Sunday, August 30, 2015

Jo Billington Spooner-Life Sketch presented by her daughter Sherrie part 1


Our story begins in February of 1926. Eva and Sydney Billington were living and 
working a ranch at a place called Brackett Creek. Brackett Creek is situated some 
what west of and is between Clyde Park and Livingston, Montana. It is settled in
small valley with mountains on three sides and prairie on the fourth. On 
February 26 Georgia was born in the town of Livingston. She was the 5th child 
of Eva and Sydney. Mom had a happy childhood living in various places around
Montana. She lived at Brackett Creek, Dixon,and Arlee (and I think several other 
places I do not remember). Eva and Sydney had a ranch north of  Arlee.

Her full name was Georgia Florida Billington. She was very embarrassed
about her middle name and did not want anyone to know what it was. 
I asked grandma (Eva) why she was named Georgia Florida. Grandma
proceeded to tell me the story that she was on a train between the states 
of Georgia and Florida when she was pregnant with my mother. 
It was at that time my mother decided to make her appearance
to the world. Since her father (Sydney) wanted to name her after 
the state she was born in and grandma not knowing which state she 
was in at the time of birth decided to name her Georgia Florida. 
This was just a story but I believed it for many years. We think that 
Florida had been a typographical error and her middle name
should have been Florinda. My mom was known as Georgia for many
years. At some point after the birth of their first daughter Luylla, 
Georgia became Jo.
Sydney, her dad, died when mom was a senior in high school. 
The ranch was sold and grandma moved  to Arlee. Mom kept a 
small cloth pouch of tobacco that her dad had always carried in his
pocket as a reminder of him. When she smelled it, it reminded
her of how he smelled. She still had this at the time of her death.

Jo Blondie Stella Bill

Al Dee   Bill  Blondie  Aunt Hazel  Sid
Eva Donna  Jo  Stella  Kelly

The kids use to ride horses to school when Georgia was younger. 
Elvira & Estella would ride one horse, Wilbur with Elfred on the other. 
When Georgia was old enough to go to school she would ride between
Elvira & Estella. One day Georgia decided to ride between them standing up. 
Wilbur and Elfred were riding beside them and she would jump from one
horse to the other. Blondie (Elvira) recalls that she was always the teachers
pet in school. In high school in Arlee she was a cheerleader.

Jo Donna Kelly

Jo and Lester Christopher
Wilma, Jo and Donna

Kelly, Donna, Jo 

Jo and Wilma Matson

Upon graduation from high school, she moved with a couple of her girlfriends 
to Vancouver, WA. She would tell about the times her girlfriends in Vancouver would load up the car for the weekend and drive as far as they could in a day. They would then turn around to drive back just in time to be back at work on Monday.

Jo and Lyall

 My mom and dad (Warren Lyall Spooner) met in Vancouver, WA. Lyall was in the Navy during World War II and then worked in the ship yard in Vancouver or Portland. They dated six times before they were married in Vancouver on April 13, 1946. They lived in Vancouver for a short time before moving back to Montana. Lyall wanted to come back for the hunting and fishing. They settled in Missoula. They moved to Nine Mile in 1971 where they remained until their deaths.
Their marriage lasted for fifty years until mom passed away from metastatic gastric cancer. They were a very loving couple. It was not unusual to see them holding hands walking down the street. They would sit by each other on the couch snuggled into each other and still holding hands. People would comment on how nice it was to see a couple so in love after so many years of marriage.

My mom always seemed to be happy. Whenever you see a picture of her she will be smiling. Thats how she was. Family would refer to her as "our sweet Jo". Friends would describe her as a very "special lady". People would always comment on how nice she always looked and dressed. Mom always had a kind word for everyone and was not a person who gossiped. She had what I would describe as a kind gentle heart. She never got old as some people do. Her way of dress, style, and the things she did kept her very young. She was still doing aerobics up to the time she got sick and was diagnosed with cancer.

4 generations Rose Stottlemyre  Eva Deschamps Jo Spooner Jody Spooner

Jo Blondie Sherrie Kenny

Jo and Lyall had two daughters, Luylla Jo (Jody) who was born in Vancouver, WA, and me, Sherrie Lee born in Missoula, MT. I have always been very grateful for the wonderful childhood that she gave me. We had a very sheltered life. She was a woman who was honest beyond a fault, had integrity, 
and kindness for others.

They both enjoyed camping & hunting. Some hunting was done up Nine Mile
where they would ride the horses into a hunting camp that they had made. 
Their tent was a teepee that my dad made out of a parachute.
They belonged to and would go on horse back rides with the 
Back Country Horsemen and many rides else where in the mountains. 
Mom loved to be in the outdoors. She would rather be out side or hiking 
than in the house cleaning and cooking. Every day she would hike 
around their place at Nine Mile. There was a garden there where she 
grew vegetables. She also raised chickens, ducks, and horses. She also
enjoyed cutting wood for the winter fires (it was being out in the woods), 
snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and skiing in the winter.

Mom and dad were very good dancers. They would glide as one out on a dance floor. Others would like to dance with them as they were so good but my parents preferred to dance with each other.
Every summer mom would take all five of the grandchildren for a week in the summer when they were little. I am sure that Zane, Crystal, Eric, Beau, and Aaron had every little whim attended to during this week at grandmas. They would go for hikes around their place at Nine Mile, go camping, play with the ducks and chickens and just have a lot of fun. My children remember this with fond memories. Crystal (granddaughter) learned how to hypnotize chickens at her grandma's house. She introduced them all to horses, ice skating, skiing, and hiking. I am not sure if the boys were all that crazy about the hiking around the place but Crystal and grandma loved every minute. They had a special bond as Crystal loved the horses and hiking as much as her grandmother did. Her grandchildren had a very special place in her heart.

Mom, Elvira (Blondie), and Sydney (Jack) took turns taking care of there mom (Eva) in their homes when she was not able to live alone any more until she died. Grandma's (Eva) other children lived to far away to do this. This was a special gift that she gave her mom. In return she got to spend a lot of special time with her.

Mom was working up to the time she got cancer at the age of seventy as a 
dental receptionist. Asked her many times why she did not retire. Her comment
was it kept her socially connected with her friends and family. It gave her a
reason to come to town.

Jo. my beloved mother, passed away June 11, 1996. Her ashes were 
spread at her request at Shoulder Creek up the Nine Mile. The grandchildren
had camped with them there and it remained a favorite memory of hers so that
is where she wanted to be. Dad joined her there the following February.
Life without her was not worth living for him. Miss you both so very much.

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