Born to Don and Pat Burgess on Jan. 11, 1954, Althea spent her early years in Casper, Wyo., where she graduated from Natrona County High School. She grew to be a beautiful, passionate, free-spirited woman who loved the outdoors, horses and skiing. Immediately after graduating from high school, Althea moved to Steamboat Springs, Colo., where she became a ski instructor. It was in Steamboat that she met her first husband, B. K. Reno. After several years of courtship, they married and moved to Bozeman, in 1976. They owned and operated a farm on Reese Creek Road. Two children were born of that marriage, their son, Jesse, and daughter, Jennifer. Althea and B. K. parted in 1984 after 12 memorable years and continued to share in the raising and care of the gifts of their union, Jess and Jenn.
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During the following years, Althea worked as a ski instructor at Bridger Bowl where she met and fell in love with Barry Morstad, who was a ski patroller. They married in October 1990. They shared a great love for skiing and spent many years hiking the Bridger Ridge together seeking the cold smoke. Jess and Jenn immediately took to Barry, and he has continued to be a wonderful role model and dad to them. Althea and Barry's home sits in the shadow of Sacajawea and Ross Peak at the base of the Bridger Mountains.
Barry later went on to study and graduate from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, with a degree in diagnostic ultrasound as he felt that he wanted to provide a more stable income for the family.
Althea loved her children more than she could express, and they brought her great joy. Her days skiing with them were probably her most cherished times. She, Barry, Jess and Jenn spent many days floating and fishing the rivers of the region enjoying all that Montana had to offer.
Her pets were also a source of happiness, and there was an ever-present menagerie of farm animals and dogs that kept her and the kids occupied. Knowing her and her love of life, we know that she would want her family and friends to pursue life and seek out that which brings them joy. She was deeply loved and cherished. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Althea's name to the Bridger Ski Foundation, 851 Bridger Dr., #4, Bozeman, MT 59715.
Memorial services will be held Sunday, March 16 at 3 p.m. at Dokken-Nelson Sunset Chapel.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Mar. 13, 2014