HELENA — Margale Ree Westbrook Prestipino, 60, of Helena, passed away peacefully on Aug. 1, 2014, with her loving husband, sisters and close friend by her side, due to complications associated with her courageous 25 year battle with multiple sclerosis.
Margale was born to Max and Margaret (McCoy) Westbrook on May 11, 1954, in Livingston, Mont. Margale was the youngest of three children. She grew up and was raised at the Westbrook Ranch in Clyde Park, Mont. Margale loved living the life on the family ranch. Some of her fondest memories she would tell were of her riding her horse Patsy, driving the grain truck at the age of 14, driving the tractor, being able to lift 60 pound hay bales in each hand and feeding the cattle. Some of Margale’s favorite past-times were knitting and embroidery and helping her mom with canning sauerkraut and pickles. She also was a cheerleader at Clyde Park High School and a member of the Drill Team at Kinman Business College.
After graduating from Clyde Park High School in 1972, Margale went on to attend Kinman Business College in Spokane, Wash. After graduating from there, she moved back to Montana where she got a job with DPHHS (formerly SRS) of Montana for a few years. After that, she then worked for the Vo-Tech Board. It is there, where she met the love of her life, LTC Sam Prestipino, USA (Ret.). They were married on Sept. 29, 1979, in Clyde Park, Mont. Soon after they married, Sam was reassigned to Heidelberg, Germany, where they celebrated a four year honeymoon traveling across Europe. After returning to Helena from Sam’s retirement in 1984, Margale then worked for the Montana Association of Counties. She retired from there in 1999.
Even after retirement, Margale still kept herself busy by volunteering as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Flesher Acres Home Owners Association and the Secretary/Treasurer of the Montana Independent Living Program. Margale also took great pride in being a Wheelchair Advocate for the U.S. and Montana Departments of Transportation. She would travel to certain locations and cities and be a demonstrator to see where certain wheelchair obstacles occurred. She was also a member of the Parish Council of St. Mary Catholic Community. Margale also had a love for music and was an organist at St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Lincoln, Mont.
Her and Sam spent most of their retired years, traveling to the East Coast to visit family and were at Sam’s Cedar Chalet cabin in Flesher Acres almost every weekend. Margale loved spending time in the mountains and outdoors soaking in its beauty throughout every season. She cherished every moment spent with family and friends. You can still hear her laughter, see the sparkle in her eyes and have the biggest smile on her face from listening to and telling stories. Margale was a remarkable and inspirational woman and her love touched everyone she ever met.
Margale is preceded in death by her parents, Max and Margaret Westbrook; and her nephew, Kendall Jones. She is survived by her husband of almost 35 years, LTC. Sam Prestipino, USA (Ret.); and her stepsons, Sam (Kimberly) Prestipino, III, of Raleigh, N. C., and David (Lori) Prestipino of East Northport, N. Y.; and stepdaughter Cris (Marc) Bisson of Helena, Mont.; and very close friends, Dena and Kira Brown of Helena, Mont. She is also survived by her sister Carol (Dennis) Jones of Polson, Mont.; nephew Kevin(Cassie) Jones of Missoula, Mont.; and niece, Kimberly(Chris) Rate of Valrico, Fla.; and her sister Barbara (Tom) Croston of Red Lodge, Mont.; nephew Brian Croston of Yurington, Nev.; and niece Tracy(Tom) Schwab of Laurel, Mont.; and her aunt Doris Habel of Dutton, Mont.
She is also survived by nine grandchildren: Sam Prestipino IV, Annie Wells, Gabriella Prestipino, Angelo Prestipino, Giovanni Prestipino, Ryan Raybuck, Stephanie Raybuck, Sarah Laughard and Anthony Laughard; and 10 great-grandchildren: Sam Prestipino V, Lucas Prestipino, Katelyn Prestipino, Roger Wells, Ashley Clement, Dylan Clement, Miley Lenhart, Isiah Laughard, Caleb Laughard and Roman Laughard; and numerous great-nieces and nephews and cousins and countless friends.
A viewing of Margale will take place at Anderson Stevenson Wilke on Tuesday, Aug. 5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday, Aug. 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. An additional viewing will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at St. Mary Catholic Community.
A Vigil celebrating Margale’s life will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 6, at 6 p.m. and the funeral will be held Thursday, Aug. 7, at 12:10 p.m. at St. Mary Catholic Community. Reception to follow at the Social Center at St. Mary Catholic Community. Interment at Resurrection Cemetery will follow after the reception. Donations can be made in the name of Margale Prestipino to the St. Mary Catholic Community, 1700 Missoula Avenue, Helena, Montana 59601.