[gn_heading style=”1″]Dorothy Conner[/gn_heading]
Our mother started out as a miracle. When she was born in 1907 she weighed only 2 1/2 pounds. She had to be a strong person to survive and she remained that way her whole life. Mother was born in Wagner, South Dakota to George and Jessie Smith. When she was two, the family moved to Terry, Montana. The family established a post office between Terry and Brockway and named it Hazel, Montana, after the oldest daughter. The family grew to 8 children and it remained a very close and loving family throughout all their lives.
Mom grew up in Hazel and always enjoyed telling stories about her life there. When she was about twenty she worked as a waitress at the Kempton Hotel in Terry. Across the street was the Wagner Ford Company, who had a very handsome young man, Varrel Conner, as their accountant. Dorothy and Varrel married March 3, 1929. Varrel died in 1985 so they enjoyed 56 very happy years together especially when they were hunting and fishing. In 1948 Dad transferred from Miles City to Walla Walla, Washington, with the Army Corps of Engineers. Mom worked for the Bon Marche there and loved her work as a lingerie buyer.
After retirement they lived on Coeur d’ Alene Lake, Idaho, and remained there until 1984 loving every minute of the beauty and fishing in the area. When Varrel became ill in 1984 they moved to Billings to live with family. Mom loved to garden, cook, do needlework, and visit with her friends and relatives. When Mom was 92 she moved into St. John’s Lutheran Home. She always thought so much of the care givers there and they took very good care of her. Up until the very last days of her life Mom said she had no complaints, and that she got to do everything she ever dreamed of doing. Her favorite saying, “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken”.
Everyone will miss our Mom. She had such a positive attitude about everything. It made everyone feel better just to talk to her. She is survived by her daughter, Charleen Novak and grandchildren Sharon Novak and John (Kathy)Novak and great grandchildren Caitlin and Matthew Singer and Ricci Lin Novak.. Her son, Gary (Cathy) Conner of Seattle, their children, Lee (Janet), daughter Julie; Van (Jill) sons Ulysses, Harrison, and daughter Violet; Suzanne (John) Ward, sons Cassidy, Jack and daughters Madison and Sara; Ava Adkins. daughters Zoey and Jane; Grandsons Joseph; and Dylan and Patrick.
Rheta Arp Beatty, Great Falls, is the only sibling surviving Mother. The siblings who have passed before: Hazel(Charley) Clement, Viola (Sid) Pulver, Henry (Margaret Caufield) Smith, Florence (Bert) Lane, Nellie (Albert) Maves, Glen (Katy Arp) Smith, There are many nieces and nephews and their children who have all been to so good to our Mom and have kept in touch all through the years.
Cremation has taken place. There will be a Memorial Service for Mom in the spring when it will be easier for people to come to Billings and participate in the celebration of her life. Thank you for all the prayers and to the First Presbyterian Church in Billings. They always treated her as a member even though she didn’t transfer from Walla Walla. The burial of her ashes will be at the Mountain View Cemetery in Walla Walla, WA, where she will be placed beside her husband Varrel. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the First Presbyterian Church of Billings or St. John’s Lutheran Home.