Eleanor Ann (Erickson) Reed left this life on March 21, 2013, to join her late husband, Tom; son Mike; and dear family and friends with the Lord, just before her 90th birthday.
She was born in Bourbon, Mo., on March 30, 1923, to Oscar and Anna (Meister) Erickson. Her father died six months later. Her mother turned to Nellie and Frank Morganthaler to help raised Eleanor in St. Louis so that Anna could return to work. When Eleanor began kindergarten in St. Louise, she met Tessie, who remained her dear friend all her life.
Eleanor attended Catholic schools in St. Louis and graduated from Rosati-Kain High School. During WWII, she met and fell in love with a soldier from Montana: Thomas Joseph Reed. After corresponding throughout the war, they married on May 30, 1946, in St. Louis. Together, they raised three children and had many adventures.
In 1961, after living most of her life in St. Louis, Eleanor and Tom moved to Billings, driving the family station wagon loaded with kids, Shep the collie dog and a parakeet, making many tourist stops along the way. In 1962, a very determined Eleanor entrusted the three kids to Tom’s care so that she could attend nursing school in Lewistown, fulfilling her longtime ambition to be a nurse. In 1963, she began her nursing career as a licensed practical nurse at St. Vincent Hospital in Billings. She and Tom moved to the Denver area in 1970, and Eleanor nursed for St. Anthony’s North Hospital until her retirement in 1988. Following Tom’s death in 1989, Eleanor returned to Billings in 1996 to be near family, and lived at South Forty until 2011.
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She will be greatly missed by her daughter, Mary Honaker of Billings and Mary’s children Ericka, Christi, Lyndsay and Taylor (“TJ”); her daughter and son-in-law, Kathryn and Alan Souders of Skagit County, Wash., and their children, Brandy, Margie and Mick; her grandchildren by her late son Michael: David (her special caretaker for the past two years), Mike, Paul, Joe, Merrilee and Anthony; and her nine great-grandchildren, especially Timo. Eleanor was preceded in death by her parents; her foster parents; her sister Florence; her foster brother, Calvin Morganthaler; her husband, Tom; and, in 2002, her son, Michael Reed.
All her life, Eleanor found good friends, cherished family members and friends even when far away, and was happiest when helping people. She enjoyed volunteering for St. Vincent Hospital, Moss Mansion and Big Sky Hospice. Her wish was that memorial donations be made to Hospice or Billings Food Bank.
Vigil service will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. Funeral mass will be at noon, Wednesday, April 3, at St. Patrick Co-Cathedral. Burial will be held at Fairview Cemetery in Hardin.
Condolences may be left online at www.michelottisawyers.com