Miriam Legg Emerson passed away on Dec. 30, 2018, at Kalispell Regional Health Center.
Miriam was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on Oct. 23, 1945, to Selma Steele (Benoy) Legg and Owen Douglas Legg Sr., where her father was stationed at Boeing Field Air Force Base as an Army Air Corps photographer.
At the end of World War II the family moved to Lynchburg, Virginia, and then to the Greensboro, North Carolina, Overseas Replacement Depot (ORD), where the family lived until after the war. In 1949 Miriam’s family moved to Sedgefield, North Carolina, where she and her older brother Doug and younger sister Nina grew up. Some of her favorite memories included spending long days riding bikes through the hills and woods around Sedgefield with her sister and brother and going to youth group at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Always active and a lover of the outdoors, Miriam spent her youth lifeguarding, teaching swimming and playing basketball. The family also spent many happy summers vacationing in Florida.
Miriam graduated from Grimsley High School in 1964 and continued on to college at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Orlando, Florida, where she began pursuing her lifelong love of art and graphic design.
In 1965 she married childhood friend from ORD, George Stephen Emerson, of Greensboro. They had one daughter. After their divorce Miriam became a self-made woman, working hard to earn a living as a single mom in the 1970s. She developed a busy, thriving career in advertising and marketing and worked for companies, such as Lockheed Martin in Atlanta and the North Carolina Credit Union League in managerial positions at a time when women were not often considered for management positions. She was highly valued for her organizational skills, productivity and artistic talents.
In 1999 her only daughter, Ashley, married Doug Mason and settled in Kalispell. One year later Miriam moved from Greensboro to Kalispell to start a new life in Montana. She fell in love with Kalispell — both the scenery and the people.
Before retirement she worked as a graphic artist for the Daily Inter Lake, Hungry Horse News and American Printing. After retirement she became a passionate volunteer for the Conrad Mansion. The mansion is where she found her favorite friends and spend hundreds of hours designing their website, with best friend Mary Miers, maintaining the Conrad Mansion Facebook page, designing posters for the mansion’s many events, planting flowers, and working alongside the mansion’s maintenance guru, Tish Haas, to complete many important projects.
Miriam’s artistic talent is showcased especially in the mansion’s beautiful Nativity scene, which she tore apart piece by piece, redesigned and repainted. It is truly a beautiful piece of art and a testament to her artistic talent and love for the mansion. She also wrote and illustrated the children’s book “Conrad Cat” about the mansion’s resident cat Sweetie-Pie.
For years Miriam walked 3 miles a day around Kalispell’s East Side — always ready with a smile, a story or to just chat. She knew every person and every dog and loved her neighborhood and her neighbors with a passion. She could also be found visiting with the employees at Super 1 Grocery Store, whom she considered like a second family.
Her favorite thing, though, was living next door to her daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters, where she spent many a happy hour helping with yardwork and construction projects, playing games, reading books, watching her granddaughters grow, pet-sitting, gardening and just being present and involved in their lives. Always happy when she was helping with something and making everyone feel loved!
Miriam was preceded in death by her parents and grandparents.
She is survived by her older brother Owen Douglas Legg of Pinehurst, North Carolina, younger sister Nina Bennett of Greensboro, North Carolina, and daughter Ashley Emerson Mason, son-in-law Douglas Mason, granddaughters Annika and Brynn Mason, all of Kalispell.
A celebration of life will be held in Kalispell in the spring.
Cards and condolences can be sent to the family at 501 Third Ave. E. in Kalispell, MT 59901.
In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of Miriam can be made to the Conrad Mansion (330 Woodland Avenue, Kalispell, MT 59901) for the upkeep of the Conrad Nativity scene and Gazebo.