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Lavelle C. Saier
February 2, 1937 ~ August 16, 2023 (age 86) 86 Years Old
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Lavelle Cecilia (Mulvihill) Saier passed away peacefully at the Highgate Senior Living facility in Billings, Montana, on Aug. 16, 2023. She was 86 years old.
Lavelle was born in Billings on Feb. 2, 1937, to T.P. and Nell (Grant) Mulvihill, Jr.
She attended grade school in Columbus, and graduated from Holy Names Academy in Spokane, Washington, in 1955. She graduated from Montana State University (now University of Montana) in 1959 with a BS in Business Administration. She was a member of the MSU ski club and MSU Aquamaid Swim Club.
After graduation, Lavelle moved to Whitefish, Montana, and worked at the ski resort as a waitress and in the ski shop.
While working at the Whitefish resort ski shop, when the resort was inundated with guests, her boss greeted her by saying, “Guess what you’re going to be doing? Ski instructing.” When she informed him she had never taught skiing, he replied that she would catch on quickly.
Lavelle taught for five seasons in Whitefish, before relocating to Aspen, Colorado, to work for the Aspen Skiing Co. During this time, Lavelle met Al Saier of Ennis, Montana, and they were married in August of 1963 in Columbus. They would later divorce, but remained friends throughout their lives.
Lavelle was also a part of a team of ski instructors for the BOLD program (Blind Outdoor Leisure Development) and a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA/AASI) for over 60 years. In 1968, she was selected to be part of the 8th International Ski Instructors Congress. The ski instructors would demonstrate their country’s distinctive teaching techniques. The 1968 gathering was the only time it has ever been held in the U.S.
For several years, she was also involved in a simplified method of ski instruction known as “Breakthrough on Skis.”
She took only one season off after starting in Aspen in 1964. Her career abruptly ended in February 2015 when she was on a rare cross-country ski outing and fell and broke her hip. She formally retired 2017 and was recognized for 51 years of service by the Aspen Skiing Co.
During the off-ski season, Lavelle, traveled to Santa Monica every year (1965 to 2000) to teach private swimming lessons in the LA and Beverly Hills area.
When not living in Colorado or California, she resided at the family home in Columbus.
Lavelle loved travel, fine wines, sushi, big dogs, Corvettes and jazz.
Lavelle is predeceased by her parents, several aunts and uncles and a cousin (Pam McMillan).
Lavelle is survived by cousins: Mike (Janet) Grant; Brad (Kathi) Grant; Paul (Lynne) Grant; Judy LeMaster; and Bill (Mary) Enright.
Lavelle’s family would like to thank Highgate Senior Living staff and Compassus Hospice of Billings (especially Ashley Guthridge, RN and Shantel Similla, CNA) for the wonderful care she received for the past eight months. Also the family wishes to acknowledge the continued special friendships and support throughout the years provided by her friends living in Colorado, Washington, California, Florida and the Columbus area.
Graveside services will be held at 11:00am, Tuesday October 10, 2023 at Mountian View Cemetery, Columbus, MT.
Donations may be made to the Local Humane Society or donor’s choice.