Phyllis, 82, passed away Monday, March 11th, at St. John’s Nursing Home in Billings, surrounded by her loving family. She was born to Charles and Annie Guckes on January 24, 1931 in Des Moines, IA.

During the depression and war years, the family moved often, finally settling in St. Paul, MN. On her first day of work at First National Bank in Minneapolis, she met a young man who became the love of her life, Martin Olson. Phyllis and Marty were married January 10, 1951.

Their first son, Martin Christopher, was born July 1, 1952. Four other children followed: Jeffrey, Laurie, David and Mike. As an only child, Phyllis had longed for a larger family, and she was indeed blessed.

They lived in Renville, MN until they moved to Conrad, Montana in 1969 to be near the mountains that Phyllis and Marty loved. Phyllis’ dream of being able to see the mountains from her living room window was fulfilled. She worked as Executive Administrative Assistant at the Pondera Medical Center in Conrad for many years, but her main job was raising 5 children.

After retirement Marty and Phyllis settled in Hamilton, MT. They loved the community surrounded by the mountains and made many lasting friendships. Phyllis and Marty loved to travel, taking many trips to Hawaii, Arizona, Florida and California.

As a cancer survivor, she was very active with the American Cancer Society and was named Montana Volunteer of the year in 1996.

In 2005, Phyllis and Marty moved to Billings. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2006. She was the first participant accepted into an Alzheimer’s drug trial in Billings. It was a long commitment but one she was willing to make. She said it may not help her, but she wanted to do it for her children and grandchildren.

As a devoted mother, Phyllis’ main joy was her family. She is survived by Marty, her loving husband of 62 years, children: Chris, grandsons Jonathan and Michael of Helena; Jeff of Great Falls; Laurie Preitauer, (husband Fred), grandson Nick, wife Sara, great-grandchildren Dominic & Mariah, grandson Adam, all of Billings; David, (wife Jean), grandchildren, Benjamin, Andrew, Anna and Samuel of Madison, WI; Michael, (wife Nancy), granddaughter Amanda of San Jose, CA.

Phyllis was preceded in death by her loving parents, Charles and Annie.

Mom, you showed us the true meaning of unconditional love. You always told us what a blessed life you had had and you have blessed all of us. Rest now, sweet lady in the arms of our Lord and your Mom and Dad. We love you. You said, “never tell me good-bye”, so until we are together again, “we’ll see you later”.

Memorial donations may be made to River Front Park, Rocky Mountain Hospice or the charity of your choice. We thank the staff of St John’s and Rocky Mountain Hospice for all their loving care for Phyllis.

Memorial services will be 2pm Saturday in the Ocee Johnson Chapel, St. John’s Lutheran Nursing Home.


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