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100-year-old Billings resident recalls life in small town Montana amid WWII

Posted at 5:55 PM, Jun 17, 2024

BILLINGS — On Wednesday, Ione Anderson, a Billings resident, will celebrate her 100th birthday.

“Her lifestyle was not easy. It was a rugged, tough existence," said Jim Stoltz, her son-in-law.

When Ione was born, the United States only had 48 states, Prohibition was in its fourth year, and the Hollywood sign had only been standing for a year.

“I rode horseback to school from, I guess, the first grade through the fifth grade," said Ione about her early life in Ekalaka.

She said that her parents were always good to her.

"(My dad's) favorite expression was, ‘Let the boys do it, baby. You don’t have to go out into the winter weather where it’s cold," said Ione.

Despite being cushioned by her parents, Ione was said by her second husband, David Anderson, to do "a lot of things that would have been unusual" for a girl at the time.

“I drove a stretched-out bus," said Ione, "and hauled Italian prisoners too and from work."

While living with family in South Dakota, Ione worked, transporting Italian prisoners of war during WWII.

More than working as a truck driver, bus driver, school cook, and switchboard operator, she said she is most proud of her family.