Constance “Connie” Louise Hale was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on May 31, 1933, to parents Vincent and Lilian Smith. She was the youngest of three children. At around the age of 6, her family moved to Denver, where Connie attended Catholic schools and graduated with a degree in nursing from Loretto Heights College. She worked as a registered nurse at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs and also taught for several years at the Seton School of Nursing. Connie met her future husband, Jack, while living and working in Colorado Springs, and they were married in September 1965. They soon started a family and moved to Denver, where her parents, brother and husband Jack’s job were located. Daughter Barbara Eileen arrived on time in July 1966, while son Thomas Jack arrived one month early in September 1968 following a minor traffic accident. Connie gave up her career in nursing to raise her family.
In 1969, Jack’s job took the family to Salt Lake, but annual summer vacations to Denver, mostly by car, were the norm. Connie was also active in her children’s school PTA and taught Catholic religion classes (CCD) in her home and elsewhere. Salt Lake is also where Connie met one of her closest lifetime friends, Sharon Jameson, who lived in the neighborhood and was also raising a young family.
In 1975, Jack’s job intervened again, and the family moved to Billings. This was a significant emotional hardship for Connie, but several new close friends and neighbors helped ease the burden. In 1979, Connie and Jack were divorced, and she restarted her nursing career in order to financially support her family. Connie worked at Valley (now Bella Terra) and Parkview nursing homes in Billings and at Glendeen nursing home in Lockwood, and she retired close to the age of 70 when her arthritis made working too difficult.
Connie recently mentioned that retirement is good because you can do anything you want. Her two beloved grandchildren, Jadyn Lee and Justis Scott, conveniently arrived around the same time as her retirement and were the light of her life. She made frequent trips to Sheridan to spend time with them, attending countless school programs, birthday parties, athletic events and, of course, holiday festivities. She also enjoyed attending local Billings Mustangs baseball games and watching the Broncos and her beloved Colorado Rockies on TV (when not replaced by a Seattle Mariners game or blacked out, arrrgggghhhh!) and later on her computer and tablet (when not blacked out or malfunctioning, arrrgggghhhh!). In the springtime, she would fly down to Tucson to visit Tom and his wife Melissa, where the Rockies spring training games were held (allowing Tom to play hooky from work). Captain Earthman, a colorful and entertaining beer vendor, was always there with the team, although it is likely that Tom appreciated this more than Connie did.
Connie also loved reading, knitting and watching the birds bathing themselves in her well-maintained birdbath. She enjoyed dining out with friends, playing bridge (sitting “with the bathtub” whenever possible for good luck), and talking with people. Connie’s last year-and-a-half were spent in the capable and loving care of the staff/friends of her final home at Lasting Legacy assisted living in Billings. The geographical distance from Tom (Tucson) and Barb (Sheridan) was difficult, but Tom’s longtime high school /college friend in Billings, Chris Woolston, regularly/faithfully visited her at her new home and during multiple hospital stays, bringing her treats, raising her spirits, running errands, keeping Barb and Tom informed and sharing a piece of his life with her. Connie came to consider Chris to be her “other son.”
Connie is survived by her two children, Barb (husband Mike), two grandchildren, Jadyn and Justis, and her son Tom (wife Melissa).
Memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave.