On Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, Regina Middleton passed from this life after a long and adventurous life.
Dorothy Regina Middleton was born on Jan. 2, 1918, in a homestead dugout 14 miles southwest of Jordan, to her parents, Joseph and Frances Graham. Regina was raised with her brother, Caroll Graham, and her sister, Allene Murdock, both who have predeceased her.
When Regina was about 9 years old, the family moved to the remote valley in the Big Horn Mountains near Lodge Grass, where the family lived and relatives still operate the ranch today. Her parents were one of the very first ranch families on the Crow Indian Reservation. She often spoke about her life on the ranch, the chores, the remoteness and the many happy, tough, tough days as a child. Regina was proud of her pioneer stock, and she carried the strength of those days throughout her life.
Regina married Dan Romine of Lodge Grass and, to this union, came Karen Chandler. During the Depression, they purchased a ranch and were able to accumulate decent cattle and operate a successful ranch. The marriage ended, and Regina moved to Billings, where she lived a very active life. She married Thomas “Tex” Middleton and, to that union, Bard Middleton was born. The family ranched in the Yellowstone Valley and later moved to Billings ,where they remained.
Regina volunteered in many organizations, from being a Cub Scout leader to Worthy Matron of the Billings Friendship Chapter, and was a member of that organization for 50 years. Regina was also the first director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and the Widowed Persons Service, and was the national organizer for the American Association of Retired Persons. Regina made the most of her living after being widowed using her real estate prowess. She built an apartment house and purchased other properties and, with hard work and her natural intelligence, she was a successful, independent woman.
All her life, Regina loved the outdoors, fishing, rafting, camping, and she traveled extensively in Europe, the Soviet Union, South America and Korea. Many of those trips were with the Friendship Force. Regina also traveled with the LOW group in her RV, traveling throughout the United States and Mexico. She had a great respect for other cultures and customs. She truly was one smart, remarkable, multi-faceted woman who was loved, admired and will be remembered for her strength, courage and enthusiasm for life.
Regina is survived by her kids, Karen Chandler, Bard Middleton (Gayle); her grandchildren, Dan, Lance, Trina, Melissa and Mandy; and many great-grandchildren.
We were truly lucky to have her as a mother, a friend and advisor. She will be sorely missed by all.
The family would like to thank Hospice and Highgate for the wonderful kindness and care that they gave to Regina the last few years.
To honor her wishes, in lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Billings Friendship Chapter at 1416 Avenue B, Billings, MT 59102.
Cremation has taken place and a memorial service shall take place on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 11 a.m., at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary.