Elinor Jean LeBar, 92, passed away peacefully on Jan. 26, 2018 with family at her side.
Jean, the oldest child of Elmer and Melva Arneson, was born Feb. 23, 1925 in Seattle, Washington. She grew up on the Arneson ranch near Big Timber, Montana alongside her younger siblings, Betty, Bud, and Kate. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Montana State University and had a life-long devotion to Montana artists and their work. She met Jim LeBar through her parents’ friends, the Allers, when Jim was a dude wrangler at the Aller ranch on the Boulder River.
Jean and Jim raised their three children, Ann, Paul, and Gordon, in Billings and when the kids were grown, she poured her heart into the students at Billings Senior High School as the beloved administrative secretary in charge of student activities. In retirement, she remained devoted to the arts, including Jim’s painting, to working for the environment, and to her children, her grandchildren, and her nieces and nephews.
Jean centered her life around the values of inclusiveness and love toward people of all cultures, abilities, and backgrounds, which she furthered through civic work. She initiated cross-walk guarding at Rimrock Elementary school, organized the fund-raising which built Billings Studio Theater, and worked tirelessly for the Northern Plains Resource Council and Planned Parenthood. She was also instrumental in the campaigns of Mayor Willard Fraser and Montana State Representative and Senator, Pat Regan.
Jean is survived by Jim, her husband of 64 years, daughter Ann, son Paul (and wife Christie) and son Gordon (and wife Kelley). She also leaves behind six grandchildren and nine nieces and nephews, all of whom loved her deeply.
Remembrances may be made in Jean’s name to Northern Plains Resource Council, Planned Parenthood or the charity of your choice.
A gathering celebrating Jean’s life will be held in the summer.