On Dec. 26, 2019, our beloved matriarch, Audrey Rose Nelles followed the Star of Bethlehem into the gates of heaven and the welcoming arms of her Lord and Savior.
Audrey was born Audrey Rose Tuma on Sept. 10, 1924, in Cutbank. She attended a one-room schoolhouse in her elementary years and The Ursaline Academy in Great Falls for her high school education.
Audrey is preceded in death by her parents, Harry and Hazel Tuma; and two brothers, Harry Jr. Tuma and Wesley Tuma. Audrey is also preceded in death by two husbands, Gerald Thomas Jordan, to whom she was married on Dec. 29, 1942, until he passed on August 22, 1981. Her second marriage was to Ralph Nelles on July 30, 1993, until his passing on June 28, 2009.
Audrey’s loving descendants include four children, Chrystal McCormack, Luana Pahl, Jerry Jordan and Dardis Forsberg; 12 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by Ralph Nelles’ children, Marilyn Brochopp, Vonnie Fink; their four children and seven great-grandchildren.
During her lifetime, Audrey was a pioneer member of the Montana Ninety Niners, an association of women pilots. She earned her pilot’s license at Logan Air Field in the early 1950s.
Audrey was an avid supporter of the Pioneer League. She and her husband Ralph Nelles (Pioneer League President) were at every game. She continued supporting the teams at the ballpark into this last summer season with her devoted friend and companion, Ralph Cole. She was also active with Ralph Nelles and his daughters, founding the Nelles Nurses Scholarship Fund.
Memorials may be sent to St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation Nelles Nurse Fund, 1106 N. 30th, Billings, MT 59101, or to a charity of one’s choice in honor of Audrey.
The family will honor Audrey with a celebration of life in the spring.
Our beloved Mother, this is a love letter to you. You lived a remarkable 95 years of life. You traveled the world, you had great loves, you lived your life in style and grace. Your legacy is the great love you gave to “ALL OF MY PEOPLE.” All of your people love you still. Rest well in the peaceful spirit of Christmas and “fly now with the angels.”