Helen B. Roys (1922 - 2011)

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Helen B. Roys, 89, of Polson, joined her Lord and loved ones on Aug. 23, 2011, passing away at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, due to natural causes.

Helen Mae Butterfield Roys was born on July 24, 1922, to the late Fay and Maude Stewart Butterfield in Richey, where the family homesteaded and was among the first of its residents. Helen's father used his draft horses to excavate the foundations for many of the homes there while her mother taught school. Helen always cherished and shared her colorful memories of Richey.

Helen's parents suffered the loss of two infant children - a son, Fay and a daughter, Carol - before being blessed with Helen and later her brother, Warren.

Helen graduated from Montana State College in Bozeman with a degree in nursing in 1944. Over the years, she shared many amusing stories serving as a young director of the student health service on campus and WAC nurse during World War II. She also worked at Murray Hospital in Butte, a clinic in Woodland Hills, Calif., and was a public health nurse in Helena for several years.

She married her beloved Perry F. Roys in 1946 while he was on leave from the Navy. After 61 lively years of marriage,, she tenderly laid him in the arms of Jesus on Dec. 8, 2007.

After the war, the couple built and operated a family business, The Penguin Shop, in West Yellowstone for several summers. They prepared enormous quantities of doughnuts, cooked pancakes, and burgers.

Helen packed up her family numerous times to follow Perry's career. She made homes for her family in Bozeman; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Woodland Hills, Calif.; Butte; Helena; Omaha, Neb.; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Missoula. In 1980, Helen and Perry retired to the family cabin on Flathead Lake where they appreciated the wonders of the Flathead Valley and its people.

Helen devoted her life to making a home for her family and gave her children the most tender care, her great joy in life. She was an appetizing cook, a wonderful seamstress, and a delightful pianist who lightened the mood in the house with her jazzed-up versions of old Methodist hymns. Helen never lost track of her "inner child" and did her best to keep track of everyone else's.

Helen is survived by her children, Adina (Ron) Pagel of Missoula, Krista Roys (William O'Connor) of Madison, Wis., Hal Roys of Polson; her brother, Warren (Phyllis) Butterfield of Billings; her dear grandchildren, Jenelle, Gerald, Matthew, Kelda, Claire, Madeline and Eve; four great-grandchildren, Oscar, Lily, Erin and Emily; four nieces, two nephews, and several cousins.

The family wishes to thank her caregivers and friends who were there for her in her final weeks.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, at Polson Community Church, with the Rev. Russ Barber officiating.

Memorials may be made to the , Smile Train, or to a charity of the donor's choice.

Messages of condolence may be sent to the family online at www.groganfuneralhome.com. The staff of Grogan Funeral Home and Crematory, Polson, considers it a privilege to care for Mrs. Roys' family.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Aug. 31, 2011
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