Krista Jean Mougey was born October 19, 1983, joining her parents Larry and Carole Mougey and her big sister Karissa. She grew up in Colstrip, enjoying the beauty of Eastern Montana and filling her role as “Her Daddy’s only son.” She loved anything outdoors – camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, swimming, and photography. She found her passion in life – wildlife science – as a freshman in high school and never wavered. Her high school years were filled with science-based activities and achievements. She spent 3 summers at the Montana Science Institute at Canyon Ferry and participated in local, state, and national science fairs 3 years in a row. In addition, she participated in choir, band, pep band, speech and drama, photography, and many other activities. After graduation in 2002 as a valedictorian at Colstrip High School, she attended the University of Montana as a Presidential Scholar. She graduated in 2007 with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and a B.A. in Environmental Studies. She moved on to Texas Tech University where she completed her Masters in Wildlife Science and Ph.D. in Wildlife, Aquatic and Wildlands Science with Graduate Certification in Geographic Information Science and Technology. Her research allowed her to travel to the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, the British Virgin Islands, Grand Cayman, and Canada, as well as throughout the United States. She touched many lives through her years of teaching and research.
Krista was thrilled to begin her professional career in Montana. She arrived at Montana State University Billings in mid-summer of 2017. Her unique expertise, enthusiasm, extraordinary work ethic, vision for the future, and genuine care for her students impressed all who had the pleasure of working with her. Her colleagues remarked on Krista’s graciousness, competence, insight, and good-heartedness. She helped establish the Global Information Systems Center at MSUB, which has since been deemed the “Ge-Whiz Lab.” Students loved Krista and sought her advice and professional knowledge regularly. Krista brought an energy and excitement to the university that will be missed by many.
She left this earth far too soon on January 6, 2018, due to complications following outpatient surgery. Krista treasured time spent with family and friends. She loved music, dancing, animals, cooking, reading, and being outdoors. She was one of the most thoughtful, kind, and supportive people on this earth. She was dearly loved by her family, friends, students, and colleagues, and loved back with an enthusiasm that defies definition. Although her life was short, she lived every day to the fullest.
She is survived by her loving and forever heartbroken parents, Larry and Carole Mougey, and sister Karissa, brother-in-law Rob, and nephew Isaac Atkinson. Also grieving her loss are her cousins Janel, Michele, Kelly and Heather, as well as numerous extended family and her many wonderful friends throughout the world.
Among those preceding her in death were her grandparents Billie and Frank Mougey, Doris and Robert Homan, her Uncle Ron and Aunt Lynn Mougey, and several close friends.
A celebration of Krista’s life will be held Monday, January 15, 2018, at 11 AM at the Smith West Funeral Chapel, 304 34th Street West, Billings, MT 59102. Condolences can be shared online at Smithfuneralchapels.com.
To honor Krista’s passion for and dedication to higher education, contributions may be made to The Dr. Krista Mougey Memorial Scholarship in care of MSU Billings Foundation, 1500 University Drive, Billings, MT 59101.