Molly Herrin

Molly Herrin

Sunday, September 29th, 2019
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Molly Burke Herrin, 93, died September 29, 2019 at Edgewood Vista in Missoula.
Born May 29, 1926 in Conrad, Montana, to Catherine Giudici Burke and George Francis Burke, she was the younger of two sisters. As a child during the Depression Molly lived in the western towns where her father's work took him. George Burke was an oil field superintendent, a millwright and later a civil engineer employed by the Federal government.
In 1943 the family was living in Seattle when she quit high school to work as a riveter along with her sister and mother fabricating B29 bombers for the war effort. Following the war Molly went to night school to earn her GED from Bremerton High School. She attended the University of Montana in 1945, and was inducted into Theta Sigma Phi, the journalism honor society for women, and Kappa Tau, a scholastic honor society. In 1949 she graduated with a journalism degree and was hired by the United Press as a reporter. Later that year she reported on the Mann Gulch fire north of Helena which killed thirteen firefighters. Her interview with the survivors went out on the UP wire to subscribing newspapers all over the world, and she was awarded a rare byline.
In October of 1949 she resigned from the UP and married Keith Herrin. The couple resided at the Herrin Hereford Ranch outside Helena raising Hereford bulls, beef cattle, sheep, potatoes and sugar beets. Keith and Molly had six children, five girls and a boy.
Besides keeping the ranch books, Molly served as the clerk of the Warren School board and worked as a Lewis and Clark County elections official. She competed in many State and National O-Mok-Sees. In 2017 she was inducted into the Helena Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 1966 and 1968 Helena Trail Riders National Championship O-Mok-See high-point teams. She also competed in barrel races until the age of 82. She was a lifetime member of the Helena Trail Riders.
After the couple divorced in1969, Molly was hired by the Montana State Library in Helena and then the Lewis and Clark Public Library, where she worked for 29 years as head of book processing.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her son, Keith Herrin, Jr., her sister, Mary Flax of Silver Spring, Maryland, her grandson Evan King of Missoula, and her horses, Kathy, Mokie and Little Sister, who lived into their thirties. She is survived by her daughters: Marcia Herrin (Alan Strickland) of Enfield Center, New Hampshire; Kitty Herrin (Bill Vaughn) and Carol King (Tom King) of Missoula; Mary Dent (Darvin Dent) of Brookville, Kansas; and Laura McPherson (Tom McPherson) of Wolf Point. She is also survived by seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
A private family service is planned. Memorials may be made to Hospice of Missoula.
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