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March 22, 1929 ~
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Date of Service: February 25, 2019


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February 20, 2019


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September 29, 1923 ~
February 19, 2019


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February 19, 2019


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Alice Sarrazin
September 26, 1922 ~
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Anne Dykema
November 26, 1934 ~
February 09, 2019


William Johnson
March 10, 1928 ~
February 08, 2019


 
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Delores VanZyl

April 14, 1950 ~ May 03, 2018

Service: May 26, 2018 1:00 PM
   Location: Shane Center, Livingston, MT

Our community lost a dear friend and sweet companion, DeeDee VanZyl, 68, on May 3, 2018.  DeeDee died unexpectedly from complications less than 24 hours after out-patient surgery, leaving a hole in our lives.

DeeDee was born in McMinnville, Oregon, in 1950, where she was raised. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Portland State University, majoring in theater. She worked in the medical field during the day, while immersing herself in her true passion, acting. Her acting career included theater work in Portland, Seattle and other venues in the Pacific Northwest, including Shakespeare tours, many plays, directing, voice-over jobs, and college-level teaching. She was also a nurturing other and role-model to her stepson, Matt, in a relationship she maintained long after her first marriage. She developed lifelong friends and cemented a reputation for excellence in theater.

She met the love of her life, Ursula Neese, on a ski trip at Mt. Baker in Washington in 1994. Later that year she moved to Bozeman to be with Ursula. She came to Montana for love, but then fell in love with Montana. She established herself in the theater communities of Livingston and Bozeman, acting and directing many plays, and teaching acting at Montana State University. She was a cornerstone of the Bozeman Actors Theatre, the Blue Slipper, the Verge, Black Box and other area venues where her commitment to the truths revealed through theater raised the bar wherever she appeared.

DeeDee and Ursula collaborated in every aspect of life, supporting and complementing each other in many ventures. They ran the River Inn on the banks of the Yellowstone River for more than 15 years, surviving floods and building a thriving bed and breakfast/nursery enterprise. Their relationship was part soul-mate, part business partner, part adventure companion. DeeDee made friends wherever she went.

DeeDee taught us how to be in the world. She exemplified generosity and commitment, whether it was women’s issues or the environment, theater work or a wilderness journey.  She was the person you always wanted to invite along, because man, was she a great cook! She was a model for overcoming fears, whether walking on stage night after night or running whitewater. She was known for her irreverent and honest sense of humor. She was big-hearted, fun-loving company. She will be missed. She will be remembered around dinner tables and campfires, along trails and on stages. Her legacy lives on in her community and her causes.

DeeDee is survived by her spouse and partner, Ursula Neese; her stepson, Matt Metz; and by many grieving friends, extended family and colleagues. She was preceded in death by her mother, Rosie VanZyl; her father, Kenneth VanZyl; her stepmother, Dorothy VanZyl; and her sister, Rozanne VanZyl.

A memorial is scheduled on Saturday, May 26 at 1 pm at the Shane Center in Livingston, Montana (415 E. Lewis). Contributions may be sent to organizations DeeDee supported, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, Doctors Without Borders, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Bozeman Actors Theater. 

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