Mary E. Fuller (1931 - 2011)

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Mary Emelie (Opstad) Fuller died Oct. 1, 2011, at age 79. Born Oct. 18, 1931, in Ellensburg, Wash., Mary was the daughter of Edwin R. and Hermia Opstad of Snoqualmie, Wash., and grew up in the Snoqualmie Valley.

She graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in music, and performed roles in a number of the School of Music's opera productions during her time at UW. She was a member of Sigma Kappa sorority.

Mary auditioned for and won a place in the chorus of the national tour of "Oklahoma." For a young woman from a small Northwest town, the year-long tour was an amazing and memorable experience.

After returning to Washington, Mary married Marvin Durham and they had three children together. The family moved from the Snoqualmie Valley to Wenatchee, Wash., and in 1964, to Burlington, Vt. Mary worked in the University of Vermont library and was very active singing with the UVM Baroque Ensemble.

She married M.L. Fuller in 1968, and in 1970 they moved to Bozeman.

Although she had a number of different occupations over the years, music and teaching music were most important to her. She taught at Montana State University (where she earned a Master of Music Education degree), and Rosary School, and gave voice lessons at home. Mary became music director for Holy Rosary Parish in 1976 and held that position until her retirement in 1997.

She loved to perform and is still remembered in Wenatchee for her stage work there, particularly in "The King and I" and "Amahl and the Night Visitors." The UVM Baroque Ensemble presented concerts regionally in the New England area. Here in Bozeman, she gave many recitals at MSU and also was musical director for several stage productions.

Another pleasure for Mary was weaving, and her lovely handwoven linens were featured and sold in a number of galleries in the area. In addition, she spent several years volunteering at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.

Mary was preceded in death just weeks ago by her brother, Edwin A. Opstad.

She is survived by her husband, M.L. Fuller; sons, Tom (Tina) of Albuquerque, N.M., Fritz (Karyn) of Boise, Idaho; daughter, Mia (Andrew) of Ellensburg, Wash.; and by her grandchildren, Chandler and Sean Durham, Emma and Holland Spencer and Fritz Kessler.

A memorial service is planned for a later date. For more information regarding a service, please email, It will also be announced through Holy Rosary Parish.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Oct. 7, 2011
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