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Obituary: Nancy Lee (Burgess) Hopkins

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Posted at 12:39 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 14:39:28-04

Nancy Lee (Burgess) Hopkins, 66, of Bozeman, passed away August 7, 2021, surrounded by family, after a brief battle with cancer. She was born May 28, 1955, to Marge and Dave Burgess and cherished her life as a true native Bozemanite. As one of six children, Nancy grew up in a large and loving family which remained one of her biggest sources of joy and dedication throughout her life. She graduated from Bozeman Senior High School in 1973 and then carried on the family tradition as a Bobcat at Montana State University. Nancy married fellow Bobcat, Jack Hopkins, on August 20, 1983, and they welcomed their daughter, Molly, in November 1990.

Nancy graduated from Montana State University in December of 1978 with a degree in Elementary Education. She spent the next 34 years teaching at the middle school in Livingston, MT. During this time, she served in several capacities for the Livingston Education Association and on the Montana Education Association (MEA) Board of Directors. She held her students to a very high standard but was also a fierce advocate for them in and out of the classroom, often attending sporting events and theater productions in support. After she retired from public school teaching in 2013, she began working as an Adjunct Professor at Montana State University helping to teach Elementary Education majors before they began student teaching. In her 40+ years as an educator, she taught over 6,000 students, many of whom went on to become educators themselves.

Often the first to volunteer and the last to leave, Nancy devoted her life to helping others. She gave her time and her talents to countless organizations around the Gallatin Valley and across the state of Montana. She belonged to several Masonic organizations including Order of the Eastern Star, Daughters of the Nile, and International Order of the Rainbow for Girls. As a lifelong member of Bozeman United Methodist Church, she served on a myriad of committees and worked for a time as the administrator for Women’s Ecumenical Bible Study (WEBS). After her retirement from teaching middle school, she became a member of the PEO AU Chapter in Bozeman where she joined in their efforts to support scholarships for education. Her most rewarding work came with the Delta Gamma Fraternity as an alumna. She was instrumental in helping the Gamma Delta chapter at Montana State University re-establish itself in the Fall of 2019 after a 28-year absence. She truly embodied the fraternity’s motto to “Do Good” in every aspect of her life.

Nancy is survived by her husband, Jack; daughter, Molly (Justin) Brewer; granddaughter, Darby; the greatest corgi in the world, Clipper; beloved sisters and brothers, Marcia (Jim) Collins, Mike (Annie) Burgess, Chuck (Mary) Burgess, Connie (Bill) Phelps, and Debbie (Rob) Thurston; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

The family would like to extend their most sincere thanks to the staff of Bozeman Health Cancer Center and Hospice of Bozeman Health. A Celebration of Life will be held on January 8, 2022 at Bozeman United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the following: Delta Gamma Foundation, Bozeman United Methodist Church, Bozeman PEO AU Chapter, Bozeman Health Cancer Center, or Montana State University Alumni Foundation.