Patricia Jane Burke Bjornestad


(April 14, 1930 - April 30, 2011)

Patricia Jane Burke Bjornestad died early on the morning of Saturday, April 30, 2011.

She was born on April 14, 1930. She entered this world at the beginning of the Great Depression in a small log cabin on Owl Creek just outside of Thermopolis.

Her family moved to Ballard, Mont., when she was 3, where they stayed for a short time and then moved to Penrose just outside of Powell. Here she built friendships that would last for the rest of her life.  

At the age of 12 Pat moved to Astoria, Ore., so her dad could work in the war effort. When the war ended, her family moved back to Garland where her dad started a blacksmith shop.

Pat graduated from Powell High School in 1948. Shortly after her graduation, she joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where she was actively involved in the Primary and Relief Society organizations. One year later she met Orval Bjornestad while roller skating and they would be married a year later. Pat and Orval drew a homestead on Heart Mountain next to the Bad Lands. Here they would build and live in a home without electricity or an indoor bathroom. It was during their time on Heart Mountain that their two sons were born.

Pat enjoyed her involvement in the primary working with the youth. She was also a great influence on her nieces and nephews.  Her home was always open to family and friends. She was always looking for someone in need and she would do her best to help them.

During her younger years, Pat developed a love for arts and crafts. She would share this talent by decorating beautiful wedding cakes. In later years she would own and operate Pat’s Ceramics in Byron where, for years, she would teach and work with the children who came to her shop. She loved this work and so enjoyed the company of children in her life.

Pat’s greatest joy came in spending time with her children and grandchildren and she enjoyed any activity that allowed her this opportunity.

She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Gail and Grace Burke, and her brother, Charles Burke, and half-brother (Bus) Harlan Henderson and two half-sisters Guena Reed and Verla Schweitzer.

She is survived by her husband of 61 years, Orval Bjornestad; her two sons, Dean (Cameron) of Olympia, Wash., and Tim (Cindy) of Powell; 10 grandchildren, Desiree Roesler, Natalie Naluai, Jennifer Bjornestad, Jaylene Bjornestad, Christopher Bjornestad, Tara Bjornestad, Tyler Bjornestad, Tasha Tate, Trenton Bjornestad, Talea Bjornestad; nine great grandchildren; and two sisters, Audrey Reile and Carol Jordan of Powell, Ohio.

A graveside service will be held on Saturday, May 7 at 11 a.m. at Penrose Cemetery.