Sept. 15, 1933 – July 27, 2017
Eva Mildred “Millie” Clark Riedesel of Billings, Mont, beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, passed away on July 29, 2017 – the same day as her mother in 1984. Millie was born in Greybull, Wyo., on Sept. 15, 1933, the third daughter of George Alva and Dorothy Elva Templin Clark. Throughout her life she inspired her family and friends with her incredible positive attitude, strength of will, irresistible smile and gentle spirit.
Mildred spent her childhood years in Greybull, Wyo., enjoying many weekend trips with family to their cabin (built by her dad) in the Big Horns. She graduated from Greybull High School in 1951, and was active in Blu-N-Gold, Class Play, Band, FHA, Librarian, Pep Band, Paintbrush staff, Girls’ State. She received her nursing degree from Montana State University in 1955 and, upon graduation, started work at Deaconess Hospital in Billings, Mont., and took the job of supervisor of the Pediatrics Department. She married John “Jack” Riedesel on July 2, 1957, whom she had met on a blind date. She and Jack were blessed with three children: Cheryl, Kaye and John. After raising her children, she returned to nursing from 1980 to 1993 as an oncology nurse and then two more years in general nursing, retiring in 1995. She continued her service to patients as a volunteer hospital visitor, with Jack, at Billings Clinic.
Millie developed a love for baseball through her dad, who played on a semi-pro team, and drove her from Greybull to the first of many Billings Mustangs games. She and Jack enjoyed many games in the ‘60s with Jack’s parents, Russ and Inza Riedesel, in the box seats behind home plate, and in later years, together as season ticket holders.
Millie was an avid volunteer as a Cub Scout den mother, Brownie/Girl Scout leader, a member of Order of Eastern Star Lewisia #16 of Basin, Wyo., since 1953. She loved serving the community with her P.E.O. sisters as a member of Chapter AS PEO since 1961, and as a member/volunteer of Mended Hearts, and served 16 years on the board of Family Service, Inc., including 2 years as president. Millie and Jack were members of First United Methodist Church in Billings since 1956, and Millie enjoyed decades of service to the church and United Methodist Women’s church circles.
From her early youth, Millie’s parents were very involved in the Masonic family. Her mother was Grand Bethel Guardian of Job’s Daughters for the state of Wyoming, and a lifelong member of Eastern Star; and her father was a past Master of Masonic Lodge #34 of Greybull. Millie carried on that family tradition with her membership in Job’s Daughters and became Honored Queen in Greybull in 1951. She and Jack enjoyed their Masonic involvement together volunteering for fundraising events, attending banquets (in the style of the day, with mom wearing beautiful formal dresses and dad in his variety of tuxes), and taking Cheryl, Kaye and John to all the downtown Billings Shrine parades, as Jack was a member of Masonic Lodge #113 and Shriner since 1956 and was on the go-cart stunt patrol. She was actively involved when John was in DeMolay, and when Kaye and Cheryl were in Job’s Daughters Bethel #3, and accompanied Cheryl in her travels around Montana and Wyoming during her one year as Grand Bethel Honored Queen of Montana.
From 1962 to 2006, Millie and Jack enjoyed many weekends with family and friends at their cabin on the West Fork of the Stillwater and at the many poolside parties at her mother and father-in-law’s home. Millie and Jack enjoyed a lifetime of creating memories with their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, relatives and friends, culminating with a celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary in 2007 at the Crown Plaza. She took loving care of Jack during his eight years of Alzheimers, until his passing in September 2009.
In 2010, Kaye moved from Tacoma to Billings and lived with Millie in her home until they moved together in 2012 to The Vista on the St. Johns campus. They were so grateful to have each other’s company and continued to attend church as they were able, and loved spending evenings together watching TV or reminiscing over fond memories, and occasionally going out for lunch or dinner with friends and family.
Millie was preceded in death by her husband Jack, son-in-law Tom McMullin (Aug. 2009), mother and father, in-laws Russ and Inza Riedesel, sisters Helen (George) and Elva (Richard), brother-in-law Phillip Riedesel, niece Linda Wheeler, and nephew Richard Riedesel. She is survived by her daughters, Cheryl (Joe) Heins of Laurel and Kaye McMullin of Billings; and son John (Lisa) Riedesel of Burnsville, Minn. She enjoyed every moment spent with her grandchildren, Jenni (Rob) Gilson of Gillette, Wyo.; Holly (Zach) Brehm of Billings; Joshua (Ariel) McMullin of Tacoma, Wash.; and Shawn, Sara and Garrett Riedesel of Burnsville, Minn. She was thrilled when she was able to spend time with her great-grandchildren Corbin, Carter, and Emma Gilson of Gillette, Wyo.; and Jayden and Violet McMullin of Tacoma, Wash. In addition, she is survived by her sisters-in-law Virginia “Jinx” (Phillip) Riedesel of Carbondale, Colo.; and Susanne (Slavens) Carman of Waukesha, Wis.; and nieces Donna (Bob) DeLoyola of Bieber, Calif.; Nancy (Terry) Billings of Basin, Wyo.; Suzan (Joe) Hawkinson of Wallingford, Pa.; and Pam (John) Prestby of Nashotah, Wis.; and nephews Kent Riedesel of Algoma, Wis.; and Doug (Rebecca) Leibinger of Basalt, Colo.
Millie’s many friendships lasted a lifetime and were always a source of joy. She will be lovingly remembered and deeply missed by all who had the honor and privilege of knowing her.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, Aug. 11 at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Billings. A private burial will take place before the memorial service.
Memorials may be made to Family Service, Inc.; Wycliffe Bible Translators; P.E.O. Program For Continuing Education.
Condolences may be left for the family by visiting smithfuneralchapels.com.