“When we see the face of a child, we think of the future. We think of their dreams and of what they might become, and what they might accomplish.” – Desmond Tutu
Please take a moment to learn more about our Legacy Society members, and about leaving a legacy for Missoula’s students
One wintry afternoon at an elementary school serving low-income children in Bangor, Maine, longtime teacher Patricia Rowland asked every third-grade pupil to draw a pair of his or her “dream” mittens. The children bent their heads and focused on designing their creations, some with squiggles and snowflakes, some with super heroes, others in rainbow colors. When the children finished, they turned in their drawings, and Mrs. Rowland promptly took the papers home and over the next few weeks, knitted each child a pair of mittens that matched the design he or she had imagined. That’s the kind of dedicated, caring teacher Mrs. Rowland was throughout her 40+ years in the classroom!
When she died in 2012 at the age of 80, Mrs. Rowland’s niece, who lives in Missoula, wanted to do something to honor her aunt’s love for children and education. She chose to make a donation to the Missoula Education Foundation to be used by other innovative teachers as part of the Classroom Grant program.
Irene Mosier was born on January 31, 1920, in Bristol, RI, at home with her grandmother as midwife. She was the second child of Louis and Freda Gallo.
When Irene was 5 years old her grandmother became ill. They put a hospital bed in the front room of Irene’s home. As her grandmother needed quiet and a lot of care, Irene was offered free room and tuition at a boarding school run by Ms. Evelyn Brach. There she learned cursive writing and history came alive when Irene could dress in historic clothing and act out scenes. This is when she decided to become a teacher. As she neared graduation from high school, Miss Evy took Irene to see a lady from her church who always chose one boy and one girl each year from the senior class and paid their tuition for one year at Brown’s College. Irene thought about the offer but she had decided she wanted to attend Rhode Island College of Education which would be financially more feasible. Miss Evy took Irene once again to meet with the Brown’s College and she was given a full scholarship for all four years of college. She graduated in 1941.
She applied for a job in the Bristol, RI school system teaching fifth grade. During this time the country was at war and help was needed at one of the the wire communications factories in Bristol. After teaching all day, she worked in the factory from 7 PM -11PM as a spark tester (the wire was run through machinery and if it sparked, repair was needed). At that time, being a spark tester actually paid more than being a third grade teacher.
Irene met Edward Mosier at a USO dance. He was stationed at Newport, RI, where he was recovering from being a prisoner of war. Ed asked Irene to marry him, but before she would say yes to his wedding proposal, she had to see his beloved Montana. Ed returned home to Deer Lodge, and Irene agreed to take the train west. She only bought a one-way ticket.
Soon the local paper reported the need for a teacher. Irene applied and on Labor Day weekend just after she had returned from gathering chokecherries, the Superintendent appeared and asked if she could substitute. The next day she began her teaching career in Montana. A regular position soon opened. She was asked to join the staff and was one of two “foreigners” to teach in Deer Lodge. One of her duties was to put out the flag on the pulley line each morning and to be sure it wasn’t out in inclement weather. Getting it out was easy. Remembering to take it in when it stormed and then put it out again when the sun came out came a little harder.
In 1960 Ed and Irene moved to Missoula and the last 19 years were spent teaching at Jefferson School.
When Irene died in early 2014 at the age of 93, she had already made provisions to support today’s teachers and students, even though she had retired from classroom teaching more than 25 years before her death. During her teaching career, Irene had taught the “little ones,” as she fondly called them, in schools in both Bristol and Warren, Rhode Island, as well as in Deer Lodge and Malta, Montana, and at Jefferson School in Missoula.
By including the Missoula Education Foundation in her will, Irene insured that teachers and students would have sufficient funds to do the creative and challenging projects not always covered in the general school budget.
Making a donation to the Missoula Education Foundation is a terrific way to honor an educator you admire or insure that the wonderful teaching or learning experience you had in your lifetime continues. The Foundation offers a tax-qualified Endowment for Missoula’s Future in partnership with the Montana Community Foundation. Please get in touch with us today to set up an appointment to discuss your plans and becoming a member of our Legacy Society.
What if I don’t have an estate plan?
We are happy to connect you with knowledgeable professionals who can discuss your options with you. Please reach Executive Director Elizabeth Ettenger at: 406-880-3319.
I’ve already named the Missoula Education Foundation in my will or estate plan.
Please let us know so that we may properly thank you, and so that we may include you in our Legacy Society. The Legacy Society meets once a year to discuss updates, initiatives, and the future of the Foundation. We invite you to become a member by leaving the Foundation in your will or estate plan.