Jean Engle Dimich passed away on July 8, 2020, after a brief illness.
Jean was born on April 6, 1925, to Arthur Sevier Engle and Pauline “Lena” Schwalger Engle on their family farm located on Bitterroot Drive of what is now known as the Billings Heights. Jean, her older brother, Jack, and her younger sister, Ilah, attended grade school in the one-room school in the Heights until moving to a farm in the Joliet/Red Lodge area in her adolescent years. Jean excelled in school and was a wonderful pianist. After graduating as valedictorian of Joliet High School in 1943, Jean worked in the bookkeeping department of Ryan Fruit Co. in Billings until marrying Danny (Daniel W. Dimich, Sr.) of Red Lodge in 1946. Jean and Danny began their life together in Red Lodge, where they had two children, Daniel W. Dimich, Jr. of Billings and Diane Dimich Gorder of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Jean and Danny had entrepreneurial spirits and together started the Red Lodge Dairy, which was the first dairy in Montana to offer homogenized, pasteurized milk to its customers. It was a family affair, as both children remember helping deliver milk and package cottage cheese from the time they were preschoolers. Jean and Danny also ran an indoor roller skating rink located on the main street of Red Lodge. The family sold their businesses and moved to Billings in 1954, so Danny could help transition his Dad’s Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. franchise from its headquarters in Red Lodge to Billings. Danny continued working in the family business until his retirement in 1995 — six years before his death in 2001.
Jean was an avid reader throughout her life and believed in the power of education, particularly for women. When her children were both off at college, she fulfilled her dream of beginning her college education and graduated with a business administration degree in 1975 from Eastern Montana College (MSU Billings). Jean also believed in broadening oneself through travel and traveled extensively throughout the U. S. and Europe in her senior years.
Jean was loved and will be dearly missed. She is survived by her son, Dan Jr.; daughter, Diane, son-in-law, Mark S. Gorder, granddaughter Julianna Gorder, granddaughter Kristina Gorder MacKenzie, her husband Benjamin Roe MacKenzie and great-grandsons Alex and Owen MacKenzie. Jean is also survived by her sister, Ilah Larson; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Her family extends their deepest gratitude to: Jean’s longtime fitness trainer Kristin, with whom she shared over 20 years of workouts filled with sweat, achy muscles, joy and laughter; to the staff at Westpark Village for their loving attention and care for her last eight years; and to the staff of both the Billings Clinic and Compassus Hospice who skillfully and respectfully guided Jean and her family this past week.
In lieu of a memorial service, Jean recognized current social distancing guidelines and requested to have a private interment with her immediate family at a later time.
Memorials may be made to the Billings Public Library Foundation, TECH Lab.