FORT BENTON Winifred "Winnie" Appleby, 90, of Fort Benton, died of pneumonia Monday, March 18, at a local healthcare facility.
A celebration of her life is 1 p.m. Saturday at at the Fort Benton United Methodist Church. A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Croxford Funeral Home.
Winnie had been sick with this cough and cold, which turned into pneumonia. But could we all be lucky enough to only spend one day in the hospital after having had a very healthy and long life?
Winifred Ione Young was born in Great Falls on Dec. 15, 1922. She grew up in Fort Benton, graduating in 1940, and went on to attend MSU-Bozeman for a couple of years until going to work to support the war effort. She also worked at the Port of Embarkation in the summers with her sister Verna-Kay, as that was where the men were. She became a Western Airlines stewardess flying from California up through Colorado to Montana, and on a stopover in Cheyenne, Wyo., she met Marvin Appleby, and they were married in Fort Benton on Dec. 21, 1945.
They raised Susie, Bob and Leslie, while working at the Pioneer Insurance Agency, which they owned for 35 years, and then remodeling the Pioneer Mercantile building into the Pioneer Lodge in 1986, and it is still family owned and operated. She played piano with Agnes Hough at the organ for the Fort Benton United Methodist Church for more than 35 years and also served in many other ways over the years. It was her parents, Fred and Hazel Young, who donated the chimes and the hand bells to the church.
Winnie and Marvin had very active lives, enjoying bowling, playing bridge, dancing at the Elks Club
, musicals at the Bigfork Theatre in the summers, cruising with family, gambling and trips and cruises with the Kiwanis International, of which Marvin was a member for more than 50 years. Then they also enjoyed their motor home trips in the 1990s.
Mom was very kind, good hearted, never had a bad word about anyone and loved playing bridge, whether in Great Falls at the Duplicate Bridge Club or with the different ladies in Fort Benton. She reminded me to set up that one last bridge game. She played (and how she could play!) at the MRMC every Sunday for many years - one of her great joys and wonderful talents to share! We will never get a video of Winnie playing all of her old songs just from a list of titles....amazing! She loved hearing from her grandchildren, all nine of them, but will miss Kailee's high school graduation and Mark's college graduation, being there in spirit, thankful for their accomplishments.
She still walked whenever possible and, even if the weather was not too cooperative, still felt that she should get out for some fresh air. Her almost daily walk was to the Golden Age Center for lunch. She also still drove her car and enjoyed her independence. And what great health - taking only an aspirin a day.
Winnie leaves behind her daughter, Susie (Chuck) and her daughters, Celeste (Scott) and Shaina and 6 great-grandchildren; son Bob (Sandy) and his daughters, Kristi, Kelly (Nick) and two great-grandchildren and Mark; and Amanda, Justin, Samantha (one great-grandchild) and Kailee Davidson.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her four siblings; her husband, Marvin; and her daughter, Leslie Davidson.
Condolences may be posted online at www.croxfordfuneralhome.com