Joan Mazzucola

Joan Mazzucola

Joan Louise Budeau Mazzucola, 73, of Billings, passed away on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, at her home, after a long battle with cancer, with her sister and daughter by her side.

Joan was born in Havre on July 17, 1942, to Albert and Leora (Wendland) Budeau, and raised in Rudyard, Mont. Growing up, she helped on the farm, driving grain truck during harvest and being the big sister to siblings Paul and Gail. She participated in Girls State, played trumpet in the band and graduated as valedictorian of the Rudyard High School class of 1960. She went on to college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

She married and, after the birth of her son, Kevin, moved to Bayonne, N.J., where her daughter Beth was born. Being on the East Coast was an adventure for the Montana native and, later in life, adventures were her standard. She moved back to Montana to be closer to family and worked for Mountain Bell in Helena, where she raised her children.

After both kids graduated from high school and went on to do the same at the University of Montana, Joan began her adventures that would lead all over the world. She took an early retirement, bought a van and made a solo trip to Florida, exploring many states. She worked the summer seasons in Yellowstone Park and wintered in the Flathead Valley, then worked at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula. Joan moved to Billings in 1995 after the birth of her first grandchild. She worked at the Billings Clinic switchboard, where she made many wonderful friends.

Joan was an idol to many because she went out in the world and did things that most only thought about doing. She went to Europe several times, trips to Hawaii, Panama Canal and Cancun, cruises to Alaska, Mexican Riviera and the Mediterranean with her close friends. A special sister trip with Gail of a Rhine River cruise. She bought a convertible in Philadelphia while visiting her son’s family and drove back to Montana. Train trips to Chicago and the Oregon coast. Visited her brother Paul many times in San Francisco. Rented homes on both sides of the country, as she loved the shore. She was a proud, supportive, adventurous grandmother and aunt. She took her grandchildren and nephews to historical sites, zoos, museums and Broadway plays. Everything was in play for Joan.

She was the matriarch, she was the strength, she was the moral compass of our family. She taught us never to be afraid to do something … just do. Joan valued hard work, pragmatism and humbleness. Grandma Joan, may your strength give us strength, your faith give us faith, your hope give us hope and may your love give us love.

Joan is survived by her son, Kevin (Gina) and their children, Jack and Madia of Philadelphia; her daughter, Beth (Jay) Wartnow and their children, Kellen (University of Pennsylvania) and Addison of Billings; brother Paul of San Francisco; sister Gail (Jim) Brady of Bozeman; nephews Colin Brady and Dane (Kirsten) Brady, and great-nephew Matthew.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 26, at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 2236 St. Johns Ave., with a reception following.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Mount Olive Lutheran Church or RiverStone Hospice.

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