William A. Mavity


William A. Mavity


The only child of a Swedish mother and Canadian father, William A. “Bill” Mavity passed away peacefully in the morning on March 19, 2019.

He was born to Alexander Finlayson and Kathryn (Swanson) Mavity on Jan. 19, 1925, in Great Falls. He lived most of his life in Montana. While he was a young boy, they moved to Seattle and returned back, this time to Billings.

Instead of finishing high school, he chose to go into the Army and serve in WWII, right after the Pearl Harbor attack. He was a cannoneer from ’43 to ’46, and was honorably discharged and returned to Billings.

He worked for Archie Cochrane Motors for 24 years. During this time, he met and married Jeanette Sophia DeWit, who had just moved to the States from Holland. They had one son, Alex, and a daughter, Yvette. Bill continued selling cars with his own lot, Mavity Motors, Ryan Oldsmobile and finally Empire Motors, which was his last place of employment. He retired in the mid-’80s.

Bill was proud to be a 32nd degree Mason. He was a member of Ashlar Lodge #29, Scottish Rite Bodies, Al Bedoo Shrine, The American Legion, the NRA, The Yellowstone Rifle Club, ASPCA and IFAW. Bill led a very full and eventful life. Some would say he had nine of them, from stock car racing to flying airplanes.

When he was younger, Bill was a stock car racer and was later named “Ace” Mavity, as he had a total of 13 rollovers. Later on, both he and Jeanette were involved with the Sports Car Club of America and many car rallies and competitions that they each won quite a few trophies for.

One of Bill’s roles was that of caregiver to Jeanette. The day she suffered a massive stroke, he had to step in and do everything for her, things that anyone else would take for granted. Like applying toothpaste to her toothbrush, among other things. In all those years, he was a very faithful husband who lived up to his wedding vows. Life as he knew it would be forever changed. No more traveling the world, which I think secretly he didn’t mind, but the fact that Jeanette was no longer the woman he married, because of the many changes that major strokes cause in people.

His other loves were British cars and dogs, especially Boston Terriers. He had six Bostons throughout his life.

Irish coffees were always expected around St. Patty’s day at the Mavity house. He loved making them and teaching others how they should be made — and do not deviate from his recipe!

Whenever asked his age, my dad would say his age, but would add: “And they were hard miles!”

Bill was preceded in death by his parents; son Alex; wife Jeanette; and all his faithful companions, up to Pete the Sixth and two very cute Kerry Blue Terriers (both Seans), and the sweetest of them all, Kim, the wonderful English Setter.

Surviving him are daughter Yvette (Dick) McClintock of Billings; granddaughter Alexis (Pat) and great-granddaughter Noelle Kenny, St. Paul, Minnesota; in-laws Ben and Hilde deWit of Rochester, Minnesota; Cherise Shultz (Brian), also of Rochester; the wonderful Swanson cousins; and a very close friend of the family’s and like a daughter to Bill, Ms. J.M. Coster of Holland.

My dad was a very caring and charitable person. He believed in helping out those who were less fortunate in life. I remember one time he gave a month’s rent to a virtual stranger just so they wouldn’t have to live in their car. He led by example.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may go to the Yellowstone County Humane Society or any no-kill shelter, and the Shriners Hospital Transportation Fund, PO Box 20673, Billings, MT 59104.

Services will be at 1 p.m. Friday, March 22, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave., with interment being in Mountview Cemetery.

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3 thoughts on “William A. Mavity”

  1. My sympathies for your loss. I was friends with Alex, but knew Bill from the car business. He was a caring and honest man and that was reflected in Alex. Bill lived a full, long, and rewarding life. For that, we can all appreciate him.

  2. Maurie Petterson

    In December, 1967 I was looking for my first car. The inventory available to a college student with a small budget was limited. My dad said Bill Mavity, a friend of his from the Shrine, had one worth a look. We went to Archie Cochrane’s, not the show room, but in the repair shop. There was a white 1965 Mustang fastback, high performance. Bill said, “it doesn’t have a lot of miles, but a bunch of them are quarter of a mile at a time.” It still had the “dumps” on the exhaust system. It is in the garage as I write this as well as 51 years of memories. One of which is of Bill Mavity.

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