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Elizabeth “Betty” Jane Reinertson Swaney passed away peacefully on March 9, 2017, at Village Health Care Center in Missoula, MT.
She is survived by her four children: Ellen (Polson), Shawn (Hot Springs), Gyda (Missoula), and Hjordis (Spokane); grandchildren: Kristin Guenther (Dr. Michael Rowe), Jodi Guenther (Joel Karki), Brooke Swaney Pepion, Jacob Bearchum, Sydney Bearchum, and three great-grandchildren: Christopher, Gabriel, and Lucien Rowe (New Zealand). Also surviving her is one sister, Janet Reinertson Germane (Los Altos Hills, CA), nieces, nephews, and cousins, Marvin Strombo, Irvin Hansen, Robert McLean, and their families.
Born in Plentywood, MT, October 3, 1921, she was the fourth child of Anton and Ida (Strombo) Reinertson, both of whom were descended from enterprising, Norwegian immigrants who lived in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The family moved to Western Montana, first to Plains in 1928, and then to Hot Springs in 1935, where Anton opened a Chevrolet Dealership and built a commercial garage in connection with an existing Shell station.
Schooled in Plains and Hot Springs, graduating in 1939, Betty was both athletic and musical all of her life and a very hard worker as well. She attended Missoula Business School, Walla Walla College, and then returned to Hot Springs where she managed her father’s business, selling automotive parts, pumping gas, and changing oil; she was never constrained by gendered roles. She later worked as a retail clerk. She was fiercely independent and carpentered, roofed, chopped and carried wood, and fought a never-ending war with knapweed.
She was preceded in death by her parents, elder brothers, Milton and Calvin Reinertson (both WWII combat veterans), and sister, Mary Halvorson Brown.
In 1947, in Missoula, she married Marine hero, Emory “Doogie” Rogers Swaney of Dixon. They lived briefly in Missoula and then moved to Hot Springs, where they had four children. Following a divorce, Betty and family continued to live in Hot Springs where the children went to the local school and then on to various colleges and their own careers and families.
A proud Norwegian-American, Betty had many interests. Her special joys were music, reading, sewing, and visiting and corresponding with her long-time friends. Her faith sustained her and she was a devoted member of the Hot Springs Seventh-day Adventist Church. She contributed greatly to her community and that included caring for many elderly friends. She will be gratefully and lovingly remembered for her help, propriety, candor and razor-sharp wit she brought into all our lives.
A Memorial Service will be held in the autumn. Her family suggests that any memorial be a contribution to your favorite charity. Sunset Memorial Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements. Condolences for Betty’s family may be left at www.sunsetfuneralhomecemetery.com
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