Mary Helen Millett, 88, passed away peacefully Friday, Sept. 25, 2009, at Mountain View Health Care in Bozeman, after a long battle with complications from cancer.
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Mary was born Dec. 30, 1920, in San Raphael, Calif., to Mabel and Joseph Noonan. When she was 2 years old, her family moved to Alameda, Calif., where she grew up during the Great Depression which taught her to appreciate and be content with all the simple things in life.
In 1940, at age 20, Mary met and married Robert E. Cook. Soon afterwards, World War II broke out and her husband joined the Navy. Mary went to work for the Alameda Shipyards to help with the war effort while her husband was overseas. After the war was over, she and Robert moved to Oakland, Calif., where Robert became a police officer. In 1947, their first child, Susan, was born. Then in 1949, they moved to Reno, Nev., where Robert took a job at the sheriff's office and Mary worked for the federal government as a switchboard operator and then a stenographer.
In 1953, Mary and her family moved to Nevada's capital, Carson City, where she worked for more than 10 years at the Legislative Counsel Bureau as a supervisor, where she oversaw the mock-up of all bill legislation for the Senate and the House of Representatives. Her second child, Philip, was born during this time.
In 1973, after she and Robert divorced, Mary moved to Santa Barbara, Calif., with Philip. There she met the love of her life, George Millett, and they married shortly after. They both felt pulled to go to Washington, D.C. They lived and worked there until they retired. Mary worked for the architect of the Capital for 12 years as a secretary-stenographer.
Upon retiring, Mary and George moved to Livingston. They loved the mountains, fresh air and Big Sky Country as well as being close to their daughter and granddaughter. From the time their granddaughter, Jenny, was a year old until she was 12, the family tradition was to have two birthday parties every year for her. Her second party was at Grandma's house with fried chicken and all the trimmings, as well as a unique birthday cake each year.
Mary loved being active in her church in Livingston where she served as a board member and lay sister helping those in need and also teaching Sunday School. She loved the outdoors and spent her free time taking long walks, going to the park, traveling and camping with George. She loved to read and never felt she was too old to learn something new.
She had a theatrical side to her, too. For many years, she and George played the grandma and grandpa in the Christmas performance of the Nutcracker ballet in Livingston. They also were extras in the film, "A River Runs Through It," when Robert Redford was filming in the Livingston area.
She will be greatly missed by her family and friends. Her lovely smile, warm-hearted nature and generosity touched and enriched many lives. Her courage and patience during years of great physical suffering were remarkable. She never stopped smiling and never stopped loving.
She was preceded in death by her husband, George Millett; ex-husband, Robert Cook; brother, Lloyd Noonan; and sister, Patricia (Noonan) Wright.
Mary is survived by her brother, Joseph Noonan; daughter, Susan Zeter and son-in-law, David; her son, Phil Cook and his wife, Yvonne; her grandchildren, Jenny (Zeter) Beebout, Caitlyn Cook, Kristen Cook, Kevin Cook, and Claira Cook; and a great-grandson, Joseph Beebout.
A service will be held during Mary's cremation at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, 113 S. Willson Ave., Bozeman.
Memorials may be sent to email@example.com, or mailed to 911A Dimaggio Drive, Belgrade, MT 59714.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service; www.dokkennelson .com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Sept. 29, 2009