Debbie Ann Mihelich Unruh, 55, of Billings, passed away at home on Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, surrounded by her family, after a year-long battle with lung cancer. Debbie was born in Butte, on May 22, 1956, to Rudy and Margaret Mihelich, and was one of three children. Debbie graduated from Butte High in 1974, and shortly after, began her working career at the Montana Standard in Butte. In 1978, she moved to Billings, where she worked at the Billings Gazette. In May of 1988, she started work at the Billings Police Department (BPD) in the Support Services Division. Over the course of 23 years at BPD, she became a lead worker, trainer, mentor, and friend to all she met. There she also met Kevin Unruh. Kevin and Debbie were married on June 27, 1998.
Debbie was with quick with a smile, happy to give hugs, and she had a wonderful sense of humor. She enjoyed gardening, camping, boating, motorcycle trips with Kevin, and cooking for and entertaining her family and friends. Her pride and joy was her young grandson Logan.
She is preceded in death by her parents, and her brother, Bart Mihelich of Butte; and her father-in-law Dave Unruh, her gardening mentor. She is survived by her husband Kevin Unruh of Billings; daughter and son-in-law, Erin and Scott Finley of Aurora, Ill.; grandson Logan of Aurora, Ill.; mother-in-law Viola Unruh of Billings; stepsons David (Shannon) Unruh of Bozeman, and Eric (Jody) Unruh of Belgrade; brother Robert Mihelich of Billings; uncle Rudy "Curly" Matule of Columbia Falls; and numerous cousins. The family extends special thanks to RiverStone Health Hospice for their excellent care.
A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 30 at Smith's West End Chapel, 304 34th St. W., in Billings, followed by a reception at the Yellowstone Baptist College at 1515 Shiloh Road. Memorial donations can be made to the Billings Police Protective Association, Box 2104, Billings, MT 59103, or RiverStone Health Hospice in Billings. We will forever miss our beloved wife, mother, sister, grandmother, and dear friend Debbie.