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Avis Maxine McAlister

December 8, 1920 October 9, 2020
Avis Maxine McAlister
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Obituary for Avis Maxine McAlister

Avis Maxine (Egge) McAlister, age 99, died on October 9, 2020, of natural causes. She was at home surrounded by her loving family.

She was born December 8, 1920, on their family homestead in Fallon, MT. Woodrow Wilson was president, and her life began during the Spanish flu pandemic. Her parents Erick Henry "Hank" and Ethel Egge, along with grandpa, Sven, moved their growing family to Butte after the locusts overwhelmed their horse ranch. They built a home on Harrison Avenue that was most recently a rock shop. She and husband, Roy Burns were appropriately voted the best looking couple in Butte during the 1940s. Even though they divorced, she always considered him the love of her life. She had four children, as well as 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

After moving to Malmstrom Air Force Base, Avis made Great Falls her permanent home. She worked at the county hospital, and most notably 24 years at the Deaconess Hospital's psychiatric unit known as 2 South. She loved her job so much that she didn't retire until age 72. She enjoyed playing Scrabble late into the night, and her love of the English language was always evident. Family affectionately called her "the English teacher," as playing word games consumed her later days, continuing to bring her great joy. Even though she loved staying home, travel was also part of her life. She happily lived on Bitburg military base in Germany and later visited Hawaii, Jamaica and Hong Kong. Being a proud Montanan and descendent of real cowboys, she also enjoyed summers following the rodeo circuit with her daughter. In fact, her grandfather and father were even photographed by the famous Evelyn Cameron.

Avis had such a passion for life itself. In fact, even well into her 90s she said she woke up every day feeling 24 until she looked in the mirror. She lived a life full of meaning and touched so many people's lives. She enjoyed gardening, sewing, oil painting, cooking, and being with and helping her family. Her paintings were even displayed at the fairgrounds and local banks. "Grams" will always be revered as the matriarch of the family. She was such a special person and will always be in our hearts forever.

She is survived by Robert Egge in Hawaii; Darlene Borrego in California; as well as children, Glenda Burns Gibson, Jack (Connie) Burns, and James "Jim" McAlister. Preceding her in death were her parents; siblings, Freida and Bonnie "Buzz" (Sheila) Egge, Betty (Steve) Potts, and Shirley (Bud) Crotty; and her beloved son, Michael "Mickey" after he returned from Vietnam. She was loved by all who knew her and worked with her, and only missed her goal of being a centenarian by a few weeks. In our minds, she was indeed 100.

A family service will be held when safer travel is possible. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her name to a local charity of the donor's choice.

To plant a tree in memory of Avis Maxine McAlister, visit the Tribute Store.

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