It is with heavy hearts that our dear Mom Elberta “Bertie” Kozeliski of Billings passed away unexpectedly on the evening of March 25, 2021, at the age of 89, surrounded by her loving family.
Our Mom was born April 17, 1931, in Great Falls, Montana, the only child of Roy and Ruth Spogen. Growing up, she attended grade school in Lewistown, Montana, and eventually moved to Harlowton, where she graduated from high school in 1949. It was during that time she met Ed Kozeliski. It was the typical All-American love story: the pretty cheerleader with sparkling green eyes meets the handsome athlete from Roundup, Montana. The two survived a long-distance relationship while Mom attended Billings Business College and Dad was attending Gonzaga University. After they were married, Dad joined the Navy, then was stationed in San Diego, California. This is where our Mom started her path working in clerical, which led to her longstanding career of 44 years at Billings West High School.
Together, the two raised three daughters who were their pride and joy. Family was the center of her world. Mom was spunky, highly energetic and always on the go. She was a people person, an avid sports enthusiast and enjoyed socializing with family and friends. Music and theater were also an integral part of who she was. Mom and Dad spent 38 years together before his untimely death in 1989.
Bertie, “Mrs. K,” continued working at Billings West High School until she retired at the age of 83 in 2015, said to be the longest-tenured employee. She was the ultimate West High Golden Bear!!
Our mother never slowed down. She always loved being busy, which led to her part-time position working at Aileen’s Clothing Store, which fit her love of fashion and sense of style.
Mom is survived by her daughters, Debbie Pavelis, Julie (Randy) Kangas, Karen (Terry) Thelen, all of Billings; grandsons, Jason (Kristin) Hein,Phoenix, AZ, Michael (Jacque) Kelly,Brighton, CO, Tanner and Blake Thelen, Billings, MT; great-grandchildren, Maclain and Ella. Bertie was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, her son-in-law, and in-laws.
We love you Mom, always and forever.
Family will greet friends at a visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. A private family service will be held with interment at Sunset Memorial Gardens on Thursday, April 1.