Jennie Tidball Comer
Jennie Tidball Comer’s life spanned a century; and, curious as she was about the world around her, she appreciated that she had witnessed astounding transformative events. Jennie was born October 26, 1915, in Faith, South Dakota. She was the fourth oldest of Denver and Jennie Tidball’s 10 children, raised on their sheep ranch in the northwest corner of the state. She came to Montana, first to Butte and then to Pony to help with her older sister’s young family. In Pony she met Sidney Comer, one of its native sons, whom she married on October 16, 1939.
Living first on the Revenue Flats near Norris, they spent the war years at a phosphate mine, the Luke, outside of Avon. Jennie wrangled three daughters in that remote setting, often the only woman at the “camp.” When the war was over, the family moved to Deer Lodge where Jennie was a homemaker before taking a job at the telephone office. She was on duty when the 1959 prison riot erupted, and she loved to tell the story of those events in vivid and dramatic detail. In 1966 Sid and Jennie moved to Billings and retired to Hamilton in 1972.
For the next 20 years, Sid and Jennie cultivated beautiful and productive vegetable and rose gardens as well as numerous friendships. They often hosted or were guests for dinners and card parties. Jennie helped tend the garden and enjoyed ‘putting up’ the produce each fall. She took pride in the tidy rows of canned fruits and vegetables that lined the walls of their root cellar. Jennie was active in the Golden Age Club, Good Sam, Eagles’ Drill Team, and Rebekahs. Dancing, camping, picnics, rides in the mountains, trips to Oregon, and time with family filled Jennie’s life, and she recorded it all with meticulous detail in albums, scrapbooks, and her daily diaries.
Jennie was the family historian and her legacy is several bound volumes with labeled photos, clippings, and announcements that chronicle generations. She read and kept up on current events until the last few months, using her magnifier and listening to talking books as her eyesight failed. She was the last surviving member of her high school graduating class in Isabel, South Dakota, and to the very end could recite poems she memorized during her school days.
The family is grateful for the care Jennie received at Bee Hive Homes when her health began to deteriorate and to all the caregivers at The Springs, Home Instead, and Partners’ Hospice for walking with her and us on the last leg of her journey.
Jennie was preceded in death by her husband, two brothers, and four sisters. She is survived by her daughters and sons-in- law, Sylvia and Leaman Sullivan, Martha and Reinhart Kurtz, and Mae Hassman, sister Bess Franzen, brothers Bert and Doris Tidball and Bennett Tidball and Wanda French, seven grandchildren, eleven great- grandchildren, and four great-great grandsons.
Cremation has taken place. The family will host a reception celebrating Jennie’s life at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 19, at the Garden City Funeral Home in Missoula and a memorial service at Valley View Cemetery in Pony in September.
Death Notice: Ed Mathison
Ed Mathison, born May 26, 1935, died Saturday, May 13, 2017. No services as requested. Memorials can be made to the Powell County Senior Center.
Montana State Prison inmate Odyssey Ardene died on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at St. Patricks Hospital in Missoula. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death. He was 28 years old.
Mr. Ardene was sentenced out of Orange County, Florida on 11/03/2014 for the crimes of Manslaughter by Culpable Negligence, two counts of Drug Charges, and Possession of Firearm. Mr. Ardene was serving four concurrent 10 year sentences.
Mr. Ardene was a Florida state inmate who was housed at Montana State Prison as an Interstate Compact Transfer. He was received at Montana State Prison on 7/21/2015.
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