Rejoice! Our beautiful mother joined her heavenly family May 11, 2021.
Born Merilee Ann Herbold to William and Mary Herbold, April 17, 1939. She was number eight of 12 children, number three of six daughters. Most knew her as Bea or Bebe’; she was born in Lewistown, Montana.The family moved to Helena Flats in 1948 and to Kalispell in 1953.
In 1955 Bea and Roger eloped to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and a few months later had their marriage blessed in the Catholic church. They had three children while living in Kalispell. In 1960 they moved to “Old Rexford “and later to the “Cole homestead” on West Kootenai. Mom loved her home and raising her family on West Kootenai, but was forced to sell after the divorce in 1974. Bea earned her GED and, in 1975, she and Joan moved to Oregon, staying with Cliff and Betty Voorhees for a time. This started her life’s adventure. Bea worked at Thriftway grocery while studying for her real estate license. She was an agent at Stan Wiley Realty in Oak Grove, Oregon, when she met the love of her life, Steven Swan. Mom and Steve enjoyed many life changing trips with family and friends. Ecuador, Mexico, Hawaii, New Brunswick, British Virgin Islands and China. After leaving real estate, Mom went back to school for her certified nurse assistant certification. She worked at Damasch, Oregon State Mental Hospital. She absolutely loved that work and helping people. Later mom worked in a nursing home until her retirement.
In 2010 her beloved Steve passed away. Mom returned to Eureka, Montana, where her heart healed while living with June at Carpenter Lake. It made her happy being with family. Bea had lived in Kalispell for the past few years. Helping care for Roger, Karen, and Richard, getting to spend time with Dean and his family were special times.
Bea is survived by Mervin (91), Billie (85), Janet (74), and June (73); her children, Cindy and John of Portland, Dean and Terryl of Kalispell, and Joan and Kevin of Portland; eight grandchildren,11 great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews too many to name. She loved you all. She wanted you to know how much she loves you and Jesus loves you.
Bea was preceded in death by her parents, both husbands, five brothers, two sisters, several brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews and nieces.
Our mom was an extraordinary example of tenacity and perseverance. She was a mom everyone wanted. She was fun loving, positive, joyful, kind and generous. Mom had a beautiful smile! She loved her family fiercely. Bea was extremely proud of her “Little Shell Chippewa” heritage. She expressed how the “pow wows” were spiritual for her! Her love of knowledge made her read everything she could get her hands on. Mom had a deep love for all animals and nature. She was a collector and lover of history. She loved driving on a long road trip. She enjoyed her meals out with family and friends, and a good martini or glass of wine on Friday night. Our mother has left a legacy of love, laughter, and an amazing faith in God! We’re grateful to Kalispell Regional for their compassion. Aunt June, Kendra, Amy and Anna, you were there when we weren’t able to be, and we’re forever grateful and blessed.
A graveside Mass will be held July 23 at 1 p.m. at C.E. Conrad Memorial Cemetery. There will be a luncheon at St. Matthew’s cafeteria following the service.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the cancer society, St. Jude for Children, or Native American Children’s Schools.
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