Betty Mae (Stilson) Maruska died peacefully in her sleep on December 1, 2021 at the Valle Vista Skilled Nursing Facility in Lewistown, Montana at the age of 83.
Betty was born on January 16, 1938 in Lewistown, Montana to George and Lorna (Miner) Stilson. She rode the Hanover school bus to attend elementary school at the Lincoln School, junior high at the Junior High School, and proudly graduated a Golden Eagle from Fergus High School in 1956. While in high school, she was an active member of the Glengarry Livewires 4-H Club and in 1955 had the honor of attending National 4-H Congress in Chicago. Betty went on to attend and graduate from Montana State College with a BSEd in Home Economics Education. While attending college in Bozeman, she was a member of Phi Omega and secretary of Honor Society. Upon graduation, she met Johnny Maruska of Roy, Montana and had her first date with him on New Year's Eve at the Eagles Club. They were married on May 12, 1962 in Lewistown at the First Presbyterian Church. It started to rain on that very day, and their planned honeymoon to Yellowstone National Park had to be changed to a trip to Fort Peck Dam because the highways had been washed out due to the flooding. Johnny and Betty lived and ranched on Box Elder Creek near Bohemian Corners for 53 years, where she helped with farming, stacking hay bales, calving cows in addition to making big meals for brandings and shipping's. They were blessed with a son, George, in 1971. Betty and her family experienced everything from drought to grasshoppers to fire to sickness to raising over 300 chickens until she returned to teaching.
Betty went back to the classroom in 1985 as the Special Education and Kindergarten teacher at Roy Public Schools. She later attended Montana State University to renew her teaching certificate and then started an Art and Home Economics program at Roy High School, where she retired from after a 20-year teaching career. Betty was a strong believer in the Roy Community and was an active founding member of the Valley View Extension club; spending hours collecting grass and wheat sheaves to display in the community booth at the Central Montana Fair. Betty was also an active member of the Roy Prairie Piecemakers Sewing club, spending hours sewing and quilting which she loved; the American Legion Auxiliary, the Central Montana (Cowbells) Cattlewomen, and the Roy and Lewistown Presbyterian Churches. In retirement, Betty loved to travel with George. They toured Europe three different times, where they visited the cities of Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, and Vienna. Later they made yearly ventures to New York City where they attended countless Broadway Shows; her favorites being Phantom of the Opera and My Fair Lady. No matter how much traveling Betty did in her later years, she always loved the hometown and community that she grew up in.
Betty is survived by her son, George of Lewistown; and her sister-in-law's Geri Stilson of Lewistown and Jeane Maruska of Coeur d' Alene, Idaho; as well as numerous nieces and nephews who adored their "Aunt Betty." She is preceded in death by her husband, her parents; and a brother, Joe Stilson of Lewistown.
Visitation will be Monday, December 6, 2021, 4-6pm at Cloyd Funeral Home. Funeral services for Betty Mae Maruska will be Tuesday, December 7th, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. in the First Presbyterian Church of Lewistown with cremation to follow. Inurnment will be at a later date in the Central Montana Memorial Gardens. Cloyd Funeral Home is assisting the family.
Friend are asked to make memorials to the Roy Endowment and Home Health of Central Montana or the charity of their choice and may be left at the Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences for the family can be posted online at www.cloydfuneralhome.com.