Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service

Kay Marie Dighans

March 16, 1953 ~ February 03, 2019

Surrounded by those who love her, Kay Marie Swenson Dighans, 65, passed peacefully from this world on Friday, March 1, 2019 at Billings Clinic. 

Born March 16, 1953 in Glendive, Montana, Kay was the youngest child of her beloved parents, Kenneth James Swenson and Lola Irene DeWitt. Kay grew up with her older brother Chuck in Bozeman, Montana, where she graduated high school in 1971. She went on to earn her teaching degree from MSU in 1975 and, ever a lover of learning, continued her education later in life to earn her master’s degree in education and information technology. 

Soon after earning her teaching degree, Kay worked with a friend and fellow colleague to develop the Kindergarten program for the Belgrade School District. Kay loved teaching the children of Belgrade and found her heart to be happiest when teaching the third grade. She continued to touch the lives of hundreds of students and their families throughout her 33-year teaching career. Kay always spoke fondly of her past students, reserving a special place in her heart for each of them as the years passed. 

When Kay made the decision to retire from teaching, she delighted in a new passion as she became a small business owner with Scentsy. A phenomenal entrepreneur, Kay worked her way to the highest rank with Scentsy and absolutely loved her leadership role as a Superstar Director. With Kay’s business she continued to make the world brighter as she touched the lives of thousands of individuals. Always one to take others under her wing, lend a helping hand, and brighten the room with her smile, Kay was a source of true joy among fellow Scentsy business owners and customers across the globe.  Kay’s Scentsy family gave her the nickname “Mama Kay”, and she wore that title with love and pride in her heart, regularly doting on the many invaluable friendships and memories that she had cultivated as a Scentsy business owner. Kay truly loved Scentsy and the friends that became family during her time with the company.

As Kay would often lovingly depict the story of how she met her beloved husband Rick, she would tell us that her friends were shocked when she told them that she was going on a date with a cop. However, in November of 1981 Kay found herself on the side of the road with a flat tire, and a strapping young officer named Ricky Lee by her side to help. Less than a year later, on June 5, 1982, the pair were married. From that day forward, for the next 36 years, Rick continued to stay by Kay’s side. Their marriage is an incredible example of commitment, love and loyalty. While Kay was head over heels for her husband, she would often tell us all that it was her love for Rick’s oldest son, Nicholas that ultimately made her decide to keep Rick around. 

Together, Kay and Rick continued to grow their family with the births of their sons, Kevin on May 8, 1983, and Eric on March 7, 1986. The pride that Kay carried for her three sons was unlike any other. She relished in watching her boys grow and flourish as they traveled down different paths in life. And, just as any good mother would, Kay proudly supported her boys as they excelled in their athletic and military careers. Kay’s boys were her world and she radiated with love as she told others of their many accomplishments.  Without fail, Kay tirelessly cheered for her boys and supported them at every life turn, lighting up with love every time any one of her boys were near. 

Having always wanted a daughter of her own, Kay was overjoyed with the birth of her only niece, Andra, in September of 1972. The relationship that Kay shared with her “Panda Bear” was extraordinary and could only be compared to that of mother and daughter. As Andra’s family grew, Kay proudly boasted the title, “Grantie”, becoming both aunt and grandma to Andra’s children.

Kay’s prayers for daughters of her own continued to be answered throughout the years as she met and fell in love with her girls, Beth Dighans, Melissa Peterson- Dighans, Lori Warnell- Dighans, and Ravyn Dighans. The love that Kay had for her daughters matched the love that any great mother carries for her children. Some of the brightest moments in Kay’s life were the days when each of her girls legally became her daughters. Kay was not your ordinary mom, or mother-in-law, she was extraordinary. She truly was a best friend to each one of her daughters, always bringing her wisdom, light and joy to even the hardest times.  

Of all the titles that Kay has carried in her life, the one of Nana, was by far her favorite. Kay was easily the most loving Nana around. Her grandchildren, Cooper, Kade, Jake, Haylee, Nikki, Levi and Liberty were an endless source of pride for Kay as she doted on them to nearly every person that she met. Being Nana to her seven grandbabies was one of Kay’s greatest sources of joy, and she would smother them with hugs, kisses and love every chance that she got. Kay made sure that she was present for every meaningful moment of their lives. From their first breath and every day after that, Kay made sure that they knew she was overflowing with love for them.   If you ever needed to find Kay, you would likely find her on the sidelines at her grandchildren’s sporting events, lovingly cheering them on, chatting with her many friends in the community, and smiling brightly. 

Kay lived a life of love, and valued family above all else. She often loved those around her so intensely that friends quickly became family. In her lifetime Kay had “adopted” many as her own. She deeply treasured the relationships that she shared with her friends, her family, and her friends that became family. Kay would have done anything to give happiness to those around her. Her love for others and her desire to see others happy was evident in the way that she lived her life; always giving the best of herself to others, always putting others first, always leading with a kind heart and a loving hug, always lending a helping hand, and loving others in a way that only Kay Marie could. 

Kay’s surviving family includes her beloved husband, Ricky Lee (with beautiful puppy Kimberlee); sons, Nicholas Dighans, Kevin (Beth) Dighans, and Eric (Ravyn) Dighans; daughters, Melissa Peterson- Dighans, and Lori Warnell-Dighans; grandchildren, Cooper, Kade, Jake, Haylee, Nikki, Levi and Liberty; niece, Andra Swenson Burnham (husband Mike); great nieces and nephews, Jordan (fiancé Dusty and step children), Logan, Darby and Bridger; great great nephew, Jettson, and countless numbers of friends and family across the United States. 

Services for Kay will be held on March 16 at 2 pm at the Belgrade Special Events Center. 200 Spooner Street, Belgrade, MT. 

Donations can be made in Kay’s name to the American Diabetes Association. 

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.  www.dokkennelson.com