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Rita Harrell

(June 6, 1940 - April 3, 2013)

Rita Mae Briscoe Harrell, 72, formerly of Powell, died Wednesday, April 3, 2013, after a courageous battle with ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Rita was born June 6, 1940, in Frenchtown, Ind., the daughter of Herman and Elizabeth Briscoe. She was the second of eight children and graduated from North Central High School, Ramsey, Ind., in 1958.

On Nov. 28, 1959, Rita married Larry Harrell, in Frenchtown, Ind., and was blessed with six children.

As a wife and mother, she lived with her husband on a cattle ranch in Sunburst, Mont., and on a family farm in Corydon, Ind. In October 1971, they moved their family to Cody, and then to Powell in 1974.

Rita and Larry owned a carpet store in Powell for several years. Rita worked at First National Bank, did accounting for Blair’s Market, and worked as a clerk for The Merc, Skyline Drug and Pamida.

Rita was an experienced horsewoman, who also enjoyed hunting and camping. She enjoyed many hunting trips with her husband and especially enjoyed the beautiful Wyoming scenery of the Thorofare Trail. She led her family on many camping trips to Sunlight Basin, where her children learned to ride horses, appreciate the peacefulness of the outdoors and enjoy time with family. She loved taking photographs, scrap booking, cooking and made all family gatherings a special time for her family.

She was a kind, loving and generous person to all those who knew her and to a stranger from the street. She was a devoted wife, loving and giving mother and grandmother. Her family was her greatest joy. Even in her illness, the people who met her always felt it was a blessing to have known her.

She was a Cub Scout leader, taught CCD at St. Barbara’s, a volunteer 4-H leader, enjoyed being involved in the many church organizations, belonged to the NRA and the Arabian Horse Association. After Larry’s passing, Rita moved to Billings to live with her daughter Traci and her family.

Rita was preceded in death by her husband Larry, and her father, Herman Briscoe.

She is survived by her children: daughters, Vicki Meyers of Vernal, Utah, Gail Klispie (Gary) of Worland, Diana Adams (Delos) of Preston, Idaho, Traci Swarm (Chuck) and Carla Wesley (Darrell), both of Billings, Mont., and son, Paul Harrell (Pam) of Riverton; grandchildren Gage Swarm, Haydn Swarm, Kathleen Meyers, Heather Hanson, Daniel Meyers, Amber Uribe, Amanda Jo Roseberry, Mathew Crichton, Katelyn Klispie, Brent Wesley, Lacey Wesley and three great-grandchildren; her mother, Elizabeth Briscoe of Depauw, Ind., brothers Donald Briscoe of Depauw, Ind., Marvin Briscoe of Ramsey, Ind., James Briscoe of Billings and Michael Briscoe of Omaha, Neb.; sisters Priscilla Gettelfinger of Palmyra, Ind., Nancy Briscoe of Jeffersonville, Ind. and Hellen Ward of Brownsburg, Ind.

A celebration of Rita’s life will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, April 12 at St. Barbara’s Catholic Church in Powell. Rosary will be said on Thursday, April 11, at 6 p.m. at St. Barbara’s Catholic Church.

Cremation has taken place and burial will follow funeral services at Crown Hill Cemetery, where both Rita and Larry will be buried and laid to rest together.

Honorary pallbearers will include Paul Harrell, Chuck Swarm, Gage Swarm, Gary Klispie, Mathew Crichton, Seth Roseberry, Delos Adams, Daniel Meyers and Brent Wesley.

Thompson Funeral Home of Powell is handling arrangements.

Cards may be sent to Rita Harrell Family, 1233 Sun Valley Road, Billings, MT 59105. Memorials may be made to The ALS Association Development Dept. 27001 Agoura Rd. Suite 250 Calabasas Hills, CA 91301 or 888-949-2577.

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