By KATHLEEN WOODFORD
Staff at Savenac, the historic tree nursery located in Haugan, Mont., lost a valuable member of their team, Charles “Coon Dog” Schroeder in August. He died from natural causes and was an “invaluable resource and an integral part of the history of Savenac,” a statement said put out by Savenac personnel.
Coon Dog got his nickname when he was a young boy from a neighbor he was following around back at his home in Illinois. The neighbor stated, “you’re just like a little coon dog pup” and the name stuck with him until his death at age 65. He was the winter caretaker at Savenac and lived in one of the historic houses at the site.
According to those who knew him, he was a local icon at the Forest Service and Superior District Ranger, Carole Johnson emceed a memorial service held at Savenac on August 16 with family and friends. He had studied architecture while in college and brought that knowledge to the Savenac Nursery. Where he did a lot of the research for the nursery and was an iatrical part of ongoing renovation of the historic buildings.
It was founded in 1907 as a Forest Service tree nursery. It continued operating until 1969 and is currently used for cabin rentals and has a visitor center. Coon Dog was an easily recognizable character around the facility sporting a full gray beard, a disheveled cowboy hat and a short stogie.
“For all who knew Coon Dog, he will long be remembered and sore missed,” said long-time friend, Liz Gupton.