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Leola Brelsford

March 22, 1935 ~ January 15, 2019

Service: January 26, 2019 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.
   Location: Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service

Leola J. Bowman Brelsford, 83, passed peacefully away in her home surrounded by her loving family on January 15, 2019.  Leola was born in Blackfoot, Idaho, on March 22, 1935, to Alberta Christensen Briskin and William Leo Bowman.  She grew up in a traveling family ending up in West Yellowstone where she graduated 8th grade. She left for Bozeman, moving to a boarding house to complete high school.

Leola married Donald Leroy Brelsford in April 1954. Daughter, Pam, and son, Daniel, were born while they lived in MSU’s college housing.  The little family moved to California where daughter, Holly, was born; then Brigham City where son, Skip, came along. Then on to Littleton, Colorado where daughter, Rebecca, was born. The family moved back to Bozeman where Leola became an integral part of the Bozeman community. Members of the volunteer ski patrol at Bear Canyon and later Bridger Bowl, Leola and Don built a home in Bridger Canyon and continued to be active in the ski patrol at Bridger Bowl, the Bridger Canyon Women’s Club, and 4-H leaders for the kids.

Leola lived for her family, friends, and community.  She helped start the Bridger Bowl Buddy Werner and Junior Racing programs, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award for advocacy and support in the Bridger skiing community.  Winters were spent skiing, while she enjoyed summers at her cabin up School Gulch with generations of Brelsfords and friends.  A wonderful artist, watercolor painter, and sketcher, Leola enjoyed knitting, crochet, gardening, and passing on her love of color and creativity.

Leola began her long and distinguished career at Montana State University in the physics department in 1974, moving to the art department and eventually to athletic department before she retired in the late 9O’s.

Leola designed her perfect home in 1983 and lived there until her death.  She is survived by her sister, Nadine Briskin; her brother, Stewart Briskin; daughters, Pam and Holly; daughter-in-law, Monica; and sons, Daniel and Richard; 10 grandchildren; Jessi, Kate, Jackson, Jaimi, Branden, Sam, Tanner, Silver, Heidi, and Mariah; and four great grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her daughter, Rebecca Lynn; her parents; and former husband, Donald Brelsford.

There will be a public memorial gathering on Saturday, January 26th from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M., with a sharing time at 2:30 P.M., at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, 113 South Willson in Bozeman. A summer celebration of Leola’s amazing life is also planned up School Gulch on Saturday, July 13, 2019, details to come, everyone welcome. Memorials can be made to Bridger Ski Education Foundation and the Bozeman Senior Center.

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