Myrna Ellen Metz (Loken) passed away on March 29, 2018, of natural causes in Seattle (where she had moved from Billings in 2015). She was born in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, on Nov. 22, 1928, to Mary Lee Richardson and Lorenz Anderson. Myrna was the oldest of five siblings, including Wilbur Anderson, Wayne Anderson, Lorene Rowland and Lee Arbuckle.
Myrna spent her early years on a small ranch and attending school in Colony, Wyoming. Her father Lorenz passed away when she was 9 years old. In 1942, her mother married Frank Arbuckle, a successful rancher in Carter County, Montana. He quickly embraced Mary Lee’s four children when they moved to his ranch, providing his new family with much-needed stability, support and love. Mary Lee and Frank later had a son, Lee, who ultimately took over the Arbuckle ranch.
After graduating from Belle Fourche High School, Myrna attended two years at Montana State University in Bozeman, majoring in chemistry. She married Carsten “Dutch” Loken from the neighboring community of Capitol in 1948. While working on area ranches in Carter County, Anita (b.1951) and Mike (b.1952) were born in Ekalaka. At the encouragement of Dutch’s uncle, Ole Teigen, they moved to Billings in 1952 and Dutch began his career as a carpenter. Jay (b.1954) and Duane (b.1958) were born in Billings.
To supplement the income of a quickly growing family, Myrna began her professional career working in the laboratory at the sugar beet factory in Billings. She went back to college at Eastern Montana College in the mid-1960’s while juggling a houseful of active children. She earned enough credits to start working as a medical technologist in the laboratory at St Vincent’s Hospital, where she worked until retiring in 1991.
Myrna traveled extensively for a person of her generation. She took a six-week trip to South America in 1971 with Dutch to attend the wedding of her brother Lee Arbuckle to Maggie Carasco and to tour Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. She traveled with Dutch, his brother Edwin and wife Betty to visit Dutch’s numerous relatives in Norway in 1974. Myrna later traveled to Egypt, Jerusalem, Jordan, Korea and Germany with Friendship Force in the late ’70s and early ’80s. She visited Australia, Belgium, Central America and Portugal with her second husband Will Metz. Myrna traveled again to Honduras and Bolivia with Lee and Maggie in the 1990’s. She also traveled extensively within the U.S. and Canada, including many trips to the Pacific Northwest to visit her sons and grandchildren. The allure of travel for Myrna was developing the comfort to put herself in new situations, and in her own words, “delight in both the similarities and differences in the reactions and lives of the people I observe.”
Myrna was a longtime member of American Lutheran Church in Billings, singing in the choir for several decades, and was active in the quilting group and Stephen Ministries. As a homemaker, she excelled at cooking, gardening/canning, crafts, and sewing. She described her interests as “health, government, community cohesiveness, citizen involvement in public affairs, international affairs and the lot of the poor throughout the world.” She served eight years on the Montana Board of the League of Women voters, and created a newsletter for the local chapter.
Myrna was a loving and engaged wife, mother, mother-in-law and grandmother. She attended many ball games, band, orchestra and choral concerts, and other activities of her children and grandchildren. She overcame no small amount of adversity in her life (death of her father at a young age, and the loss of husband Dutch and daughter Anita, both in 1975) thanks to her faith, resilience and strong personality. She inspired all of her loved ones with her example of the power of effort, aspiration and education, always encouraging us to reach far and work hard.
Myrna is pre-deceased by her parents; both husbands Dutch and Will; daughter Anita; and siblings Wilbur, Wayne and Lee. She is survived by her sons and their respective wives and children: Mike and Fabian, Paige Safadago and husband Brooks (Seattle); Jay and Rhonda, Carsten, Garth (Seattle); Duane and Trish, Charlie, Andrew and David (Billings). Myrna is also survived by her sister Lorene (San Francisco), numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as her dear friend and sister-in-law Maggie Arbuckle (Billings).
Graveside services will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at Mountview Cemetery in Billings, followed by a memorial service at 2 p.m. at America Lutheran Church, 5 Lewis Ave.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to ELCA World Hunger c/o ELCA Gift Processing Center, PO Box 1809, Merrifield, VA., 22116 or League of Women Voters of Billings, PO Box 21631, Billings, MT 59104.