Once in a lifetime you meet a person who you remember for the rest of your life. Neva Michelotti was just that person. Born and raised in Butte, Montana, Neva lived every 95 of her years with love for her Catholic faith, dedication to others, great meals, community commitment and a deep pride in her home city of Butte that was legendary among friends, family, and neighbors.
Born on July 3rd, 1918 to parents Peter and Theresa Rovano from Pranzalito Italy. Neva had lifelong friends such as Norma Pasini, with whom she grew up and loved dearly. As a young girl, she would spend her summers in the Bivens Gulch area, placer mining with her father, mother and uncle. She cherished the memories of entertaining a variety of visitors at the mining camp from the most common of neighbors to doctors, lawyers, and the well-to-do. Everyone was welcome at their family camp table. On weekends, after work was done, the family would float the Madison River and she would fish to her heart’s delight. Neva graduated high school and went on to graduate with honors from the Butte Business College.
After achieving great success at the college, Neva went to work at F.E. Buck Sales Wholesale Furniture Store in Butte. Her education allowed her to fill many valuable roles including bookkeeper, stenographer, secretary, and even working the sales floor.
In 1952, Neva married the love of her life, Butte native John Michelotti, who worked in the mines. In 1954, the couple gave birth to their son Peter John Michelotti, the light of her life. She encouraged Peter in every aspect of his life from delivering papers, to being an altar boy, to boy scouts, to playing music. After her husband’s death in 1973, Neva took on the role of both mother and father. Neva made it possible for Peter to become a school teacher who has taught in Billings Public Schools for 32 years.
Neva loved to entertain. Her home was full of music, family fun, and was always a staple in Butte neighborhood gatherings. Neva’s specialty in the kitchen included authentic Italian dishes from scratch, such as polenta dolce, bagna cauda and homemade bread sticks. Her love for arts and crafts filled her home with beautiful holiday decorations. Neva was active in her Catholic Church community; carrying water from a block away to clean the church at St Helena’s each week. Her commitment to volunteering with Legion of Mary in Butte for over 30 years earned her a Montana State Volunteer of the Year Award. She also attended St. Anne’s Catholic Church and was an avid volunteer.
In 1994 Neva relocated to Billings and made a host of wonderful new friends including Delores Page and Amelia Vogel, continuing her tradition of entertaining and throwing large holiday meals and gatherings for friends and family. She attended St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral in Billings, and there established another wonderful set of friends in Christ. Neva traveled extensively, going to Italy five times to visit her much-loved relatives, Johnny and Katarina Rovano and family in Pranzalito, Italy. She spoke fluent Italian and the dialect of the province of Piemonte, Italy.
Neva was preceded in death by her husband John Michelotti, her parents Peter and Theresa Rovano, and her uncle Tony Rovano.
She is survived by her son Peter Michelotti (Billings), his wife Kathleen Michelotti (Billings), her granddaughter Danielle Egnew (Billings), cousin Lio Michelotti and family (Grosseto, Italy), cousins Johnny and Katarina Rovano and family (Pranzalito, Italy), cousins Teresa Granier (Missoula) Helen Sullivan (Butte), Lynn Sullivan (Denver) cousin Barbara Neimi (Laurium, MI), cousin Jean O’Neil (Stevensville), Billings in-laws Dave and Judy Cucciardi and their children Jeremy and Nathan Cucciardi, Mike and Cheryl Cucciardi and their children Shawn Cucciardi (Port Orchard, WA), Michelle Schuster (Silverdale, WA), Tiffany Schenk (Silverdale, WA) and families, and dear lifelong friends Norma Pasini (Butte), Gene Pasini (Boulder, MT), Frank Quilici (Butte), Georgine Pericich Mather (Billings), Linda Pericich McCarthy (Missoula), Gary Pericich (Yakama, WA), The Uggetti Family (Butte and Yakama, WA), Pete and Lois Salle and family (Butte), Minnie Ralph and family (Butte), Angelo Petroni and family (Butte), the Strizic Family of Butte and others too numerous to mention.
“Mom, you’re now back with Gramma Nina, Grandpa Pete and Uncle Tony getting ready to fish that Madison once again, and Jesus said he’ll row the boat. You will be dearly missed — until we see you again in Heaven” –.
Vigil services will be 7pm Saturday at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, Billings. Visitation will begin 10am Monday followed by the Funeral Mass at 11am at St. Ann’s Catholic Church. Rite of Committal will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers you may send memorials, to St Patrick’s Co-Cathedral in Billings, St. Anne’s Parish in Butte or The Lady of The Rockies in Butte.