Obituary: Betty Nelson Miller

Betty Naylor Nelson Miller.jpg
Posted at 1:29 PM, Jan 31, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-31 15:29:51-05

Betty Naylor Nelson Miller passed away on January 15, 2024 at her residence at Birchwood Assisted Living in Bozeman, Montana after a long period of declining health. She was under the excellent and loving care of close friends and family members, Enhabit Home Health Care and Hospice, the Birchwood staff, and Qualicare Big Sky. She was born on April 23,1937 to Gordon K. and Pearl “Polly” S. Naylor in Fargo, North Dakota where the family lived until moving to Havre, Montana in 1942. After her father’s death in 1950, she and her mother moved to Bozeman where her mother taught school.

After graduation from high school, Betty worked at the Gallatin Trust and Savings Bank for one year before attending Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota for two years where she always said she “loved every minute.” After her return to Bozeman, she continued to work at the bank where she met her future husband, Dean Lee Nelson. They were married on June 4, 1959. They lived in the Bozeman/Belgrade area until they moved to West Yellowstone, Montana in June of 1966 where they opened the first bank in the area with the support of the officers and directors of Security Bank and Trust Company in Bozeman.

Betty and Dean enjoyed their life in West Yellowstone, working hard and participating in many outdoor activities such as skiing, snowmobiling, golfing, and bicycling. They also enjoyed time spent with their family including many holidays. Their grandchildren, Jake and Shelly, spent every summer with them. They retired in the fall of 1983 and were fulltime RVers for the next four years which Betty loved. They spent the winters in St. George, Utah and the summers in Bozeman. In 1990, they built a home in Las Vegas, Nevada where they lived for 11 years, summering in Bozeman. They returned to Bozeman in 2001 due to Dean’s declining health. He passed away on May 23, 2003.

Bettys second marriage was to Robert N. “Bob” Miller on July 4, 2005 at their home in Dillon, Montana in the presence of both of their families. They experienced five wonderful years together, taking many trips and purchasing a winter home in Las Vegas. They loved taking care of their beautiful yard, Arabian horses, and feeding a multitude of birds. Betty enjoyed reading, shopping with her great-grandchildren, dining out, keeping in touch with friends all over the country, and spending any time she could with family. She absolutely loved traveling and the many trips she made to visit and attend family events in other states. The Oregon coast was one of her favorite places in the world.

After Bob’s death on January 24, 2010, Betty continued to live in their home on Arabian Lane and spend winters in Las Vegas. When she turned 80, she made the decision to make her home in Bozeman, residing at Hillcrest Senior Living, Aspen Pointe and Birchwood. She endured her health struggles over her final years with grace and dignity. Betty was a strong Christian who was a member of Lutheran, Methodist, and Episcopal churches with her last church home being St. James Episcopal in Dillon.

Betty loved children. One of her favorite writings was, “One hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much was in my bank account, nor what my clothes looked like. But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.” Betty made an impact on many children who became her own through love, not birth. She was a Girl Scout leader for a period of time and cherished that experience. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were incredibly important to her, and she was blessed to have granddaughter Chelsey and her children, London and Sayre, live close to her in Bozeman.

From her first marriage to Dean, Betty is survived by two stepchildren, Linda Garrett and Joe Nelson, and former daughter-in-law and dear friend, Kathy Whitesitt; grandchildren, Sheri Sullivan (Todd), Shelly Sullivan, Jacob Nelson (Christina), and Lana Sue Schreyer (Carl); great-grandchildren, Sharaya Sullivan, ShiJia Sullivan, Bridger Sullivan, Samantha Nelson, Lenya Schreyer, Phoenyx Schreyer, Finley Schreyer; and great-great-grandson, Kayden Humphries.

From her second marriage to Bob, she is survived by four stepchildren, Cherie Stevens (Wayne), George Miller (Bonnie), Kathie Drew (David), and Terry Miller (Bill); and grandchildren, Robert Stevens (Heidi), John Stevens (Sharon), Chris Stevens-Yu (Nick), Shawn Miller, Melinda Newman (Randy), Jordan Miller, Marcus Drew (Kelly), Chelsey Drew, and Sarah Irwin (Alora). Great-grandchildren include Brittany Stevens, Zachary Stevens (Rebekah), Samuel Stevens, Peter Mora Stevens, Oriah Mora Stevens, Coleen Kyne, Joey Kyne, Kevin Todd-Yu, Thomas Todd-Yu, Alison Loveless (Kaine), Daniel Fuhriman, Alex Newman, Brayden Newman, Emma Newman, Storm Miller, Royce Miller, Emerson Drew, London Hyland, and Sayre Hyland; and great-great-granddaughter, Amelia Loveless. Many wonderful hours were spent with Grammy B doing a variety of fun activities such as feeding the birds, shopping, dining out, going to the bookstore, and just spending time together.

She is survived by many nieces and nephews as well as dear friends who were like family to her and loving extended family members including Cassandra Elpel (daughter, Emerson), Maryjo and Martin Stanek family, Rachel Kittel and Sean Bryer (children, Lochlan and Remington), Susie Brower Fauske (Dean), Melanie and Mark Tyler, and Judy Merry. She is also survived by brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Marvin and Patricia Miller, and sister-in-law, Irene Miller.

Betty is predeceased by first husband, Dean Nelson, second husband, Robert Miller, her parents, half-brother, Gordon Naylor, aunts and uncles including Harvey and Betty Shaw, sisters-in-laws and brothers-in-law including Bob’s first wife Norma Jean Miller, Jeanne and Robert Harrison, Stewart Burwell, Patricia Burwell, John and Phylis Burwell, Rose and Dick Pierce, Frank and Carol Burwell, Gordon Miller, Marion Miller (Jack), James Miller, Joan Schiable, Jean Hubach, Jane Gates, and Jack Miller. Betty lovingly cared for many dear friends and family members during their final illnesses.

Betty’s often-expressed wish was to be cremated and have her ashes interred next to both Dean in Bozeman and Bob in Dillon. A Bozeman Celebration of Life for Betty will be held on April 19 at 2:00 P.M. at Bozeman United Methodist Church. The Dillon Celebration of Life for Betty will be held on July 6 at 11:00 A.M. at St. James Episcopal Church, officiated by her grandson, Rev. John W. Stevens.

Memorial gifts in Betty’s honor can be made to the Beaverhead Community Food Pantry, Box 1356, Dillon, MT 79725 or to the charity of your choice.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. []