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Nellie Rosalyn Midge Sherman

March 11, 1932 June 30, 2020
Nellie Rosalyn Midge Sherman
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Obituary for Nellie Rosalyn Midge Sherman

Nellie Rosalyn Midge Sherman, 88, of Butte, MT, a long-time Conrad resident, passed away in Great Falls, MT, on June 30, 2020. She is now in the presence of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Nellie Rosalyn was born on March 11, 1932, at her family’s homestead on the Bootlegger Trail east of Ledger, Montana. She was the youngest of six children that were born to Robert and Myrtle Midge.

She was known as “Nellie” to many, but as “Rosalyn” to others.

Nellie Rosalyn attended Conrad High School and graduated there in 1949. She worked several years at Pondera Drug to help pay rent for the apartment that she shared with her sisters, Marian and Betty, so that she could attend high school.

Nellie Rosalyn attended the University of Montana for the fall quarter of 1950. She was delighted to be selected that fall for U of M’s elite singing group, the Jubileers. It was very unusual for an incoming freshman to be chosen for this honor. On many occasions, she mentioned that participating in the Jubileers was a wonderful experience for her.

In the summer of 1949, Nellie met her future husband, William “Bill” Baker Sherman. They were married on October 14, 1950, in Deer Lodge, MT. Nellie completed her quarter at the University of Montana, then she and Bill moved to Wichita, Kansas, where Bill was an aeronautical engineer for Douglas Aircraft. They subsequently moved to Kalispell, where their oldest son, David, was born. After moving to Shelby, MT, a daughter, Deborah, was born. Bill was accepted to the law school at the University of Montana, so the couple spent several years in Missoula. A daughter, Diane, was born while Bill was attending law school.

Bill set up law practices, first in Billings and then in Conrad. Three more children were born to them in Conrad, Richard, Susan, and Christopher.

Bill and Nellie raised their family in Conrad. Nellie was active in the community. She was President of the Central Montana Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international society for key women educators. She was also a member of the Democratic Women’s Club. She sang solos in various community choirs, including solo performances in The Messiah. An excellent bridge player, Nellie loved gathering with friends to play. She was a backbone of the Presbyterian Church choir; she was faithful and gave her all to the choir. When old enough, several of her children joined her as choir members.

Nellie Rosalyn became a teacher for a one-room schoolhouse in 1965. She had a 2-year teaching certificate at that time. In July of 1971, Nellie completed a Bachelor of Science in elementary education at the College of Great Falls. She taught at several schools, including Grandview School near Valier, Higgins School near Ledger, Brady Elementary School, and Meadowlark Elementary School in Conrad. Nellie was elected Pondera County Superintendent of Schools and served in that position from 1979-1982. During her tenure as county superintendent, she completed her Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Montana (June 1981).

In 1982, Nellie was selected as superintendent of the elementary school in Sun River, where she was an administrator until 1989. After consolidation of the Sun River Valley Schools, she became superintendent in Dodson, MT, where she retired in 1995 after 30 years as an educator. She was one of the first woman superintendents in Montana. Many teachers and students have recounted stories of her kind, encouraging, and supportive disposition. People who worked for Nellie when she was an administrator said that her leadership style was effective, yet understanding. She would take charge of schools that were not doing well and quickly elevate the educational standards.

After her retirement and the death of her beloved husband, Nellie Rosalyn spent many years living close to her youngest son, Chris, and his family. They lived in Stateline, NV, overlooking Lake Tahoe. She moved to Butte in 2000.

Nellie was an active member of Presbyterian churches in Conrad, MT; South Lake Tahoe, CA; and Butte, MT.

Well-known for her warm and outstanding singing voice, Nellie Rosalyn sang for literally hundreds of weddings, funerals, and special occasions, even state conventions. Outgoing, fun loving, and remarkably beautiful, Nellie was the life of the party! She had many close friends and was known for her positive attitude. She was generous and freely shared her resources with many. She passed on her love of music to her children. She was proud of her family and often commented on how much she loved her children and grandchildren.

Nellie was preceded in death by her cherished husband, Bill in 1993; and two children, David who died in 1994, and Diane who died in 2017.

Nellie Rosalyn is survived by two sons: Richard (Eseta) Sherman of King Salmon, AK, and Christopher “Chris” (Cindy) Sherman of Butte, MT; two daughters, Deborah “Debbie” (Daniel “Tuck”) Sheasby of Great Falls, MT, and Susan “Sue” (Ronald “Ron”) Muir of Lynnwood, WA; sister, Marian Aaberge of Great Falls, MT; twenty grandchildren; sixteen great-grandchildren; and numerous nephews, nieces, great nephews, and great nieces.

A memorial service will take place at a later date, and will be posted on the O’Connor Funeral Home website: www.OConnorFuneralHome.com.

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