Betty McKeown (Hamby)
Betty Jean (Hamby) McKeown, 75, went to be with the Lord on June 3, 2018 at her winter home in Mission, Texas. She is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Thomas L. McKeown, her parents: Charles Thomas Hamby and Mary (Murphy) Hamby, and niece Carol Hamby.
Betty, a member of the Blackfeet tribe, was born August 9, 1942 at the PHS Indian Health Service Hospital in Browning, MT. Betty graduated from Browning High School in 1960 and then headed to San Jose, CA. Betty returned to Browning in 1963 where she worked for School District #9 as the secretary. On August 5, 1971 Betty married Thomas L. McKeown in Cardston, Alberta Canada. In 1973 they moved to Colstrip, MT where Betty worked in the accounting department for Montana Power. It was during this period that Betty attended Miles City Community College and Dull Knife Memorial College in Lame Deer. Tom retired in 1990 and they moved to Billings, MT. Betty spent 5 years driving back and forth between Billings and Colstrip until she retired December 31, 1995. Betty then attended and graduated from MSU-Billings in May of 1998. This was a proud and happy day in Betty’s life to receive her degree.
Tom and Betty started traveling in their motor home and visited most of the states and they eventually decided to buy a winter home in Mission, TX. They would always come to Cut Bank and Browning to see family members before heading south in the fall of the year and then return to Billings in the spring. In the summers they could often be found at the cabin on Flathead Lake visiting family and friends. Tom passed away in McAllen, TX in January of 2006 and Betty kept up the tradition of driving back and forth until this past year when she fell and couldn’t make it back to Billings as usual.
Betty enjoyed hunting and fishing. We had some great camping trips, enjoying freshly caught fish cooked over the campfire. Sometimes there were trips when we didn’t get a hot shower for days. If you knew Betty this was a big deal. Betty had tasks that needed to be completed on certain days and things had to be done the right way and everything in its place! Betty also enjoyed sewing, crocheting, cooking, reading, gardening and walking. Betty participated in many of the local walk/run events held in Billings. Betty had a kind heart and will be missed by all who knew and loved her.
Betty is survived by her step-daughters, Linda (Ken) Luther and Cindy Crews, both of Cut Bank, MT. Grandchildren: Jackie Kay Luther, Dallas, TX, Jessie Lynn Luther, Helena, MT and Cory Thomas (Sara) Crews, Lewiston, ID. Great grandchildren: Jack Thomas Crews and Nora RaeAnn Crews. Sister Jessie Hamby (Chuck) Cermak of Mission, TX. Brothers, Wayne T. (Theo) Hamby of St. Mary’s, MT and Earl J. (Linda) Hamby of Lampasas, TX. A favorite Aunt Lillie Murphy, Redmond OR. Nieces and nephews: Kim (Hamby) Gonzales, Salem, OR, Denise Hamby, Alvin, TX, DeeDee (Hamby) Perry (Steve) Lampasas, TX, Earl J. Hamby Jr., Cut Bank, MT, Charlene Gerber Clark (Bob), Anchorage, AK, Ashley Chavez, Renton, WA, Johnathan L. Gerber (Jodi), Terre Haute, IN, Brandon Gerber, Thurman (Kerri) Gerber, and sons Ethan and Eli Gerber of Billings, MT.
A Memorial Mass will be held in Billings at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 19 at St. Pius X Catholic Church. A decade of the Rosary will be said before the Mass. The Rite of Committal will be at 2 p.m. on Wednesday at the Fort Harrison VA Cemetery, Helena, MT.
Memorials can be made to American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, St. Vincent DePaul and the Humane Society. Condolences for the family may be left at smithfuneralchapels.com.