Virginia Helen (Kiefer) Sprague


Virginia Helen Sprague died on Sunday, July 26, 2015. 

She was born in Perryville, Missouri, on Jan. 14, 1925, to August and Rosa Moore Kiefer, the youngest of 21 siblings. There she grew up on her parents’ large farm holdings and attended rural school.  

As a young woman she worked at a hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, and then during World War II she worked in a defense plant in Long Beach, California. After the war she returned to St. Louis where she was a telephone operator for Southwestern Bell.

She and Richard Papin were married in St. Louis. They later divorced.

Needing a change, she came to Montana to visit her sister. While here she met her husband to be, Harold Sprague, and they were married in 1949. They settled on their ranch where they lived and raised their three children.

Her husband, Harold, died in 1986, after which Mrs. Sprague continued to operate the ranch, living there in her log home without the benefit of electricity until 1995 when she moved into Colstrip and bought a house with all the comforts we take for granted. 

She continued to raise cattle on the ranch until she turned 80, at which time she sold the family brand and cattle to her grandson, Ernie.

Mrs. Sprague was a member of St. Margaret Mary’s Parrish in Colstrip and also was well known for the quilts she made for many area children. Mrs. Sprague also was proud of the fact that she went back to obtained her high school diploma.

She is survived by her sister, Alice Stanhope; daughter, Betty (Jerry) Mort of Billings; sons, Robert “Bob” (Kathy) Papin and Roger (Bonnie) Sprague; seven grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

Mrs. Sprague was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and 20 of her 21 siblings.

Visitation will be Friday, July 31, 2015, from 2 to 4 p.m. with a Rosary at 5 p.m. at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Colstrip. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Colstrip. A luncheon will follow immediately at the church with interment following in the Lee Cemetery in Colstrip. Pallbearers will be her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to a charity of one’s choice.