Mary Lou Crossman, formerly from Deer Lodge, MT, passed away in Billings, MT on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. She was born on March 2, 1940, in Missoula to Sam Karras and Nettie Reichert.
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Because her parents were unable to care for her, at three months old she was taken to the Montana State Orphans Home in Twin Bridges where she lived until she reached the age of 18 years old. Upon graduation from the Twin Bridges High School, she took a job at Galen State Hospital. While working at Galen State Hospital she met and married James Crossman and two children were born from their marriage, namely Rick and Beverly. They later divorced and she never remarried again. When the family moved from Galen to Deer Lodge she took a job as a school bus driver with the Deer Lodge Public School System and remained in that job for 30+ years. She absolutely loved being a school bus driver! She touched many children’s lives over the years, however she would tell you that the children touched her life more. Moving to Deer Lodge also paved the way to attend the Presbyterian Church where she was member, Deacon and taught Sunday School for several years.
Although her childhood was extremely difficult, she somehow found a way to become a wonderful mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and friend to many. She fought many demons with the help of treasured best friend Caroline Polish Sagunsky and confidant, Vicki Weida, whom she felt like she owed the world. She also treasured her morning coffee visits with her special friend, Deanna Schroeder.
Mary Lou had a very strong work ethic and knew how to use every tool in the shed. In addition to driving bus, she also maintained several other jobs including lawn mowing, painting, cleaning service and really anything that she could do by using her hands. She also volunteered on the Powell County Ambulance for several years and drove busloads of people from surrounding areas to tour the Prison.
She was a huge animal lover, especially dogs, and also loved the color blue, clowns, motorcycles, playing gameboy, doing crossword puzzles and cryptograms and unbeknownst to many she was a fabulous softball player and artist. Her goofy and funny nature drew many people to her. She loved to make people smile and loved dressing up in her clown costume. Material things were not important to Mary Lou as reflected in the simple life that she lived. The most important thing to her were her children and grandchildren and throughout her life she spent many moments with them and she treasured those memories with all her heart!
Mary Lou was preceded in death by her parents and her brother and sisters, Ruth, George, Lorraine, and Betty. She is survived by her children, Rick Crossman (Cathy) of Spokane Valley, WA, and Bev Freeman (Dan) of Billings, MT; her grandchildren, Rikki Crossman, Ryan Crossman, Andy Freeman (Caty) and Mackensie Smith (Chris) and one great granddaughter, Layla Freeman. She also had two special step-grandsons, Chad Ward and R.J. Ward.
The family would like to give a special thanks to mom’s caretaker, Barbara Evans, and Welcome Home Valley Care in Stevensville, MT. Barbara and her whole family were mom’s angels in her final year of life.
Services will be Friday, December 21st at 2 pm at the First Presbyterian Church in Deer Lodge.
Any donations or memorials are suggested to be made to the Powell County Ambulance in her memory.