Leionne Grace Martin Freebury, 93, passed away on Oct. 2.
Leionne was born on Nov. 3, 1918, to Loran and Mathilda Martin on a farm near Steele, N.D.
She started first grade in a one room country school and rode horseback or in a one horse buggy with her sisters and brother. In 1937, she graduated from Bismarck High School in Bismarck, N.D. In 1942, Leionne earned a B.A. from Dickinson State University in elementary education. She attended graduate school at Valley City State College in North Dakota and Friends University in Wichita, Kan. While working her way through college, Leionne was employed in various places in the country. One summer she worked with the war effort in a blanket factory in Seattle, Wash. Another summer she traveled to Eau Claire, Wis., to visit her aunt Mary and worked at another war factory.
After returning from Washington, she embarked on her teaching career. She taught school in various schools in North Dakota. Because she liked to travel she worked many different summer jobs. Eventually these travels led her to her first teaching job in Sidney. She also taught school in Cut Bank, Conrad and Devon.
She met the love of her life in Cut Bank when she was introduced by aunt Sigrid Martin to George Freebury. After teaching school for 15 years, George and Leionne were married on July 20, 1952 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Steele, N.D. They began their life as a family on the Freebury Ranch north of Conrad. Their next 18 years were spent cattle ranching and farming. During this time their daughter Cheryl and son Lowell, were born.
In 1970, George and Leionne moved into Conrad where Leionne owned and operated a pre-school/day care center for several years. In 1979, they started spending the winters in Yuma, Ariz.
For the next 20 years she enjoyed her new friends and was able to find the time to continue her love of painting. Many of her pieces sold while in Arizona. Besides painting she enjoyed reading, fellowship, snow skiing, gardening and decorating her home.
Leionne was a member of Pondera Valley Lutheran Church in Conrad until they moved to Billings to be closer to her daughter in 2000. She was, also, a member of Legion Auxiliary, Conrad Garden Club and the Homemakers Club. Leionne was a 4-H leader and taught Sunday School for many years. She had a strong faith in Christ so she loved sharing her faith in God with all of the little children. After moving to Billings, she joined King of Glory Lutheran Church. The last few years she resided at Sweetwater Retirement Community. While there she enjoyed Bible study, bowling, crafting, going on long walks and spending time with family and friends.
She is survived by her daughter, Cheryl Bentley (Randy) of Billings; grandson Brandon (Jessica) Bentley and great-grandson Blake of Belgrade; granddaughter, BreAnna Bentley (Eric) Fisher and great-grandson Bentley Fisher of Bozeman.
Also surviving Leionne are her sister Jean Colton of Driscoll, N.D.; a special cousin Willard Martin of Conrad; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her mother and father, her husband George, her son Lowell, her sister Mahala McIntosh and brother Dewey Martin.
We want to thank Rocky Mountain Hospice and the staff at Sweetwater Retirement for the wonderful care and love that she received during these last months of her life.
A small, private service will be held at Sweetwater Retirement Center for Leionnes’s friends and the staff. A Celebration of Life will be held on Nov. 3, at 11 a.m. at Pondera Valley Lutheran Church in Conrad.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Rocky Mountain Hospice, 2110 Overland Ave., Ste. 111, Billings, 59102 or to Pondera Valley Lutheran Church, Conrad.
Arrangements are in the care of Dahl Funeral Chapel and memories may be shared at www.dahlfuneralchapel.com .