1288 is Emma radio copy
I share the finest of friendships with a woman more than 30 years my elder.
And her simple weekly words of wisdom continue to center my life.
Missoula legend – gee Emma Lomasson would hate to hear me say that – turns a mere 105 Saturday.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have twice or so weekly conversations and monthly visits with the former university of Montana registrar and all-everything Emma the past few years.
A self quoted shy person she reached out to me several years ago because she had listened on the radio for many years and decided she had to meet me in person.
Lunch at the Country Club with a couple of other friends and a deep and extremely meaningful friendship was born and has not nothing but flourish.
While I maintain the joy is all mine Emma constantly talks about how broad our relationship is and how each of us night owls know we can call any time and find the other readily available and so thankful for the conversation that many times stretches to an hour or more.
Most recognize Emma because after all she has a building named after her which she finds somewhat embarrassing but her relationships span several generations with now grandchildren of former students and employees reach out to spend time with her.
Admittedly she is slipping a bit – who wouldn’t – and her memory fades.
Her eye sight is fading and not being able to read a daily newspaper bothers her. 100 is ok, she said recently, but why am I still here. I assure her there’s still work to do with us young people.
But from her room at the end of the hall on the third floor of the Village she walks without assistance and has so many visitors her social calendar reads like a Missoula who’s-who.
A Griz thru and thru she’s been visited by most coaches and can deeply recite Grizzly linage.
Former and current UM first families often visit or call.
While she’s seen strife at UM before she says it always subsides and she remains positive and supportive.
Plenty has been written about her time at UM which began in 1929 when she enrolled as a student from Sand Coulee even though her family struggled mightily to pay the $30 tuition.
She was especially a strong advocate for displaced vets. While she makes little of it she reportedly took care of many struggling students tuition and especially played an important role with returning Vietnam veterans.
Surrounding by young people, said Emma, has kept her eternally young.
And still young she is and I am so honored to call her my friend. Happy 105th Emma. You are the joy of my life.