Maeona Esther Weldon Smith passed away at home, surrounded by her loving family, on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015.
She was born on May 16, 1923, on the Weldon Homestead in Blue Creek, Mont. She was the daughter of Orville and Elizabeth Weldon. Maeona was raised on the family ranch with her five brothers and sister. Her elementary years were spent at Basin Creek and Blue Creek schools. She was in the first graduating class from Billings Senior High in 1941. After high school, she attended Billings Deaconess School of Nursing. Maeona married her high school sweetheart, Frank Smith, on June 3, 1944, in Columbus. Maeona and Frank enjoyed 56 years of marriage until Frank’s death. They made their home in Billings, where they shared life centered on their children, their family and many friends. They enjoyed camping, boating and traveling. Maeona and Frank were members of the Elks’ Club, where they often square-danced and socialized with their many friends.
After her wedding, Maeona traveled to North Carolina to join Frank. She got her first nursing job at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bern, N.C. Frank was stationed at Cherry Point Marine Air Base in Havelock, N.C. It was at St. Luke’s Hospital that her first son, Jackson, was born. Maeona returned to Billings in 1945 while Frank was stationed in the South Pacific.
Her proudest achievements were her children and her nursing career. In Billings, she worked in maternity and the newborn nursery at St. Vincent Hospital, then joined Dr. Marian Jones, a pediatrician, until her retirement in 1988. She was especially proud that many of her family members pursued careers in the healthcare field. Maeona enjoyed having her large family around her, and each of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren knew how much she loved them. Some family and friends called her “Bocky,” a name of endearment given her by granddaughter Tammy. Each of her grandchildren lovingly cherish the crocheted afghans she made them for high school graduation. Her hobbies included bowling, baking, traveling, golfing, dancing and gambling. In her later years, she enjoyed tending to her yard and her flowers, especially her roses. Maeona was a member of St. Thomas Catholic Church, and participated in the women’s circle, where she made many lifelong friends. She was an avid sports fan, supporting her children and grandchildren, and the Denver Broncos.
Maeona reunited with her special friend, Jack VanDaveer, in 2004 at the Blue Creek Homestead reunion. They shared a wonderful friendship for six years until Jack died in 2010. They took many trips together, including a cruise to Alaska. Maeona formed a deep and loving bond with Jack’s children.
Maeona was preceded in death by her parents; an infant sister, Hazel; her husband, Frank; her four brothers, George, Ben, Clinton and Chuck; her special sister, Delores; son Jackson Pugh; and grandson Kevin Mudd. She is survived by her brother, Richard “Dick” (Monica) Weldon of Blue Creek; daughter-in-law Katy Pugh of Oriental, N.C.; children Beverly (Paul) Lindley of Nye, Gregory (Julie) Smith of Billings, Lana (Patrick “Boomer”) Thompson of Molt, Frank (Marcia) Smith of Van Nuys, Calif., DeeDee Smith (Ken) Kostelecky of Billings and Scott (Paige) Smith of Boise, Idaho. Maeona is also survived by 26 grandchildren, Ashley Tointon, David Pugh, Lisa Losness, Becky Bell, Libby Wenderski, Danielle Watson, Matt Mudd and Jon Mudd; Andrea Smith, Janna Leintz and Jenny Smith; Tammy Aksamit, Chanda Lytton, Shauna Leeds, PJ Thompson; Heather Klatwitter, Dr. Brittany Lamoureux, Travis Smith, Dr. Joshua Smith; Andrew Beck, Jason Miller, Brandi Dedmore, Tara Eddy, Chelsie Yates; Shelby Smith, Sydney Smith; numerous step-grandchildren and 42 great-grandchildren.
Maeona shared her gift of compassion and nurturing with family members and many friends over the years, comforting them during illness and times of need. She lived her life to the fullest, enjoying each day. Her deep faith in God sustained her until the end of her wonderful life.
The family would like to extend special thanks to the staff at Valley Health and Rehab Center, especially Mae Baltazar.
The casket will be open for visitation beginning at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave. Vigil service will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18, at Michelotti-Sawyers. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, at St. Thomas Catholic Church, 2055 Woody Drive. Burial will follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Memorials may be made to RiverStone Hospice or the charity of your choice.