Bernice, age 87, passed away February 9, 2021 of natural causes at Avantara Nursing Home. Bernice was born on May 8, 1933 in Epping, N.D. daughter of Arthur M. and Valborg A. (Strand) Mortenson. Bernice was second of four daughters. She was educated in the Williston school system through the 8th grade and later completed her GED.
Bernice’s parents owned a section of land twenty miles southeast of Williston, the family ranch/farm was located partly on a large island in the Missouri river. Here she worked hard alongside her three sisters. They raised their own food on the farm and even though they were children during the “Great Depression” they always had enough to eat. The farm was a beautiful place and she often recalled how she and her sisters would finish the work (gardening, milking, moving livestock to fresh pasture) and go swimming in the summer and ice skating in the winter. Each of the girls had their own horse and when they weren’t helping their Dad they’d take the horses and go up in the hills which were off the island. It was quite a distance, but they really enjoyed it. They lived during the depression but never really felt it.. She often spoke of the “Good Ole Days”.
Years later the Garrison Dam was built flooding the island, forcing her parents to relocate just south of Charlo, Montana. Both her parents and one sister are buried in the Ronan Cemetery.
From early on Bernice was a hard worker. When she was younger, she worked for many years in the food service industry. She had health issues resulting in her not being able to work for a number of years. Later she went back to work as an aide in the lab at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula. She loved working there but over time it became too much and past health issues returned.
Bernice had 4 children from two marriages, and after they were all grown, she met Warner Leon Trowbridge in the Single Adult Program at her church. “They often joked that he chased and chased her until she caught him.” They were married in the Idaho Falls Temple and made their home in Missoula until 1998, when they moved to Billings. They had family here, Leon was between jobs and the Billings Temple was getting ready to open so they decided it was a good time to move. This is when she started going by her middle name, Anne.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she was a valiant daughter of our Heavenly Father. She joined the church in August of 1964. She loved being a member especially of the women’s Relief Society. She had a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and served in many callings: in primary as a teacher, in relief society as president, secretary, teacher and visiting teacher, in young women as a secretary, in the single adult program as a ward representative and she worked in the ward library, genealogy library and organized the ward bulletin for many years.
Bernice loved to sing and play the guitar with her family. Her family was very talented. Her father played the Mandolin, Guitar, and the Harmonica. Her Mother played the piano and organ. Her sisters also played guitar. Over the years she learned to play the piano and organ by ear. You’d often hear her singing as she did her daily chores.
Bernice loved doing genealogy, getting to know her family. She was always so excited to get a card or letter from this great uncle or that great aunt or anyone carrying family news. She continued to keep in touch with her close and distant family for as long as she could. There are many happy reunions taking place in heaven right now.
She was born with a strong will and this helped her through many of life’s struggles and trials. We all have trials and one of Bernice’s was health issues throughout her life and then a few years ago dementia slowly took her from us until she no longer recognized who we were.
As a family, we would like to thank all those at Avantara Nursing Home for the kind, compassionate care they gave our dear beloved Bernice. Especially, the memory care unit which did a wonderful job caring for her as she slipped away from us.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Arthur (1977) & Valborg (1988) Mortenson and her three sisters, Arlene May Bruns (2010), Lois Virginia Courchene (1995) and Lorraine Carol Falcon (1993), two grandchildren, Stephen Jacob Verbeck (2010), Brooke Anne Bentley (2002) and one great granddaughter, Claire Marie Bentley (2017).
Bernice is survived by her husband, Warner Leon Trowbridge, and her children Linda (Garry) Verbeck of Leslie, Idaho, Dennis Neigel of Stanwood, Washington, Mark (Nein) Christian of Stanwood, Washington, and Liane (Bill) Bentley of Billings. She has 17 grandchildren and 37 great grandchildren.
Through the Sacrifice and the Atonement of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Bernice is now of sound mind and has been reunited with her dear family and of course with Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. Even though she had struggled much of her life with health issues, she loved her Savior, she loved to serve, and she loved her family. She was a loving wife, sister, daughter, mother, grandmother and aunt. Her sweet special spirit will be missed.
We love you.
Funeral services will be February 18th, 1:00 pm at the Billings LDS Stake Center at 2929 Belvedere Followed by a gravesite dedication at Yellowstone Valley Memorial Park. Viewing will be at the Stake Center from 12:15 to 12:45 pm.