Mary Elizabeth Vadnais, 80, of Billings, passed away at RiverStone Hospice Home on Feb. 21, 2012.
Mary was born on Jan. 2, 1932, in Billings, the daughter of Harvey and Hildegaard Schroeder.
Mary lived a full life, and she often reflected on how she really had no regrets. Her husband made it possible for her to see parts of the country and even the world that this farm girl likely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see in other circumstances. She traveled to England and Canada, where her husband was stationed in the U.S. Air Force. Later, she and Dwight traveled all over the U.S., doing art shows selling kaleidoscopes and other wooden things.
She loved working at The Base Camp. It gave her a sense of pride, accomplishment and independence. She really loved working with the customers … helping them every step of the way, outfitting them for whatever adventure they were about to embark on. She enjoyed the company of her coworkers, even though there was a generation gap that often left her amused, at times, and baffled on others.
Speaking of clothes, Mary was one snazzy dresser. She loved shopping with her friends and family, plus finding a good buy — often at Costco (her fun secret).
She loved a good prank. She was known for sending anonymous articles in the mail to her brother and sister-in-law and her son-in-law. She also loved it when her grandson and son-in-law were the recipients of a funny birthday card and they didn’t get the joke.
Mary was the example of love … she demonstrated fierce loyalty to her family and generously gave of her time and self to dote on each of us. She remembered all birthdays, held many family meals and would just drop off baked goodies like cookies or banana bread whenever she baked. There was always plenty to share. She was a most excellent grandmother to her only grandson, Nick. She did all the traditional grandmotherly things with him, like having him for sleepovers and baking with and for him. However, she also did some less traditional activities with him, like taking him fishing at a “pay-to-fish” pond so he was sure to catch something, and taking him on two splendid vacations: New York and San Francisco. This was a special relationship shared only by grandchildren and grandparents. As a mother, Mary was tops. She taught her daughter how to laugh, be strong and tender at the same time.
Mary is preceded in death by her husband Dwight Vadnais; her son Craig; and her siblings Bill Schroeder, Virgie Railey, and Karen McHenry. She is survived by her daughter Gayle Lam, son-in-law Mark Lam of Billings; grandson Nick Lam, of Bozeman; and brothers Tom Schroeder and George “Chic” (Margie) Schroeder, of Billings; and many, many friends!
Cremation has taken place. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at King of Glory Lutheran Church. Private interment will be held at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Should friends desire, memorials may be given to any Hospice of the donors choosing. RiverStone Hospice deserves a special thank you for their tender care of Mary during her recent illness.