Jewel “Julie” (Mattson) Halverson passed away at her home on Feb. 9, 2019.
She was born on a ranch in Grove Creek Valley near Fishtail on May 14, 1932, the youngest child of Martin A. Mattson and Ida Blegen Mattson. Her older brother and sister were in high school when she was born, so she was basically raised as an only child. Julie had an adventurous childhood on the ranch, trailing her father, the hired men and sheepherders, falling out of trees, climbing on the barn roof, dressing up the cats and dogs, and crawling into a coyote den to try to save the pups from being killed. She attended Grove Creek School, a one-room schoolhouse three miles from her home. She walked, rode horseback, or skied to school, “uphill both ways” as she told her kids.
After her parents retired and moved to Billings Heights, Julie attended school at Lincoln Junior High and Billings Senior High, graduating in 1950. She attended Eastern Montana College, obtaining an associate’s degree in education. During college, she was active in drama and editor of the college newspaper. While in college, she met her future husband, Earl J. Halverson. They were married on Aug. 16, 1952, and moved to Harlowton, where Earl taught and Julie worked as a secretary for the Milwaukee Railroad. After two years, they moved back to Billings, where Earl taught for Billings Public Schools and eventually became a school administrator. Julie worked for Pure Oil Company until the birth of their first child, Mark. Their second child, Lori, was born four years later. Julie was a loving and supportive parent. She was involved in many of her children’s activities, including Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. While raising her family, she was involved in Junior Women’s Club, the YWCA, and a member of Mayflower Congregational Church.
Julie returned to Eastern Montana College in 1973 to complete a bachelor’s degree in education. She taught kindergarten for 20 years at Newman Elementary. In 1992, Julie was recognized as an outstanding educator with a Golden Apple Award. She loved teaching kindergarten and was an amazing teacher. She loved having former kindergarten students greet her years later and ask her if she recognized them; she always told them they looked just the same except they had more teeth now. Julie retired from teaching in 1995. She was a member of the Alpha Alpha Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma. She loved to travel, enjoying several trips to Europe and trips with Global Grannies after her retirement.
Julie was an avid gardener and a member of the Sow and Grow Garden Club since 1962. She was a Master Gardener and a member of the Botanical Society of ZooMontana. She could be found most Monday mornings during the growing season in the Sensory Garden at the Zoo, offering her years of gardening wisdom and experience.
A stroke 10 years ago slowed her down; Julie had an amazing recovery due to her hard work, positive attitude and wonderful caregiving offered by her husband, Earl. In recent years, she became a loving caregiver to Earl. For at least the last eight years, Julie and Earl have had lunch every day at the Muzzleloader Café; the staff and regulars were like a second family to them.
Julie was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Wallace Mattson; and her sister, Ila Mae (Mattson) Rutter. She is survived by her immediate family: Earl, her husband of 66 years; a son, Mark Halverson and his wife, Edee Edwards of Quincy, Massachusetts; a daughter, Lori Cornish and her husband, Don Cornish, of Billings; and her beloved grandson, Spencer Cornish, of Bozeman.
Memorials may be made to the Botanical Society of ZooMontana, Mayflower Congregational Church, or a charity of one’s choice. A memorial service will be held in the summer.