Betty A. Johnstone passed away the morning of April 27, 2013, surrounded by her three children after a long courageous fight with COPD.
Betty was born on Nov. 21, 1937, in Crow Wing County just outside of Brainerd, Minn., to Clarence and Florence Malloy, the fourth of five children. At the age of 6, she moved with her family to Klein, Mont. On Dec. 31, 1954, Betty married Jack Stigen in Roundup and moved to the family ranch in the Snowy Mountains, north of Ryegate. To this union three children were born. In 1972, Betty married Kelly Wrzesinski. They worked for several ranches in the area. In 1978 Mom bought the Ranger Bar in Grass Range from her brother, Jim Malloy, which she owned and operated for several years. In 1985 Betty married Tom Johnstone. Betty sold the Ranger Bar and bought the Roy Bar in Roy, Mont., which she owned and operated until she retired in 2004. Mom then moved to Billings to be close to her children and grandchildren.
Mom was a very smart and talented woman. She had a keen business sense and a knack for bookkeeping. She taught herself how to sew and do leather work early on and supplemented the family income in this manner. Her Western shirts, belts, wallets and moccasins were sold all over the state of Montana. Mom was fiercely independent and lived life on her own terms. She worked hard and she played hard. Nothing was more important to Mom than her family. She loved to cook, play cards, garden, and any excuse for a gathering of friends and family was a good one. Mom instilled good moral values, a love of country and community, and a strong work ethic in each of us. If you didn’t want to know something, you didn’t ask, as Mom never lied and she didn’t sugarcoat the truth. She believed that voting was not just a right, it was a duty that should be taken seriously. It was important to her to know that we would take care of one another after she was gone. Family was always most important.
Betty is survived by her three children, Sue (Dick) DeVries, Mike (Pam) Stigen and Jackie (Dan) Ray; four grandchildren, TJ DeVries, Nichole DeVries, Eric Stigen, and Jaime DeVries; nine great-grandchildren; her sister, Francis Griemsman; brother Melvin Malloy; two ex-husbands, Tom Johnstone and Kelly Wrzesinski; and her five beloved Pomeranian puppies.
Betty was preceded in death by her parents, Clarence and Florence Malloy; first husband, Jack Stigen; a brother, Jim Malloy; sister, Gerry Sercel; and son-in-law, Dan Ray.
Mom, we will miss your smile, sharp wit, those flashing green eyes and red hair, that Irish disposition, and the “bossing us around.” We know who will be waiting at heaven’s door for each of us when the time comes. We love you, Mom.
We want to thank Billings Clinic, RiverStone Health Home Care & Hospice, and in particular, Dr. Kathy Stevens, for the good care and compassion you gave Mom.
A celebration of life will be held at Cremation & Funeral Gallery on May 11 at 4 p.m. followed by a reception in the small bay of the Montana Pavilion, MetraPark at 5:30 p.m.
Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.cfgbillings.com through “Our Families.”