Phyllis Bellingham


Phyllis Bellingham


Phyllis Bellingham

We lost our beautiful Montana born and raised Phyllis Bellingham on April 20, 2017, in Billings. She passed quietly, without pain, at the Billings Clinic Hospital during the night. Just the way she would have planned it.

Phyllis was born in Billings on  July 24, 1922, to the police chief of Billings, Val Lechner and Evelyn Scott Lechner. She graduated from Billings High School  in 1940 and attended Eastern Montana College, becoming a teacher. She married William Hawley Bellingham in 1945 as he was transferring from the war in Europe to the Pacific theater. The end of the war was announced the day after their wedding. She taught school in East Helena, Clinton and then Missoula during Bill’s completion of law school. After Bill graduated from law school, they moved to Billings, where Phyl was a homemaker and mother to their three children. She tirelessly chased kids and their sports and school activities. She enjoyed gardening and spent countless hours in her gorgeous flowerbeds. Not much grass grew under her feet with membership in Junior League, Eastern Star Cascade Chapter (over 50 years), First Congregational Church, United Way Board and the Audubon Society (she was a lifelong birder!).  he was a voracious reader and volunteered at the library, as well as reading books onto tapes for the blind, fishing, skiing and RV traveling.

Phyllis had a zest for life. She faced adversity with stamina and superhuman resiliency. She took on aging cheerfully and was unafraid to speak directly whatever the cost. She had a laugh that you could hear and recognize anywhere and she used it often … always positive and full of fun, except when it came to bridge and that was serious. She played duplicate and contract bridge up until her last days and was diligent to not miss a trick.

She was preceded in death by her husband, William Bellingham; her son, Randy Bellingham; daughter Shari Bellingham; and only sister Patty Segard. She is survived by her daughter, Valerie Olson (Greg); granddaughters Kathleen Rayfield (Andrew) and Brynn Bellingham (Brendan Casey); and grandson David Edgerton. She has one great-grandson, Henry Rayfield.

Memorial service arrangements are pending. Memorial donations may be made to First Congregational Church or a favorite charity.

Leave a Memory or Condolence

6 thoughts on “Phyllis Bellingham”

  1. Phyllis was one of my mother’s best friends at Mission Ridge as they played bridge together, had dinner together with Madonna and Lorraine. The four ladies were inseperable and would go out to eat celebrating each other’s birthday’s. Phyllis and my mother Clarice Brekke are now burning up the bridge tables up in heaven. Phyllis was a wonderful friend to me and I will miss her very much!!!

  2. Phyl Bellingham was simply one of the finest women and role models we have ever known. Her courage and determination to “carry on” in the face of tough adversity – losing two children in separate tragic incidents – was unbelievable. She never complained and was an absolute delight to visit. Jim and I will miss her dearly.

  3. Mrs. BELLINGHAM was a beautiful women. I loved spending time with her in the garden, collecting her mail; and running across the street just for a hug. She was an angel her on earth and will make heaven brighter.

  4. As a staff member at Mission Ridge, I always appreciated Phil’s positive attitude and fun-loving nature. She was one of our best ambassadors, and we always knew we could count on her to be a greeter at our open houses. What a delightful lady! She will be missed as she was such a great friend and role model to residents and staff. Prayers to all!

  5. Phyl was a great women–intelligent, kind, honest, and full of fun. Kate and I knew her for 37 years, and never heard her say an unkind word about anyone. Everything others have posted about her here is true. Sincerest condolences to Valerie, Greg, Kathleen, Andrew, Brynn, Brendan, David, and Henry from Kate and me. Phyl will be dearly missed.

  6. Val and Brynn:
    I cannot begin to tell you how sorry I am for Phyl’s passing. I was hoping to have another girls night out with Phyl after the weather got better but I waited too long.
    As you may or may not know, your mother/grandmother and her sister Patty were very good friends with my mother. That is how I was initially introduced to them both, mostly when I was in high school. I then had the great fortune of having Bill an Phyl as neighbors when we lived behind them on Fairway Drive. I got to know Phyl when I was an adult which only increased my admiration for her. I thought she was great in my teens…it was cemented in my 30’s.
    The few times that Phyl and I got to together after she moved to Mission Ridge will be cherished forever. I had such admiration for her on so many levels…resiliancy, a zest for life, a no holds bar on opinions, and the best laugh ever.
    For the heartbreak that Phyl endured during her life, she was a complete enigma to me. How does one woman go through what she did and still look forward to the next day? An incredible woman in all regards. I miss her…and my love and thoughts are with you both.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *