June Sawyer Wallace Stevens passed away on January 17, 2017 at RiverStone Hospice in Billings. Born in Rosebud, Montana, on June 11, 1913, June was the fourth child of Annie Hill Sawyer and John Marshall Sawyer. Her early childhood was spent here in Montana, but she lived in Maine during her school years. She graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, in 1935 and drove to Montana with a friend on two-lane roads, many of which were unpaved. This adventure provided some of her best memories, a highlight being the visit to Mount Rushmore where George Washington’s face had just been completed. June and her friend were invited to climb up the workmen’s stairs constructed beside Washington’s head, and they enjoyed the view from above the president’s 22-foot-long nose.
June moved to Billings to work for her father at the Sawyer Stores’ General Office Building on Montana Avenue. She met Clifford Wallace at Billings Business College while taking secretarial classes. The two married in October of 1938 and spent their early life together in Maine and Montana. They eventually settled near Townsend, Montana, and moved to a ranch in the Bitterroot Valley in 1960. June and Cliff were married for 47 years until his death in 1986. Several years after his death, June moved back to Maine to live with her sister, Barbara, at Hills’ Ridge, the ancestral home. While living there, she became reacquainted with her high-school sweetheart, Wayne Stevens, who had recently become widowed. They married in November of 1990 and enjoyed 11 years together until Wayne died in 2001. After her sister died in 2011, June made one more cross-country trek with three of her children and her cat in a motorhome. She settled at Sweet Water Retirement, where she lived until she entered RiverStone. Her children are grateful to the caregivers at Sweet Water and especially to those at RiverStone for taking such good care of their mother.
June was proud of her New England heritage but grew to love Montana and the western landscape just as much as the lakes and woods of Maine. She created a nice home for her husband and children John, Barbara, Diana, and Susan. She loved games, books, music, nature, and animals, and she could converse on just about any subject. She was proud of her children and pleased with her healthy and beautiful grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Much of what her family love about life, they learned from her.
She was preceded in death by her two husbands, daughter-in-law Pat Wallace, and grandson David Roberts. She is survived by John Wallace of Ajo, Arizona, Barbara (Bill) Thares of Great Falls, Diana (Ken) Roberts of Bend, Oregon, and Susan (John) Lyons of Billings; 13 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law Pearl Sawyer of Maine, Wayne’s sons David (Dot) Stevens and Rick (Joyce) Stevens, both of Maine, and many nieces and nephews. Her family will miss her very much, but she will live on in their hearts and memories and will never be forgotten.
A private graveside service is planned at a later date.