, moving cows, operating machinery, irrigating, keeping a garden and raising a family. Throughout her life she exemplified Montana grit and also Montanans’ deep love of history and literature.

–Kim Anderson, Director of Programs and Grants