Obituary: Margaret (“Margie”) Montague Mullen

Posted at 10:46 AM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 12:46:22-04

Margaret (“Margie”) Montague Mullen, our loving mother, grandmother and friend, passed away peacefully on July 11, 2022, with her daughters and a grandson at her bedside.

Margie was born on March 25, 1932, to Magdalene (‘Peggy’) Wagnild Montague and Harry Myers Montague, in Conrad, Montana. Her dad homesteaded in Collins, MT, and was a rural mail carrier. While comforts such as indoor plumbing and electricity didn’t arrive in Collins until after WWII, Margie’s life was rich with family, books and fresh air. She attended elementary school in Collins where she excelled in school and athletics. She graduated 8th grade, one in a class of two. Margie moved in with her aunt and uncle to attend high school in Choteau, MT, (the closest high school to Collins at the time) and graduated in 1950 as class valedictorian.

Margie matriculated at the University of Montana in 1950 and graduated with degrees in History and Education in 1955. She was a loyal Grizzly fan and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi national honors society, Phi Alpha Theta, history honorary society, and a member of the Alpha Phi sorority. She made lifelong friends as an Alpha Phi and continued to be active in it and served on the Pan Hellenic Board later at Montana State.

After college, Margie taught middle school at Cut Bank Junior High School and she spent her summers in Yellowstone Park working for Hamilton Stores, first at Canyon and then at Fishing Bridge. While working at the soda fountain at Fishing Bridge in the summer of 1957, she met seasonal ranger, Pierce Mullen. While it wasn’t exactly clear how much ‘protecting and serving’ Pierce did as a seasonal ranger, he looked good in the ranger uniform and Margie was smitten.

Margie and Pierce were married in a private ceremony in Missoula, MT, on August 7th, 1958, after which they moved to the Bay Area for Pierce to attend UC Berkeley as a doctoral student. Margie took a teaching position at Bret Harte Middle School in Hayward, CA, where she was an impactful teacher, remaining in contact with students from Bret Harte until her death.

In August 1963, Margie and Pierce moved to Bozeman, Montana, where Pierce had accepted a position in what was to become the Department of History at Montana State College. Daughter Lisa was born in 1964 and daughter Suze was born in 1967. While Margie did not work outside the home when her daughters were young, she championed their academic and extracurricular activities and supported Pierce in his career as a history professor at MSU in every way. She later worked in Career Planning & Placement at MSU, facilitating internships for liberal arts majors.

Margie was also active in parent/teacher organizations, was a Mortar Board advisor at MSU and was elected to the Bozeman School Board in 1979. During her six years on the school board, Margie became a fierce opponent of the banning of books and other political incursions into school curricula. Her commitment to education continued as a five-year board member of the Worthy Student Scholarship Fund.

Margie was initiated into PEO, a philanthropic organization that supports women’s education and career advancement, in 1973, and celebrated her 50-year anniversary as a PEO member in June of this year. She was fortunate to count many dear friends from the PEO chapters she belonged to.

Margie’s community involvement continued as she hosted fundraisers and canvassed for political candidates who shared her vision of what Bozeman and Montana could be. Everyone who knew Margie knew that they could count on a lively discussion of local, state and national elections.

Mostly, Margie was a fantastic grandma; her love for her four grandchildren was unconditional and ever-present.

Margie was pre-deceased by her beloved husband, Pierce, her parents and her sister, Mary Lou Johnson. Survivors include daughters, Lisa Mullen Salz (Don) and Lori Suzanne Engbretson (Michael) and grandchildren, Lena and Owen Engbretson and Nicholas and Annika Salz. Margie is also survived by her niece, Katherine Davis; her nephew, David Davis; and the extended Mullen family.

Margie and Pierce were an invincible team and she missed him terribly after he passed away in March of this year. They are walking hand in hand once again.

The family would like to express their gratitude to Margie’s dear friends from PEO and the Bozeman community who visited her regularly, the volunteers and clinicians at Enhabit Hospice, and the staff at Highgate Senior Living for their compassionate care.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Worthy Student Scholarship Fund (

) or to the Marge Keaton/Margaret Mullen PEO Scholarship Fund (Please make checks payable to Chapter BF P.E.O. and write Margie Mullen on the memo line. Send to the attention of Karen Toresdahl, 4695 Chaparrel Way Bozeman MT 59715).

A Celebration of Life for Margie and Pierce will be held at the Story Mansion on Saturday, July 30, 2022, at 12:30 P.M.

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