Eva Rutherford Neils (1923 - 2011)

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  • "I'm very saddened to hear of Eva's death. (I think of her..."
    - Frances Thompson
  • "I met Eva bowling at Country Lanes and we became close..."
    - Donna Grohman
  • "I'm feeling very choked-up right now as I remember Mrs...."
    - mary hodgson
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    - Dela Rider
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    - Bruce/kathy mcleod
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Eva Rutherford Neils, (formerly Eva LaCroix), 88, of Belgrade, passed away while attended by family on Sunday, May 1, 2011, at the Gallatin Valley Rest home from injuries sustained during an auto accident.

Born February 4, 1923, to Paul Cole and Eva Kaye Rutherford, she grew up in the Lake Harriet area of Minneapolis, Minn., with her two sisters, Janet and Peg. She graduated from Northrup Collegiate School of Minneapolis in 1941. "Rut," as she was known by her classmates, was actively involved with sports and served as the athletic chairman of her senior class. Favorite activities included dance club, horseback riding and skiing. Following her graduation from Northrup, Eva continued her education at the Erskine School in Boston, Mass. While schooling out east, she met her first husband, Roger C. LaCroix, on a blind date. Married in Minneapolis on May 1, 1943, they had four children together, eventually settling in Deephaven, Minn.

Following the death of her first husband in 1964, Eva dedicated herself to her children, working with the Hennepin County Humane Society and in sales at Maggie's Boutique of Wayzata. During this time, Eva was introduced by friends to her second husband, Henry E. (Bob) Neils and they later married on June 17, 1977. They shared many interests, including a passion for horses and the outdoors. After frequent visits to Bob's property in Montana, they realized their dream of living out west, building their home at the base of their beloved Bridger Mountains in 1983. While living in the Belgrade/Bozeman area, Eva and Bob were active in the community and supported many local organizations, including the Pass Creek School, the Springhill Community Church and the Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter.

Known for her independent spirit and love of the ranching community, Eva stayed self-sufficient and vital over the years, even following the loss of her husband Bob to Alzheimer's disease in April of 2002. She loved to bowl, play bridge, garden and care for her extensive collection of indoor plants. One of her favorite things was providing homes for, and watching, the bluebirds that returned to her yard each year. Proud to call herself a Great-Grandma, her family and their children brought Eva great joy.

Eva is preceded in death by her husband, Bob Neils, and her sisters Janet Acock and Margaret "Peg" Noll. She is survived by her children, Roger C. LaCroix Jr., Stephen M.(Melody) LaCroix, Edward (Jennifer) LaCroix II and Ellen L. (Bruce) Hostetler; step-children, Ralph, Henry and Mark Neils, and Jennifer (James) McInerney; grandchildren, Melissa (Brian) Land and Philip Hostetler; great-grandson Trevor Land; godchild Jamie McInerney; nieces, Mary Noll, Molly Jacobs, and Sally Ryan; and nephew, Ted Noll.

A memorial service will be held at the Springhill Presbyterian (Community) Church, 9855 Walker Road, Belgrade, on Saturday, May 14 at 2 pm.

Memorials should be sent to the Pass Creek Community Center, 3747 Pass Creek Rd, Belgrade, MT 59714, , 3010 11th Ave. N., Billings, MT 59101 or the Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter, PO Box 11390, Bozeman, MT 59719.

Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com

Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on May 8, 2011
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