Raegene Wickham left this earthly home on Monday, April 29, 2013 surrounded by all her sons and their families. She was 86.
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Raegene was born in Leaf River, Ill. in 1927, daughter to Harvey and Hazel Garner. Her father ran the local feed store in Leaf. She attended Leaf River High School and Illinois Normal State University, majoring in music education. Her strengths in music included piano, voice and cornet. Her mother insisted she learn to play organ so she would always be employable in the church. She played cornet in an all female marching band, as all the men were at war.
After college, she taught music in Stockton, Ill. before being recruited to teach in Glasgow, Mont. She taught choir and elementary music in Glasgow and played the organ in the Congregational Church. By spring of 1954 she was ready to leave Glasgow, but decided to stay another year to see how the newly hired band director, Gordon Wickham, would work out. Gordon and Raegene were married in December. A quick honeymoon to the Flathead Lake area would lead to a long-term love of Montana. Raegene loved to talk of her many trips to Glacier and Yellowstone. She would always share how proud she was to live in Montana.
In 1966, Raegene moved to Bozeman with her husband and five children. She played the organ at the Congregational, Methodist and First Baptist churches over the years. She taught piano lessons to countless young musicians as well as accompanied many music students for state and district music festivals.
Raegene's greatest love was her family. She was a devoted wife and mother of five. After her husband passed in 1985, she became active in water aerobics and made many new friends through her swimming. Her circle of friends grew during her later years at Spring Meadows Assisted Living in Bozeman.
She is preceded in death by her parents, one brother who died in infancy, four sisters, her husband, Gordon and daughter, Margaret. She is survived by her sons, John (Jan) of Las Vegas, Nev., Nat (Susan) of Greeley, Colo., Cameron (Fan) of Springfield, Mo., and Daniel (Claudia) of Federal Way, Wash., seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Mom was the rock of the family.
Her family would like to thank the Spring Meadows Assisted Living staff and all the caregivers in Bozeman, whom she grew to know, for loving our mom. Donations may be made in her memory to Meals on Wheels of the Bozeman Senior Center. A celebration of life memorial service will be held at the First Baptist Church, 120 South Grand Avenue in Bozeman on July 1, 2013 at 2 p.m. A reception will follow.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on June 16, 2013