Helene Bernadette Connor, lifetime resident of Whitehall, died Friday, April 10, 2015, in Butte. She was the fifth daughter born to Cora Moon and Joseph H. Kountz, Jr. on July 29, 1922. Together, they lived on the family ranch on Kountz Road near Whitehall.
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Her young life was spent on the ranch where she occupied her time outdoors, herding cattle, feeding bum lambs and riding horses. She attended Whitehall High School, graduating in 1940. She attended St. Mary's College in Los Angeles and Butte Business College. Life changed when she met Bill Connor, a forest ranger from Melrose.
Bernadette and Bill married on March 18, 1944. After living in Washington and Kansas with Bill's service in the Army Air Corps, they moved back to the Kountz ranch, then bought a ranch on the Whitetail. Later, they purchased another Whitetail ranch where they resided until 1970. After that, they ran Connor Exxon and Connor Insurance Agency for years.
They worked together in many ventures and loved their lives together. They were active in their community and contributed greatly with their time and effort.
Bill and Bern adopted three children, Sandra Jean Connor Long, Michael Patrick Connor and another daughter, Patti, who died in 1977. Bern loved children as well as her pets.
Bern had enough love to pass around to everyone she met and she always gave a big smile which said, "Yes, I'll be your friend." In 2001, for the Bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Jefferson Valley Presents was formed and Bern was on board for all the work and promotion that had to be done. She was the Grand Marshall of the 2001 Frontier Day's Parade and was devoted to her community as well as her church, St. Teresa of Avila.
Her later days were spent living at the Meadowlark Manor. She sang the praises of all the gracious help she was given by those who saw to her care.
She is survived by her children, Sandi and Mike, her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
She is also survived by her nieces and nephews: The Stearns Family -- Hal Jo, Jim, Nancy, Michelle, Tom, Jeanie, and Tim; The Morris Family -- Michele, Michael, Sheila, Jack, and Brian; and The Kountz Family -- Kathe, Pat, Mark, and Greg.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill, her daughter Patti, her sisters Jean, Margaret, Mary Jo, Joan, and her brother Joe.
A Parish Vigil Service will be held Tuesday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. at Saint Teresa Church in Whitehall. Burial service will be on Wednesday, April 15 at 10:30 a.m. at Saint Teresa Church. Interment will be in the Whitehall Cemetery. A reception will be held at the St. Teresa Parish Center.
K & L Mortuaries
109 West Second
Whitehall, MT 59759
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Apr. 14, 2015