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Verna Holen

December 2, 1931 ~ May 17, 2017

Verna K. Brown Holen passed away on May 17, 2017 in Bozeman at the age of 85.  She was born on December 2, 1931 in Bradley, South Dakota, the youngest of the four children of Bessie Kirby Brown and Robert Leslie Brown.  She graduated from high school and went on to study education at Northern State University in Aberdeen.  Her years after college were spent exploring life with her sister, Eldred, known as “Teck”, driving around the country each summer until they found a town where they decided to stop and see if teaching jobs were available for the coming year. They never failed to find a job using this nomadic approach and they spent time in places like Oxnard, California; Astoria, Oregon; and Kila, Montana.

Verna’s fate was sealed when she and her sister drove into Big Timber, Montana to teach in 1962.  It was there that Verna met Harold “Hal” Holen.  The two started dating in the fall and were married on December 23 of that same year.  They had two daughters, Leslie and Hayley.  They spent over 50 years living in Bozeman, where Verna taught second grade at Whittier Elementary School while Hal taught at Montana State University.  Verna spent every Tuesday playing duplicate bridge and every Sunday at Hope Lutheran Church.  Upon their retirement, Verna and Hal spent several years traveling through former Soviet states where Verna taught English and Hal taught accounting.  Traveling to teach and also just to explore was their passion, and they made it to every continent but Antarctica.

Verna is survived by her husband of almost 55 years, Hal; and daughters, Leslie (Tom) and Hayley (Steve); as well as her three grandchildren, Zachary, Abigail, and Hughston; and several nieces and nephews.  We now return her to the loving arms of her mother, Bessie; father, Bob (who always referred to her as “babe”); sister, Mary; brother, Bob; and, perhaps most of all, her beloved sister, Teck. 

It was a life spent loving her family fiercely, helping hundreds of children learn how to read and write, playing countless hours of the card game “heck” as well as the piano (badly but enthusiastically), appreciating Bozeman’s mountain views, wandering the planet, entertaining the grandkids, and making the best fruit pies and chocolate cake imaginable.    We will miss you, Verna K., you were truly a gift.

Our thanks to the staff at Highgate Assisted Living and Hospice of Bozeman Health for all of their care during these last few years.  At Verna’s request, there will be no services.  

In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter, PO Box 11390, Bozeman, MT  59719, would be appreciated.

 

 

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