Rose is managing broker at Bigfork Brokers, with more than 25 years of real estate experience in Bigfork, the Flathead Valley and Northwest Montana. Don was first licensed in 1972 and returned to real estate in 2000 after a newspaper career in Montana. Rose and Don have been lifetime partners for 47 years.
Rose was raised near San Francisco, studied microbiology at University of California Davis and worked in biochemistry research in Switzerland, where she and Don met and were married. Don was born in Chicago, grew up near Philadelphia and studied at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. He began news work at the Hartford Courant and met Rose while stationed in Germany as an Army supply officer. After an extended honeymoon in Europe and North Africa, we settled in the mountains of Montana in 1970.
Rose served as a medical technologist for area hospitals and did water chemistry for the University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station before starting her real estate career. Don was a regional daily newspaper reporter and weekly newspaper publisher until 1999. We also operate a small organic-style cherry orchard and grape vineyard nine miles south of Bigfork overlooking Flathead Lake, and we are experienced with the Flathead orchard business.
Bigfork is an unincorporated village that prides itself on volunteerism. Rose is past president of the Flathead Lakers, past president of the Flathead Land Trust and a founding member of the Flathead Valley’s Christmas in April program. She also represented the Lakers on the Flathead Coalition, an organization that worked successfully to protect Glacier National Park and the upper Columbia watershed from trans-boundary mining impacts in Canada. Don is a past board member and president of Citizens for a Better Flathead. We also participate in the Bigfork Chamber of Commerce, Bigfork Festival of the Arts, Bigfork Community Trust, the Northwest Montana Fair, Bigfork Christmas Elves volunteers and the Realtors’ annual Christmas bell-ringing for the Salvation Army, among other activities.
We love travel and the outdoors and celebrated the millennium with a six-month trek around Australia and New Zealand. Since then we have had the good fortune to visit Hokkaido, the north island of Japan; the Upper Amazon and Galapagos Islands; and Southeast Asia. We have also camped and hiked hundreds of miles in Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and in Montana’s splendid wilderness areas. Don co-authored a book on Montana’s wilderness areas.
We keep active with another passion, weekly International Folk Dancing on Saturday nights in Kalispell, and we are rock hounds and amateur students of Montana’s fascinating geology. Don is current president of the Northwest Montana Rock Chucks, sponsor of the annual Kalispell Rock, Gem, Mineral and Gold show in mid-March at the Northwest Montana Fairgrounds. We have three grown children and one grandson, who also love travel.
(Schwennesen: it’s Danish-German. Rhymes with venison…or Tennyson!)