Jeri Lessley, a treasured member of the Belgrade community, passed away December 20, 2023. She was born Jerilyn Faye Doherty in Bozeman, MT two months after Pearl Harbor on February 13, 1942. She lived in Bozeman, Butte, and Hamilton in those early years, moving to Ogden, Utah in 1952. Her little brother Curt’s job was to torment her, and she only occasionally threw something at him. When she did, it was usually a baseball. Jerilyn loved baseball. She was all-star first base year after year with her golden glove. Her husband Emmett adopted her love for softball, while she adopted his for hunting. College at Montana State College in Bozeman came next, living with her favorite Uncle and Aunt, Jim and Lena Blanchard for the year. She went to work at Bill’s Union 76 service station on North 7th in Bozeman. Her dad was "Bill." She pumped gas, did oil changes and lube jobs, and set the bar as an auto detailer. She always spoke of the wisdom of her mother Ardell. Jeri was guided through her early years by her older brother, Don Alford, who taught her that she had the power to hold her destiny in her own hands and that she had the intelligence and ability to do whatever she wanted with her life. Her love for the life of Abraham Lincoln came from Carl Sandberg’s series about Lincoln’s life. History became one of her interests. She was a member of the Model United Nations at Ben Lomond High in Ogden, where she graduated in 1960. Jeri was very political, always a strong Democrat in the proudest tradition. Recently she served as treasurer for a local candidate in Belgrade. Jeri was a school bus driver and spent years serving in the Belgrade school district, often reminiscing about the kids she drove to school and the often harsh weather she safely transported the children through. She had a long career driving bus, and then added playground and lunch duties. Jeri was preceded in death by her husband, Emmett; father, William; her mother, Ardell; and her brother, Donald. She is survived by her brother, Curt; nieces, Erin and Sarah; sons, Kevin and Scott; grandchildren, Christopher Edwards, Emily Holksey, and Jack Lessley; and three great grandkids, Bradly, Sean, and Casey.
Jeri had many close and beloved friends who meant the world to her.
She believed that love and kindness were the defining purpose of our fleeting existence, and in this spirit please treat each other with the kindness and love that she so openly shared with all who were fortunate enough to know her.
Memorial will take place in the springtime.