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Grace Roberts

(April 9, 1920 - July 12, 2013)

Grace Roberts, 93, of Billings, died Friday, July 12, 2013, after suffering a stroke a few days earlier.

She was born at home on April 9, 1920, in Montrose, S.D., the daughter of Charles and Theresa Kapaun. She grew up and went to school in South Dakota with her three brothers and four sisters, even being taught for a while by her oldest sister, Eva.

After high school, she lived in Breckenridge, Minn., and worked in the local hospital. One night the fleet was at near-by Wahpeton, N.D. There was a dance and all her girlfriends were excited to go and meet the sailors.

Grace always said that she could have cared less about finding herself a sailor that night, but it was at that dance that she met her future husband, Paul Roberts. After a short courtship, they were engaged before he was deployed to the Pacific Theater for the duration of WWII.  

During the war, she embarked on an adventure with other young women in her family and moved to Chicago to work and live. After Paul was honorably discharged from the Navy in November 1945, they were married in Frazee, Minn., on Jan. 8, 1946.

After their marriage, Grace and Paul moved to Pryor Creek, Mont., where they built a home, farmed, gardened and raised their children. They were active members of the St. Charles Mission Church for more than 50 years.

Grace delighted in caring for her home and family. Her children remember always coming home from school to a homemade treat. Every year she tended a beautiful garden full of flowers and vegetables, including flowers that had been passed to her from her sisters and mother. Her garden brought her much joy, except for when it was visited by the resident deer or stray cow.  

She was known to be a wonderful cook, and never hesitated to feed an extra mouth whether it was a farmhand or just a friend of the family dropping in. After retirement, she and Paul enjoyed traveling to China and throughout the United States.

After Paul died in 2004, she lived at Highgate Senior Living and Valley Healthcare where she enjoyed the activities and had many friends amongst other residents as well as the staff. Her family is very appreciative of the loving care she was given in the last nine years.

Everyone who knew her has had their day brightened by her famous “Gracie smile,” which will be missed.

She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Lawrence, Ronald and Hollis, and sister Phyllis.  

Grace is survived by her three children: Sharon (Steve) Bailey of Powell, Vernon (Kay) Roberts of Helena, Mont., and Venieta (Dave) Cox of Billings. She shared many giggles with her six granddaughters, Sara Bailey of Sacramento, Calif., Laura Bailey of Bozeman, Mont., Angela Roberts of Billings, Beth Nave of Bozeman, Melanie Schmitz of Billings and Michelle Hertel of Everett, Wash. Her loving great-grandchildren are Paul, Elsa, Gus, Ada and Brady. She is also survived by her sisters Eva Hanisch, Leila Wokasch and Margaret Borah, and many nieces and nephews.

Grace’s vigil service will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, at Dahl Funeral Chapel in Billings. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m Friday, Aug. 2, at St. Pius X in Billings. Interment will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery. A luncheon at the Knights of Columbus will follow the interment.

Memorials in Grace’s name may be made to Billings Area Catholic Education Trust (BACET), St. Charles Mission, or charity of choice. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.dahlfuneralchapel.com.

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