Cecelia Ann (Lutgen) Messer passed peacefully from this world on Dec. 5, 2020, shepherded by her Savior to her new home in heaven.
She was born to Theodore and Mary Lutgen on June 13, 1926, in Wheat Basin, Montana. She attended rural elementary school and the family later moved to Billings, where she attended and graduated from Billings Senior High School. She then attended nursing school at Carroll College in Helena, graduating in 1946. She married John A. Messer on Jan. 19, 1949, in Billings. Cecelia set aside nursing for a while to raise their family of six children, but she resumed her career as a registered nurse at St. Vincent’s Hospital for 25 years, retiring in 1988. She loved life, her husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a devoted member of St. Thomas Catholic Church and the Parish Council of Catholic Women. She was also a member and past president of the Women of the Moose and served with the Riverside Neighbors Extension Club. For over 10 years, she volunteered for the School District #2 Host Program in Billings, which assists and tutors elementary school children with their reading. She studied the Word of God at Bible Study Fellowship and enjoyed the study, fellowship, and friendships she made there.
For 63 years, Cecelia faithfully loved and worked alongside her husband, John Messer. She had a lively and ready sense of humor, was a great cook, and always enjoyed family gatherings — hosting many get-togethers over the years for family and friends. A birthday didn’t pass in the family for any child, their spouse, grandchildren or great-grandchildren over the years without her noting it with a card and gift. In her leisure time (though there wasn’t much of it in those early years), she enjoyed raising her flowers and tending to her plants, loved music and craft making. She was a very dedicated and compassionate registered nurse and a hard worker in every realm of her life. She steadfastly managed her busy life raising six children, working full-time, canning the produce from their huge gardens, and helping as a volunteer for so many organizations. She set an example to her children and grandchildren by faithfully observing the Lord’s Day, honoring her Savior, and serving her church. She was a wonderful dancer, perfectly in step with John; she is now once again dancing with him. Hers was a full and well-lived life, and she was ready when her Lord called her home after more than 94 years.
Preceding her in death were her parents, Ted and Mary (Theisen) Lutgen; sister and best friend, Agnes Dierenfield; brothers Ernest Lutgen, Leonard Lutgen and Frank Lutgen; son Gary S. Messer; grandson Kirk Thornburg; and great-granddaughter Paisley Croghan. She is survived by daughters Gloria (Doug) Iams, Sharon Thornburg, Donna (Gene) Holden, Cynthia (Don) Epperson; son Gregory Messer; and daughter-in-law Sharon Lynn Messer (widow of son Gary S. Messer); grandchildren Michael (Maria) Iams, Emily (Dax) Simek, Sarah Iams, Misty Thornburg, Hannah (Adam) Porcella, Benjamin (Olivia) Holden, Rebekah (Jeremy) Carlson, Jonathan Messer, Jason Messer, Stephanie Messer, Chelsey Messer, Joseph (Tenley) Epperson, Anna (Paul) Croghan, Luke Epperson; and 20 great-grandchildren.
Cecelia Ann was loved by so many; her smile brightened the room and she will be sorely missed.
The family wishes to thank the staff at St. Johns United for their kind and compassionate care of Mom.
Graveside services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at St. Anthony’s Cemetery, Laurel.
Memorials in her honor may be sent to St. Vincent’s Healthcare Foundation.
Condolences may be made at www.michelottisawyers.com.