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Obituary for Irene Lythgoe Belue

Published in the Lovell Chronicle

Irene Lythgoe Belue died April 25, 2008, in Billings at age 87. She was surrounded by her loving family. Irene was born April 12, 1921, the daughter of Thomas Lythgoe and Eliza Rosetta King Black, pioneers who settled Cowley in 1900.

She graduated valedictorian of her class at Cowley High School May 18, 1938.

She met her future husband, Travis Belue, at a Cowley dance. They fell in love and decided to marry. This teenage marriage started in Billings, June 8, 1937. He was 18, she was 16. For her honeymoon she and her groom went to the movies in downtown Billings. Then they retired to the Grand Hotel at the corner of First Avenue North and North 27th Street. Her account of the Billings honeymoon was, "After the show and staying all night at the hotel, we drove back to Cowley, and so our life began."

This marriage that began at the Grand Hotel in Billings in 1937 was a teenage marriage, which, if judged by the divorce statistics, would have lasted about three days. It would have been washed away in the Great Billings Flood of 1937, which put over three feet of water on the floors of the Grand Hotel—June 11, 1937—just three days after Irene’s honeymoon.

But, Irene was a lot stronger than floodwater. She built an eternal marriage for over 65 years, until Travis died in 2002. She weathered much more than floods—overcoming many disappointments, sorrows, losses and deaths—which she would not want me to mention, because that is not what she liked to talk or think about. Her thoughts were upon her smiles and her words were always cheerful, even funny and colorful.

Her happy outlook was so strong that it even caused her to sometimes refuse to tell the whole truth, especially when to do so would hurt another. In fact, when you talked to Irene, you often walked away wondering what really happened, because you knew she was covering over to make things sound a little better. When life was hard or unbearable, she simply spoke of other things that were soft and cheerful.

She worked hard at everything she did. Her most important work was that which she did to provide a good home and raise five children born of her marriage: Travene (deceased), Clarence Thomas Belue of Billings, Bonnie Belue of Denver, Ina Rae Belue of Billings and Brenda Belue of Billings. In addition to the children, she and Travis had 14 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

Of course, Irene had other interests besides her family and they ought to be mentioned. First, Irene Belue was a patriot, a registered voter and a Democrat—spelled with an extra large D, and not third in order of importance.

Another interest she had was her work as a waitress. Many will remember her from her days at the Northern Hotel, the Petroleum Club, the Hilands Golf Club and other places where she served. The hallmarks of her work, again, were her smile and cheerfulness. She once said, "I have had some wonderful friends in my life." Many of her friendships were made at her work. She had friends because she was a friend.

Irene was a life long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She first attended the church in Billings in 1950, when it met at the old Billings Business College on 3rd Avenue North—when there were fewer than 50 "Mormons" in Billings.

The list of her interests must include her writing. She wrote lovely and touching notes and letters to friends and family. Her greatest achievement in this area was the book she published, called "Heroes and Heroines of World War II," made up of stories and memories she compiled of the brave men and women of Cowley who helped win the war and preserve our freedom. She was especially proud of this little book.

This ends where it began. The last child born to Tom Lythgoe and Eliza King was a beautiful daughter, Irene, named after Eliza’s cousin and best friend during her college days. And like her namesake, Irene Lythgoe Belue was also a friend to many, to her good parents, devoted husband, beloved children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, church members, fellow workers, people of Cowley, Billings and many other places.

Good night Irene, good night. We will see you again—but not quite yet.

The family would like to thank the kind people at Big Sky Hospice and Dr. Deric Weiss for their loving care of Irene.

In lieu of flowers, please give to the Mental Health Foundation, 1245 North 29th Street, Billings, Montana 59101.

Visitation will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, May 1, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary and one hour prior to the service in the relief society room. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 2, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6th St. W and D Avenue. A reception will follow the service and burial will be in Cowley later that afternoon.

Owner/SourceLovell Chronicle
DateApril 2008
Linked toIrene Lythgoe

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