Bette Luanne Kirscher died at the age of 94 on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2018, surrounded by family and Father Jeff Fleming. Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, at Franzen-Davis Funeral Home, 118 N. 3rd St., in Livingston, MT. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Livingston.
Bette was born on January 27, 1924 to George Burton "Burt" and Lola Mae (Thomas) Bonnell in Livingston, MT. Along with her parents and younger brother, Robert "Bob" Bonnell, she lived in the Shields Valley and in Clyde Park, MT during her early formative years. She graduated as Salutatorian of her class in Clyde Park in 1941.
Bette married Vincent R. Kirscher on February 10, 1942, in Livingston. Four children were born of this union: Bernard Lawrence; Kenneth Leslie; Virginia Faye; and Ralph Burton. Bette and Vincent resided east of Clyde Park on a ranch where they farmed and ranched from 1942 until 1969. In 1969, they sold the ranch, resided for a short time in Livingston and then moved to Polson, MT in 1973. Bette resided in Polson on Flathead Lake until 2011 when she moved to Missoula, where she resided at Brookdale Assisted Living until her death.
While living on the ranch, she was well-known for her good cooking, for which her family and hired hands raved. She also served as a 4-H leader for many years. She and Vincent were active in many local groups and annually participated in the Park County Pioneer Society. After moving to Polson, she remained active in several bridge clubs and the Priscilla Club, volunteered at the Country Store and served as an Election Judge for many years; she joked that she was one of the few available Democrats to serve in that capacity in Lake County.
Family and friends were very important to Bette. She always sent letters and cards to family and friends to celebrate special occasions and birthdays. When time didn’t permit a letter or card, she would call. Everyone seemed to reciprocate because she saved boxes of cards and letters.
Survivors include her daughter, Virginia Hartman of Maurertown, VA, and grandchildren: Brittney (Tim) Steeb of Mint Hill, NC, and Shane (Liza) Hartman of Virginia Beach, VA, and great- grandchildren: Hayden and Mia Hartman of VA; and her son and daughter-in-law, Ralph and Corinne Kirscher of Missoula, and grandchildren: Adron (Jenn) Kirscher of Missoula; Jacqueline (Drake) Van Zante of Lake Oswego, OR; and Brian Kirscher of Missoula, and great-grandchildren: Isabel Kirscher Perez, Ryan and Jack Kirscher, all of Missoula; and Logan and Cole Van Zante of Lake Oswego, OR. Several nieces and nephews survive: Judy (Rich) Inman; Jerry (Twila) Bonnell; Ed (Sherry) Flatt; Doris (John) Peterson; Ken (Eva) Flatt; Arlene Guptill; Connie (Rick) Miller; and Diana (Dennis) Miller. Cousins surviving include: Sharon McEntyre; Blaine Thomas; Kathryn Huttinga; Nancy DeGroot; Larry Thomas; and Jim Cain.
Bette was preceded in death by her parents, Burt and Lola, her husband, Vincent and infant sons, Bernard and Kenneth, her brother, Bob and sister-in-law, Joyce Bonnell, and her nephews, Ray Bonnell and Don Flatt.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Brookdale Assisted Living for its exceptional care while she resided there. Each staff member provided excellent comfort, compassion and support. Bette appreciated each one’s special talents.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in her name to Shields Valley Foundation, P.O. Box 18, Clyde Park, MT 59018; to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 1002 4th Ave. East, Polson, MT 59860-7023, or to donor’s choice.
Condolences may be mailed to Ralph Kirscher at 3922 Bellecrest Dr., Missoula, MT 59801.