Sunday, February 5, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday, Grandma Nell!

Ellen "Nell" (Johnstone) Borgreen
"Nellie" was born in Liverpool, England on 5 Feb 1912, to William H. and Mary Alice (Coleman)Johnstone. She was the 2nd of 8 children. "Nellie's" father immigrated to Canada in April 1912 and landed in Halifax on April 7th, just one week before the sinking of the Titanic.

On 4 Jun 1913, Mary Alice arrived in Quebec with her two children, Steve and Nellie and her mother, Mary Coleman. The family reunited with William and moved west to British Columbia, where they would live until immigrating to the U.S. in 1916. Nellie's brothers, William and Donald were born in Canada. Mary Alice crossed into Montana at the port of Gateway on 24 Feb 1916, with her 4 children and her mother. William entered the U.S. at some point in time, but no record has been found. The family settled in Great Falls, MT. William worked as a master meat cutter for The Great Falls Meat Packing Company.

Kathleen, Gertrude, James and John were born to William and Mary Alice over the next years in Great Falls.

Nell attended St. Mary's High School and then the Columbus Hospital's School of Nursing where she graduated in 1933. These were difficult years. The nation was in the throes of the Great Depression, Grandma Coleman and William were suffering from cancer. William was unable to work and the family banded together to make ends meet. Mary Coleman died on 14 Jun 1932 and William died on 16 Oct 1933. At this same time Nell went to work for Dr. C. H. Peterson.

On 29 Jun 1935, Nell married Carl Borgreen at St. Anne's Cathedral in Great Falls MT. They made their home in Great Falls. Nell and Carl welcomed 4 children to the family; John, Judy, Jim, and Jerry.

On 22 Nov 1959, life took a drastic and tragic turn when Carl died suddenly and unexpectedly on a hunting trip. The family carried on, the kids grew and married and had children of their own. Nell returned to nursing, working at  Park Place and Cascade Country Convalescent Hospital until her retirement.

Nell was spunky and fiesty until the very end and on 22 Oct 2000, she left us to reunite with Carl.
Today would be her 100th birthday. Happy Birthday, Grandma. We love you and miss you.

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