Helen Blackford lived a very full, happy, vibrant life. She passed away on Nov. 6, 2008, surrounded by her loved ones.
Helen was born Sept. 29, 1920, in Ballantine, to George and Eva Staley. Helen graduated from Billings Senior in 1939. Helen married Jim Blackford on Nov. 16, 1941. Helen was a member of the Pilgrim Congregational Church, Ladies Garden Club, loved participating at the Billings Senior Citizens Center, enjoyed music, dancing and playing Bingo. She looked forward to public elections, as she worked various polling locations in Billings. Family gatherings were a highlight. She was always the first to arrive and the last to leave.
Helen worked retail sales for 44 years, retiring from Sears in 1984. She treasured the lifelong relationships built through her family, friends and wonderful neighbors. Helen had a spirit of adventure and she enjoyed traveling. On many of her trips, children, grandchildren and special friends accompanied her.
Her highest priorities were her three children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She is survived by daughter Shirley Dana (Jim); son Harvey Blackford and son Bob Blackford (Jennifer). Grandchildren and great-grandchildren include Mike Hettinger; Jan Brumwell (Murray), two sons, Dana and Dylan; Lana Hughes, two daughters, Taylor and Rachel; Stacey Hettinger; Dean Blackford (Heidi), children Kendra, Danielle, Braden, Alyssa and Emily; Scott Blackford (Julie), children Ryan and John; Shane Blackford; Jesse Mellgren, daughter Emma; Christopher Mellgren; Hollie Mellgren; Kim Dana; Mark Dana; Scott Dana. Helen is also survived by sister Evelyn Funk (Harry) and sister-in-law Mary Staley. Helen enjoyed close relationships with cousins and special friends Mariann and Andy Mikes.
Helen was preceded in death by mother and father, George and Eva; husband, Jim; sister, Lillian Ostermiller; brothers, Harry Staley (Pauline) and George Staley.
Mom (Grammy) will be missed and in our hearts every day.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10, at Smith's West Funeral Home. Burial will be at Sunset Memorial Gardens. A reception will follow at Smith's West.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Pilgrim Congregational Church or Billings Senior Citizens Center.