Thelma Prowse


Thelma Prowse


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Thelma Prowse was born to Henry and Lettie (Wills) Staebler in Butte, Montana, on September 25, 1919. She graduated from Butte High School in 1937 and attended a business college in Spokane, Washington, before moving to Great Falls to work for General Mills for two years. She then returned to Butte and worked for the Anaconda Company for ten years until marrying Ken Prowse in 1951. Her daughter and the joy-of-her-life, Corlette, was born in 1953.

Thelma was devoted to Jesus from her earlier days. She belonged to Grace Methodist Church as well as Aldersgate Methodist Church, where she was a member of United Methodist Women and served as church secretary and Sunday school treasurer for many years. She was an active member of the Martha Rebecca Lodge for close to 50 years, and served as treasurer of the Silver Bow General Hospital Auxiliary. She also worked for Safeway, Montana Hardware, and James Jewelry.

Thelma was happiest when she was pouring herself out for others. She loved to cook for large family gatherings, which usually ended with animated games, waves of laughter, and warm conversation. She was devoted to Ken, gladly accompanying him on any adventure; she would happily sit knitting in the car while he waded trout streams in western Montana. Thelma delighted in Corlette and welcomed every opportunity to encourage and support her, which often resulted in driving carloads of giggling girls from one activity to another around Butte.

Thelma overflowed with kindness and generosity, gladly extending her heart and resources to help others. She was absolutely dependable; once she committed to something, it was as good as done. She had a special heart for the elderly, and found great joy in visiting, caring for, and driving older people around, especially her mother’s friends.

Thelma and Ken moved to Billings in 1990 to live with their daughter’s family. Ken passed away in 1992, after 41 years of devoted marriage. Thelma went on to live in a “grandma heaven” for nearly twenty years. She joyfully cared for her two grandchildren, Megan and Jeff, delighting in their energy and enthusiasm. She always had time for them, and nothing they asked was ever too much trouble. One of her greatest joys was to have one of them crawl into her bed during a thunderstorm and snuggle up close to feel safe and loved.

Thelma had an abiding love for the Lord. She faithfully met with him every morning as she read his Word, worshipped him, and prayed for those she loved. When her health declined and her activities outside the home diminished, she maintained an amazingly sweet, thankful, and contented spirit that made her a joy to live with. Her warmth, kindness, and gracious attitude drew people in, so she enjoyed regular visits from many friends, young and old alike, especially from her church family at Rocky Mountain Community Church.

As her health failed in May, Thelma’s core qualities shone more brightly than ever. She constantly sought to encourage others, to lighten their hearts with her sense of humor, and to convey her peace and joy at the thought of soon seeing Jesus face to face. She passed away peacefully on May 24, 2010, in the arms of her daughter.


Thelma was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Lettie, her husband, Ken, and her siblings, Roland, Lucille, Mercedes, and Henry Staebler. She is survived by her beloved daughter, Corlette, son-in-law, Ken Sande, grandchildren, Megan and Jeff Sande, sister-in-law, Isabel Prowse, and nieces Lucy Martin Gianino, Wilhemina Eaken, Georgie Richardson, Sue Steele, Bonnie Staebler, Charlene Kautzman, and Janet Morrison.


Memorial Services will be held at Rocky Mountain Community Church, 2832 Broadwater Avenue, at 10 am on Saturday, June 5, 2010. Thelma requested that memorials be sent to Peacemaker Ministries, PO Box 81130, Billings, MT, 59108, or the charity of your choice.

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