Marlene Bernice Anderson, 83, passed away December 3, 2020, in Butte, MT. She was born October 31, 1937, in Billings, MT, the second child and oldest daughter of George and Pauline (Heiser) Yurian. She grew up on farms in the Billings and Laurel areas, graduating from Laurel High School in 1955. Shortly after, she moved to Billings and worked at the Billings Clinic for the next year. Growing up, she said she wanted to marry a cowboy, and so her cousins found her one! Marlene married John Nicholas Anderson of Big Horn, MT, on May 26, 1956, and they spent the next 43 years working the family ranch there. In addition to raising Hereford and Angus cattle and alfalfa for hay, they both loved to garden and pored over seed catalogs as soon as they came in, dreaming in winter of the next harvest to come. She was an equal partner in the ranch, riding horses, fixing fence, and driving tractors, while also keeping house, cooking for branding and haying crews, canning and freezing, filling the yard with flowers, and keeping the ranch records in order.
In January of 1968, Marlene and John welcomed their daughter, Sandra Susan. Marlene had prayed to be a mother, and did a wonderful job of it. She spent 12 years traveling the 16 miles between the ranch and Custer, making sure Sandra got to and from school every day, as well as taking in every basketball game, band concert, and 4-H meeting. Then there were trips to Bozeman for the college days, and later to Butte and Great Falls, as Sandra moved around with her job. In 1999, Sandra was transferred back to Butte, and Marlene and John decided to retire off the ranch and move into her house in Great Falls.
Marlene loved Great Falls, and chose to stay there after John’s passing in 2001. She spent hours going to the farmers’ market, community concerts, and the symphony with her friend, Helen Marie Shortridge. She cherished getting together with Thelma Seyfert and Agnes Weinzetl, going out for lunch and then spending the afternoon playing cards. Her neighbors, Caroline Street Houtz and Jack Fisher, spent hours in conversation with her in the yard, where she planted her beloved tulips and set out flowers in pots.
In 2009, Marlene decided she was ready to move to Butte, to be closer to Sandra and her husband, Eric. Her move to a lovely single-floor condo allowed her to remain independent in her own home until the day before her passing, which was very important to her. She enjoyed reading, catching up on old TV shows, and visiting Sandra’s house to spoil the cats after the last of her many extremely well-loved pets was gone.
In addition to her parents and husband, Marlene was preceded by an infant brother, Merle Eugene, and sisters Beverly Yvonne Lennick and Carole Deanna Yurian; brothers-in-law Roy (Jane) Anderson and Eugene Anderson; sisters-in-law Dorothy (James) Ickes and Margaret (George ‘Bill’) Ickes; her cousin Joseph Ruff, who was also married to John’s sister; and special cousin James Ruff.
Marlene is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Sandra Anderson and William ‘Eric’ David; brother-in-law Floyd (Janice) Lennick; nieces Twila Sunden, Yvonne (Jerry) Bradbury, and Shawna Marsh (Frank Ullman); nephew Farron (Kathy) Lennick, and their families. She is also survived by sister-in-law Lillian Ruff; and nieces and nephews: Colleen (Robert) Huff, Jeanne (Randy) Nafts, Kathryn (John) Driscoll, Lynn (Doug) Toomey, Charlotte (Roger) Fettig, Alice Willey, Gary (Della) Ruff, Leslie Ruff, Yvonne (Steven) Herbst, and Scott (Annett) Ruff, and their families; and James’ wife Eleanor Ruff. She also enjoyed special relationships with great-niece Bobbie (Huff) Skaggs, her ‘other daughter’ Connie (Ruff) Kanta, and son-in-law Eric’s daughter Julie David.
Cremation has taken place, and in accordance with Marlene’s wishes, there will be no services. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to either of these, which were near and dear to her: Special K Ranch, PO Box 479, Columbus, MT 59019 or online at specialkranch.org; or 4 Paws Rescue, PO Box 13, Cardwell, MT 59721 or online at 4pawsrescuemt.org.
Please visit below to offer a condolence or share a memory of Marlene.
Axelson Funeral and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Marlene and her family.
Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.
Kathy E Henningsen says
Marlene and I shared many a times of popcorn and stories…Loves to the family and to Sandra and Eric.
Tichelle Ickes says
I am so sorry for your loss, Sandra and family. As a kid I loved going up to your parents’ yard during haying and we still make Marlene’s chocolate chip cookie recipe. I always enjoyed visiting with her in Great Falls and looked forward to her Christmas cards. Lots of love, Tichelle
Shawna Marsh says
Remembering my wonderful aunt and the special times spent with them during the summers at the ranch. I’m sure I got my “love of shopping” from her!!
Love & hugs to cousin Sandi & family,
Shawna (and Frank)
Virginia Gomer says
Marlene was in my graduating class at Laurel High School. Our class was not that big (77), so we all knew each other. I remember Marlene well and am sorry she is no longer with us. After reading her obituary, I can see where she led a wonderful life and was loved by many. My condolences go to her family.
Delorice Hill says
My dear friend I knew when I didn’t get a christmas card and letter something was wrong ,I just reread your last letter and card from 2019 always enjoyed our visits ,what a lady you were i sure did miss you when you left Great Falls now your 1 of God’s angles ,Sandra your mom was the best I always entered your relationship.