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JOLIET — Thelma Eugean Howells, age 96, passed away peacefully in her home on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012.

Thelma was born in Plum Creek, the youngest of four children born to Embuary and Delila Stockton Depee. At the age of 6, her family moved to Christina, Mont.

On May 7, 1931, Thelma married Earl Charles Eaton. From this union came children, Georgia, Maxine and Gary. Later the family moved to Tacoma, Wash., where they raised their family and made their home for 23 years.

Thelma met Edward Robert Howells in Tacoma, and they married in Downey, Calif., in April 1953. During their stay in California, they owned and operated several restaurants from Malibu to San Clemente. They sold their last café in 1972 and Eddie passed away in 1983. Now we know why you were such a good cook, Thelma.

Thelma moved to Joliet in 1990. She was an avid gardener and loved her yard and her flower beds. She was famous for pulling weeds. In 1996, at the age of 81, she won first place in the Senior Olympics in the Fast Walking Event.

She has many relatives in the Billings area, including Leo Stockton, Ken (Vicky) Stockton, Carol (Jack) Stockton Cooney. Other relatives in the Lewistown area include a niece, Shirley and husband, Boots Brown, and their sons, Pat and wife, Shelly, and their two children, Kim and Jake; Jimmy Brown and sons, Caleb and Fred Brown.

Thelma is a member of the Joliet Wesleyan Church. She is a member of the Red Hat Society. She was active in the garden club as well.

She was very fond of her sister, Ottie, in Idaho, and together they made many quilts.

Thelma is survived by her children, Georgia Brown, Tacoma, and Gary Eaton, Tacoma, Wash.; grandson, Thomas Walker, Atascadero, Calif.; and granddaughter, Leslie Medina; several great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Embuary and Delila Stockton Depee; daughter, Maxine; and granddaughters, Sherry and Lizette.

Cremation has taken place. There will be a memorial service on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at 10 a.m. at Smith Funeral Chapel in Laurel. A reception in honor of Thelma will be held at noon at the Joliet Community Center. Memorials may be made to the Beartooth Hospice, P.O. Box 590, Red Lodge, MT 59068. Burial will be in the Lewistown Cemetery at a later date.

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