Nearly 80 years ago, Margaret Black of Kalispell, Mont., took a secretarial job working for the Great Northern Railroad's East Glacier Park Hotel in Montana.
"She fell in love with the park and fell in love with a park ranger," said her daughter Patricia Huberty of Mendota Heights.
In 1932, Black and her husband, Hugh, began building the St. Mary Lodge and Resort at the east entrance of Glacier National Park.
Black, who for most of her adult life lived part of the year in St. Paul, died in Kalispell on Jan. 12.
She was 105.
In 1929, Margaret James began work at the railroad's hotel, having worked at an insurance firm and a bank in the Twin Cities. Soon, she met Hugh Black, a seasonal ranger.
In 1932, they married and bought a gas station on the east side of the park. He built a cafe and cabins.
Now the resort has two lodges, cottages, houses, restaurants, an outfitter and several stores.
Black, who served as accountant and did most of the hiring, drew on her St. Paul roots and Great Northern Railroad contacts to hire summer help.
Many college students from Minnesota worked there, said Huberty, who said all of Black's children also worked there while growing up.
"She was a highly unusual woman, working there into her 97th year," said her daughter. "She just thrived on it."
Her daughter said she was witty and a skilled peacemaker, with a sunny and positive disposition.
Huberty recalled: "If people were arguing, she would turn her gaze to the spectacular scenery and say, 'Ain't the lake calm?'"
In 1948, the family bought a home on Summit Avenue in St. Paul, and her children attended St. Paul-area schools.
Even in recent years, she spent at least part of every summer at the lodge, said daughter Sally Welder, of Kalispell, adding that her mother was full of energy and warmth.
"I think her enthusiasm for the park was infectious," said Welder. "She was charismatic, and before you knew it you were moving with her to the excitement of a great summer at St. Mary."
Fred Johnson of Minnetonka worked at the resort in the summers of 1954 and 1955.
"It was two great summers," said Johnson. "She was a very nice, reasonable person to work for."
After his retirement, Johnson and his wife worked a bit at the lodge, and his daughter did so in the early 1980s.
In retirement, Black enjoyed the arts and the park. At 95, she began using a computer.
Her husband died in 1983. Her son James (Lucky) died in 1999.
In addition to Huberty and Welder, she is survived by another daughter, Terry Cosgrove of Missoula, Mont.; sons Hugh of Helena, Mont., and Roscoe of Sun Valley, Idaho; a sister, Jean Arthur of Sunnyvale, Calif.; 19 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren.
A celebration of her life will be held at 1 p.m. on Feb. 1 at St. Luke's Church -- the St. Thomas More Catholic Community, 1079 Summit Av., St Paul.
A mass and burial will be in Montana.