MaryAnn (Barileach) Buerkle, age 89, passed away on April 15, 2018 at the Northern Montana Care Center in Havre surrounded by her family.
A service will be held at the Grace Chapel, in the Northern Montana Care Center at 2:00 pm on Friday, April 20, 2018 with interment at the Calvary Cemetery following the service. Memorials can be made in her name to St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, Havre Senior Citizens Center or Havre Animal Shelter. Services and arrangements are under the direction of the Edwards Funeral Home.
MaryAnn was born on October 5, 1928 at Content, Montana (south of Malta) to Anna (Ivano) and John Barileach. Both parents were from Czechoslovakia. MaryAnn had one younger sibling, Marlene. John Barileach died unexpectedly from a ruptured appendix in 1936. Anna could not speak English yet and she didn’t drive, but with the help of neighbors and Uncle Mike Barileach, they survived. Through friends, Anna met John Humenik, originally from Pennsylvania and they married in the 1940’s. As the girls grew older, they would ride horseback to school and during the winter months, the kids were taken to school in a horse drawn sleigh. Times were hard, but life was simple and good. MaryAnn stayed on the homestead until high school then she moved to town, graduating from Malta High School in 1946. Their senior class Sneak Day was spent in Havre and the Bears Paw Mountains.
MaryAnn married Mike Crane in Malta. While visiting his family in New York, MaryAnn ended up staying and working at the Corning Glass factory. Mike and MaryAnn divorced after four years and she moved back to Malta. At a café in Malta, MaryAnn met Leroy Buerkle and they married in 1955. Leroy was a lineman and they moved around Montana in order to support their family. In 1960, they returned to Content, and Anna and John moved into Malta. Because of the depressed cattle market at the time, they struggled to make ends meet. With a referral from a good friend, Leroy was offered a job with Hill Co. Electric, and they sold the ranch and moved to Havre in 1965.
MaryAnn and Leroy had five children: Pam, Mitch, Kathy, Billy and Betty Jo. The family had a close bond throughout their lives with Ardyce, Leroy’s daughter from his first marriage. Leroy passed away in 1983. MaryAnn’s stepdad passed away in 1971 and the Buerkle’s would make hundreds of trips to Malta to visit Anna and help her with yard and garden duties. In 1987, Anna moved to Havre to live with MaryAnn and where she remained until her passing in 1993. Through their daughters, MaryAnn and Tom O’Neal developed a unique friendship and they chummed around together camping and traveling until his passing in 2002. MaryAnn worked very hard her entire life, starting at an early age, then waitressing and later as a wife, and mother to many in addition to her own children.
She worked at the Hi-Line Lanes restaurant as a cook/dishwasher, at Northern Montana College as a baker and as a cook and caregiver on the night shift at the 6th Avenue rest home, and in food service at the Sacred Heart and Northern Montana hospitals for twelve years retiring in 1989. Having grown up in the Great Depression, MaryAnn was extremely frugal. She used coupons and no matter the food, item or envelope, it was not wasted. You washed and reused aluminum foil and plastic wrap. She was into “recycling and reusing” long before it became popular to do so. These habits were a sign of her generation and a way of survival, and they never lessened even into old age. They were extremely tough people, physically and mentally, and they knew how to live and survive on little to nothing. MaryAnn had many lifelong friends. She truly cherished all the good times they had together and besides Montana, travel with friends took her to Oregon, Calgary, Toronto, Arizona, Nevada, and Alaska.
She enjoyed country music, dancing, crocheting, baking pies, picking berries and canning, solitaire, picture puzzles, bingo, wildflowers, brandings, lutefisk dinners, “puttering” around consignment and 2nd hand stores, rummage sales, senior center activities, writing letters and sending with hand decorated personalized envelopes, donating to charities, and most of all – family everything.
She was preceded in death by her parents, stepfather John Humenik, husband Leroy, sister Marlene Spang and daughter-in-law, Becky (Sterner) Buerkle. She is survived by her five children: Pam (Rick) Sheppard, Mitch Buerkle (Columbia Falls), Kathy (Jim) Brough, Bill Buerkle (Sheila Forshee), Betty (Joe) Claude (Columbia Falls), and grandchildren: Mandy (Ryan, Sawyer & Kennedy) Fladager, Kassy Brough (Jayce Doan), Kolton Brough (Sorelle Wood), Savanna and Macy Claude, brother-in-law Ed Spang, niece Colleen Spang and nephew Wade Spang (Cyndi) and stepdaughter Ardyce Buerkle (Sterling, Alaska), and step grandchildren Rebecca Wolcott and Jacob Wolcott.