Cover photo for Helen 'Jo' Shipman's Obituary
Helen 'Jo' Shipman Profile Photo

Helen 'Jo' Shipman

d. November 26, 2020

    Helen "Jo" Shipman passed away on Thanksgiving Day November 26, 2020 from Covid-19. She was born in Winifred, Montana to Clyde and Nellie Carson. Jo completed high school in three years.  She attended and graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Spanish and Education. The next year she taught and coached volleyball, basketball and softball in Spray, Oregon. She returned to Montana and married Frank Kolar. They had 7 children, Nelita Kolar (Schlosser) deceased, Phillip Kolar (Darla), Laurence Kolar, Francine Cummings (Chet), Eleanor Doucette (Pat), Mary Kolar, Sheila Kolar-Gioioso (Michael). They eventually bought and moved to the ranch north of Lewistown and raised sheep. Frank Kolar passed away in 1965. Jo married David Shipman in 1970, bringing Andrew Shipman to the family. Together they had one child Zelda Boogman (Han).

Jo was a voracious reader and very interested in education and learning and encouraged her children to further their educations. She volunteered endlessly and always helped with youth programs. She was a 4-H leader for over 50 years and involved in Junior Rifle for over 30 years.  She was involved with the Brooks school scholarship program and the Brooks Community Club.  She was instrumental in starting the Maiden School Scholarship.  

She volunteered at a local donation center helping distribute clothing to the needy and assisted with shipping donations overseas. For many years, she was part of an organization that put together food donations for Christmas baskets. She was a member of the Central Montana Fibre Arts Guild and Master Gardeners.  For nearly 40 years she gave the grain market report on the radio on behalf of the WIFE organization on a daily basis. Jo also served on various boards including the Mental Health Board, the Governor's Mental Health Board, Fergus County Community Council, Fergus Farm Mutual Board of Directors and many others up until her death.

In addition to her many service and volunteer positions, Jo enjoyed many craft projects including quilting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, needlework and hook rugs. She also had a large vegetable garden with flowers and apple trees.

In appreciation of her Irish decent, Jo made several trips to Ireland to explore the homeland of her ancestors.    

Jo is survived by her brother Clyde Carson, her second husband, 8 children, 22 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, first husband, 6 siblings, 1 daughter, and 2 grandchildren.

A private memorial will be held at a later date, cremation has taken place with the Cloyd Funeral Home assisting the family.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Central Montana Foundation for the Lewistown Library. P.O. Box 334 Lewistown, MT  59457 and they may be left with the Cloyd Funeral Home.  Condolences for the family may be posted online at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Helen 'Jo' Shipman, please visit our flower store.


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