Bettie Eagle Nelson, 91, of West Yellowstone died of natural causes at Mountain View Care Center in Bozeman on June 3, 2009.
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A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 13, at the Community Protestant Church in West Yellowstone, following a family gathering to inter her ashes at Fir Ridge Cemetery.
Bettie was born on Nov. 23, 1917, in St. Anthony, Idaho, the sixth child of Sam and Ida Eagle. She grew up in West Yellowstone and Bozeman, graduating from Gallatin County High School and Montana State College where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. She worked in personnel for several years during World War II at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, Calif. Upon her return to Montana, she helped manage Eagle's Store, her family's business in West Yellowstone, during the summer season and was a librarian at Montana State College during the winter months. She was a charter member of the West Yellowstone Historical Society.
Bettie and her friend, Peg Roman Taylor, were honored by Montana State University for an annual newsletter they published over 60 years for fellow alums. One of Bettie's favorite adventures was a trip around the world with friend, Marje Paisley.
In 1968 Bettie married the love of her life, Luther Nelson. He joined her at Eagle's Store as the store's accountant. They were active members of the Community Protestant Church in West Yellowstone, reaching out to others with friendship and personal philanthropy, touching lives in powerful ways. She and Luther thoroughly enjoyed being actively involved with their nieces and nephews and visiting friends and relatives on their annual winter trips to California and Nevada.
Bettie loved Yellowstone Park, wild flowers, and chocolate. She will be remembered for her ability to make each person in her life feel uniquely special, for her quick wit and her sassy sense of humor. Bettie was loved for her fun sense of life, her infectious smile and hearty laughter, her positive attitude, and her faith. Former store employees cherish memories of Bettie and the impact she had on their lives, both while employed and as they moved on in life. In 2008 Bettie was able to celebrate a milestone event: the 100th anniversary of Eagle's Store, where she joined hundreds of family members, former employees, and friends to celebrate the anniversary of the family business.
Survivors include brothers, Joe (Kay) Eagle and Wally (Frankie) Eagle of West Yellowstone; sister-in-law, Margaret Eagle of Helena; and numerous nieces and nephews and their families from throughout the country.
Bettie was preceded in death by her husband, Luther Nelson; parents, Sam and Ida Eagle; brothers, Henry (Dorotha), Ed (Marje), Bill, Bud (Jean), Harold; sisters, Helen (Eddie) and Rose (Hermie); and three nephews.
Suggested memorial donations include the Community Protestant Church Scholarship Fund, 505 N. Electric St., and The Eagle Family Foundation, P.O. Box 280, in West Yellowstone, MT 59758.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on June 10, 2009