MISSOULA – Pauline Surratt, 87, died Sunday, August 8, 2021 in a private care facility.
Polly Surratt was born in Renno, SC on November 4, 1933 to Archie Irvin and Pauline Geer Dixon, the 11th of 12 children and passed into eternity on August 8, 2021. The name on her birth certificate was Nira Delano Dixon – an apparent joke played by her father. Her mother told her that she was supposed to be named after her and at the age of 19, her mother went to court to have her name legally changed to Pauline. After graduating high school, she enlisted in the Air Force and served as a WAF in communications and was stationed in Michigan. While serving there, she met our father, Ellis K. Surratt, who had acquired the nickname, ‘Bill’ on a Navy destroyer during WWII. He died in 2005 after nearly 53 years of marriage.
While Bill pursued an Air Force career, Polly traveled the world with her children from Michigan to Newfoundland to Alabama to Taiwan to Massachusetts to Germany and finally to Havre, Montana before settling in Missoula in July of 1972, where she lived in the same house for nearly 50 years. She took those years of her husband’s military service in stride while ‘keeping the home fires burning.’ She felt the experience her children got by traveling to other countries gave them an unusual education.
She loved music and was often startled when one of us kids stopped by to visit and she would have the stereo blaring, while singing loudly and even dancing as she cleaned the house. She loved singing hymns and recently enjoyed a 60-year-old recording of her singing hymns with her mother and family around the piano. She was a woman of many talents and had a servant’s heart as she would take on many tasks of service in the Southern Baptist Churches she attended all over the world. She not only taught cake decorating classes in the Missoula Adult Education program but crafted beautiful wedding cakes. She also served as a proud member of the local American Legion Post #27 Color Guard.
She is survived by her sister, Deb Cherico of Greenville, SC, three children - Theresa Lynn Surratt, Barry Keaton Surratt (Carol) and Ellis Keaton Surratt, Jr. (Michelle) and four grandchildren - Matthew Keaton Surratt (Shayna), John Wesley Keaton Surratt (Ansha), Andrew Keaton Hero Surratt and Emillie Keaton Surratt Hoerner (Otto). She was blessed with six great-grandchildren – Cardyn, Aubrey, Brantley Keaton, Roland Ellis, Cleo and Maizie.
“Jesus has led and taken care of me all thru these years. I’m looking forward to seeing Jesus face to face. Praise the Lord!” (Aug 2007)
Celebration of Life is Saturday, August 14 at Sunset Memorial on Mullan Rd in Missoula at 11 AM. Graveside service and reception to follow. Many thanks to Florence, Joy and the crew at Home Again and Partners in Home Care Hospice RNs and caregivers as well as all those who visited or called mom in her illness. In lieu of flowers the family suggests a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project. (www.woundedwarriorproject.org)