Mary Louise Pierre, a sixty-year resident of Bozeman, Montana, passed away from natural causes at the age of 85 on March 8, 2022.
She was born on December 11, 1936, in Eureka, California, and was raised in the small, redwood-forest town of Weott, CA. Her father died when she was nine-years-old, leaving her to help care for her four rambunctious brothers. Her widowed mother had to work, so the five siblings were left at home on their own while Mabel was waitressing at a local diner. A neighbor called the welfare office after one of the young boys set a couch on fire. The kids were taken from the home and lived in a youth-detention facility in Eureka during the summer of 1946. Once Mable married her second husband, the kids were allowed to return to their home. In the nine years to follow, Mary gained five more siblings.
Mary graduated from South Fork High School in Miranda, California, in 1955. Later that year, she enrolled at Santa Rosa Junior College. During her Christmas vacation in 1955, her stepfather loaded the kids into a pickup at 4 am to move to higher ground when the South Fork of the Eel River flooded Weott. Luckily, their home wasn’t destroyed, but many people in the area lost everything. In 1957, Mary moved to Inglewood, California, where she met her future husband, Donald Pierre, on the dance floor of a ‘young people’s’ club. Don and Mary were married on November 21, 1959, and moved to Madison, Wisconsin, in 1960. Mary worked part-time to help support her husband’s schooling while raising Mike and Louise. In 1962, Mary and her family moved to Bozeman, Montana, after Don was offered a job as an electrical-engineering professor at Montana State College. The couple’s third child, John, was born a few years later. Mary and Don greatly enjoyed raising their family in Bozeman, and seeing their children go on to raise their own families.
Volunteer work was a big part of Mary’s life. She served as a volunteer for the Red Cross, the Bozeman Food Bank, and the Holy Rosary Court of the National Catholic Society of Foresters for many years. She held several of the offices in the Foresters service group, serving as the president of the local group three times and being honored as the Forester of the Year in 1996.
Mary and Don were avid and accomplished square dancers. They enjoyed attending the annual Knothead Jamboree in West Yellowstone, MT. They also encouraged and taught young people how to square dance in the Bozeman area. Mary’s dresses were a sight to behold as she twirled around the dance floor doing an Allemande Left or a Right and Left Grand. In addition, she enjoyed fishing, camping, playing bridge, doing needlework, and she also grew gorgeous roses and African violets. Mary was an OUTSTANDING cook, as all of her family will attest, including winning several ribbons for her blackberry pie at the Gallatin County Fair.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband Donald Pierre, mother Mabel Bruga, father James Albin, stepfather Walter Bruga, brothers Wally and Loren Albin, and sister Sarah Crile. She is survived by her children: Michael Pierre (Barb), Louise Weldon (Jim), and John Pierre (Lori Franc), as well as her eight grandchildren: Denise Pierre, Brian Pierre, Kelley Pierre, Dana Holland, Madison Weldon, Andrew Weldon, Jesse Franc, and Ally Franc, and her great-grandchilden Victoria and Theo Pierre. She is also survived by her six siblings: Jim Albin, Chet Albin, Art Bruga, Vona Swearingen, Rosetta Alexander, and Kathy Reid.