Jeannine Atkins went to be with our Heavenly Father on Sunday, October 27, 2019. She had fallen and was suffering from a broken hip around Labor Day. She fought a hard battle trying to get her life back to normal. She fell again and dislocated the same hip almost two months later. The pain was just too much. She passed with many of her family around her throughout her last two weeks of life
Jeannine was born as Syble Jeannine Montgomery on March 15, 1933 in Great Falls to Earle and Ruth Montgomery, but preferred to go by her middle name. She had two sisters, Earlene and Ann. She spent lots of time with her grandparents who lived in the oil fields. Her family also spent many days at their cabin in Essex. Jeannine graduated from Shelby High School in 1951. When she was just 18, she found the love of her life, Marvin Atkins. He had come to Shelby as a custom cutter, helping with the harvests. She followed him back to Missouri, where he proposed and the two were married at just 19 years old in Shelby. They moved back to Lawson, Mo. where they had a small farm. There they had three daughters: Debra, Bridgett and Janet. In 1964, they moved back to Montana to buy a farm from Jeannine’s dad, Earle. The farm was 10 miles north of Shelby. There they had a fourth daughter, Beverly.
Jeannine was a wonderful farm wife, but also worked a few different jobs in town. The longest position she held was that of head cook at the local schools. She worked there for 10 years. Jeannine was active in her church, teaching Sunday school and Acteens. She took groups of Acteen girls for conventions to Memphis, Tenn. and Birmingham, Ala. She shared her faith with many of these teenage girls.
Jeannine was a fantastic cook, preparing huge feasts at harvest time. She would bring the food out to the field, so the workers didn’t have to stop. She could drive trucks, unload them at the grain bins or drive them into the elevators in Shelby. There wasn’t much she couldn’t do for the farm. She had a horse named Willy, whom she loved to ride even in her later years. Jeannine grew huge gardens and canned most of her vegetables. She devoted her life to her girls, husband, and church.
When Marvin and Jeannine retired, they built a house in Arizona. They spent 14 years splitting winters down south and summers back up in Montana, enjoying the sun and loving life. They made a major decision to sell the farm in Shelby and move to Deer Lodge as their second house. Finally, in 2013, they sold the Arizona house and moved permanently to Deer Lodge. Marvin passed away in 2015 and Jeannine continued to live in her own house until the day she broke her hip. She kept busy with her yard, her house, and visiting her grand and great-grandchildren. She also enjoyed visiting her daughters and their families over the holidays. She liked playing games with her friends and going to church.
Jeannine will always be remembered as a loving and dedicated mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
Jeannine was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Earlene, and her loving husband Marvin.
Jeannine is survived by her sister, Ann Pettit, four daughters: Debra Burgin (Pat) Meridian Idaho, Bridgett Oliver (Chuck) Meridian Idaho, Janet Christnacht (Tom) Deer Lodge, and Beverly Davis (David) Tucson, Ariz., grandchildren, Jessica Bartley (Jesse), Nicholas Corisis (Jamie), Cody Oliver (Sami), Jennie Horne (Tom), Suzy Berland (Brian), Ashley Johnson (Tony), Jesse Oliver, Michele Christnacht, Henry and Griffin Davis great-grandchildren, Landon Corisis, Maci Horne, Evie Berland, Hallie Horne, Beau and Jordy Oliver and baby girl Berland to be born soon.
Services for Jeannine will be held Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Deer Lodge. Luncheon will follow the service at the church. Burial will be at the Hillcrest Cemetery following.
Memorials can be made to First Baptist Church.